The 1st year of my MBBS course at Newcastle University Medicine (NUMed) Malaysia lasted for about 9 months from September 2014 to May 2015. In my university, 1st year is known as Stage 1. For me, Stage 1 was very interesting and I enjoyed it very much. During Stage 1, I lived in Horizon Residences, Bukit Indah which is university-managed accommodation. Even though now I have completed Stage 1, I can still remember it very well. Here, I am writing about the 9 months when I was in Stage 1.
I applied to NUMed Malaysia in June 2014, which was rather late. The reason is that a personal statement is required for the application, which I started writing only after my A2 Level examination in May 2014. Before I applied to NUMed, I already received the offer to study Medicine at International Medical University (IMU). Later, I was offered a place by NUMed after attending the interview. I decided to choose NUMed over IMU because NUMed is the branch of a UK university while IMU is a local university.
22 September 2014 - 2 October 2014:
I started studying Medicine at NUMed Malaysia on 22 September. From 22 September to 24 September, there were induction programmes where Stage 1 students were introduced to the course and university. On 22 September, there was an English Language proficiency test which tested on writing. Those who did not pass it would have to attended English Language classes. I did not write the essay very well so I thought that I would not pass the test. Then on 23 September, Stage 1 students were introduced to the seminar groups. My seminar group is Group 7. My university began the teaching on 24 September. There was a Freshers' Fair on 26 September where Stage 1 students were introduced to the clubs and societies in the university. I joined the Chinese Society and Buddhist Society during the fair. On the same day, the results of the English Language proficiency test was released. Out of my expectation, I passed it and would not need to attend English classes. Only 18 students in the entire Stage 1 passed the test. On 27 and 28 September, there were a few orientation events organised by the seniors. I did not attend any of them since the attendance was optional and because of my bad experience during the orientation event when I entered Taylor's College previously. The university distributed the Assignment 3 which is the Family Study project to all Stage 1 students on 29 September. During that period of time, I was still getting to know how university life is like. Every night, I read the textbooks to prepare for the lectures on the next day. Although this could help me understand the lectures better, it was very time-consuming and tiring.
3 October 2014 - 6 October 2014:
There was no class on 3 October. However, there was a 1 hour feedback session on that day. During the session, we were asked about our experience at NUMed Malaysia for the past 2 weeks. After that day, there was 3 day break from 4 October to 6 October due to Hari Raya Haji. All my housemates went back to their hometown, but I did not because I wanted to go back only when there is a longer break. I stayed alone in Horizon Residences during that time. On 5 October 2014, my parents came to visit me. They took me out for lunch and bought me dinner.
7 October 2014 - 23 October 2014:
On 7 October, it was the first clinical skills practical session, where students were taught hand-washing. During the session, I made an embarrassing mistake by going to the wrong group because I was confused with the names of my group members. On 11 October, I attended a BBQ party which was held at the ground floor of Horizon Residences. Many students staying in Horizon Residences and some students staying elsewhere attended it. Then, I and my study partner visited our study mother for the Family Study project on 12 October. On 14 October, the university distributed the Assignment 1 to all Stage 1 students. I and my group mates went to Columbia Asia Hospital on 17 October for a health check-up. During our journey to and back from the hospital, I had a close conversation with my group mates and we took a group photo for the 1st time. This brought me closer to my group mates. My parents visited me for the 2nd time on 22 October. I settled down in Johor at that time and got used to university life. I no longer read textbooks to prepare for lectures because I felt that it is much more efficient and easier to just revise the lecture notes after the lectures since the lecture notes are quite complete. I also started doing revision for my oncoming Progress 1 examination and doing a part of the Assignment 1.
24 October 2014 - 26 October 2014:
From 24 October to 26 October, there was 3 day break due to Awal Muharam. This time, only 2 of my housemates went back to their hometown, and I again did not go back. My parents did not visit me because they had visited me on 22 October.
27 October 2014 - 2 November 2014:
On 28 October, there was a session for basic calculations. It was very easy for me and most students since we have learnt Mathematics. During that time, I was very busy revising for the Progress 1 examination. I stopped doing the Assignment 1 because I wanted to continue doing it only after the Progress 1 examination.
3 November 2014 - 6 November 2014:
The Progress 1 examination was on 3 November. It consisted of 100 multiple-choice questions. It was quite easy and I answered it well. I was confident of passing it and getting Green. After the examination ended, I still could not relax because I had to complete the Assignment 1 before its submission deadline which was on 6 November. From 3 November to 5 November, I was very busy doing the remainder of the Assignment 1. I found Assignment 1 difficult, but I was able to complete it at night on 5 November. Then, I submitted it on 6 November itself. I was not too confident of getting a pass for Assignment 1. The results of the Progress 1 examination was also released on 6 November. I got 84.54% which was Green and I was very satisfied about that.
7 November 2014 - 20 November 2014:
During that period of time, I felt very relaxed because I have completed and submitted the Assignment 1. On 7 November, an incident happened in the university made me feel unhappy. On the same day, a company came to our university to sell stethoscopes and there was a promotion. I brought my stethoscope at that time. I and my study partner also carried out our 2nd visit to our study mother on that day. Later on that night, I telephoned my grandparents. I became very emotional when I told them about the unhappy incident. On 12 November, all Stage 1 students had a visit to Hospital Sultan Ismail for the 1st time. There, I and one of my friend communicated with a patient for some time. That was the 1st time where I met and communicated with real-life patients. At the end of the visit, we were late to go back to the auditorium because the senior in charge of us lost track of the time and we were too interested in looking around the hospital. However, the lecturers were understanding so it was not an issue. Then, I had the 1st wet practical session on 13 November. It was about reading and interpretation of ECG. I attended the 1st class for TITAS and Hubungan Etnik which are MPU subjects on 14 November. On 17 November, there was a debate on ethics and genetics which involved every student.
21 November 2014 - 23 November 2014:
There was 3 day break from 21 November to 23 November because it was the Sultan of Johor's birthday. I and all my housemates did not go back to our hometown. On 23 November, my parents came to visit me.
24 November 2014 - 27 November 2014:
On 24 November, it was the 1st session on history taking. During the session, there were a few volunteers acting as patients. Because I had never done it before, I panicked when the lecturer chose me to be the 2nd person in my group to do it. The lecturer then agreed to let me be the 4th person to do it instead. I was able to perform the history taking quite well. On 25 November, there was a clinical skills practical session on CPR. I performed the CPR quite well and I felt that CPR is the easiest among all clinical skills. One of my group mate's birthday is on 26 November. I and my group mates celebrated her birthday on that day. The celebration was held at the Student Recreation Centre of our university. During the celebration, we had a close conversation and this definitely brought us closer together. Then, the university distributed the Assignment 2 to all Stage 1 students on 27 November.
28 November 2014 - 1 December 2014:
From 28 November to 1 December, there was 4 day break because it was the Hol day of Johor. Only one of my housemates went back to his hometown this time and I did not go back as usual. My parents did not visit me because they had visited me in the previous week.
2 December 2014 - 11 December 2014:
At that time, I started revising for the oncoming Progress 2 examination. On 2 December, the results of the Assignment 1 was released. I got Green for Knowledge and Amber for Skills. I was satisfied because I managed to pass it. There was another debate about ethics and genetics on 4 December. On the same day, it was the birthday of another of my group mate. I and my group mates again celebrated his birthday at the Student Recreation Centre. Later on that day, a few kids were brought to the lecture theatre of my university. Every student was given the opportunity to communicate and interact with the kids. However, because I did not know how to interact with kids, I just stood by the side to observe. Some students interacted with the kids very well, while others had the same problem like me. On 10 December, there was another session for calculations. Then on 11 December, I and my group mates celebrated the birthday of my another group mate. We first went to Tea Garden in Bukit Indah and had breakfast together, then we continued the celebration at the Student Recreation Centre of the university. That was the 1st time where I and my group mates had an outing.
12 December 2014 - 11 January 2015:
My university had a Christmas break which lasted 4 weeks from 12 December to 11 January. On 13 December, my parents and grandparents came to Johor to fetch me back to Subang Jaya. Then, I went back to Kulim on 14 December and stayed 1 week there. On 21 December, I returned to Subang Jaya and stayed for 2 weeks. I met up with my Taylor's College friends on 23 December and 30 December. I went to Taylor's College on 29 December to collect my A Level certificate. Then, I came back to Johor on 3 January. Even though there was still 1 more week of break, I did not want to wait until the last minute to come back since it would be the Progress 2 examination when the university reopens. My housemates came back on 4 January. During that period of time, I was very busy doing revision for the Progress 2 examination, so I did not really enjoy the break.
12 January 2015 - 29 January 2015:
That period of time was the most stressful throughout Stage 1. My university reopened on 12 January. The Progress 2 examination consisted of 2 papers where each paper had 100 multiple-choice questions. Paper 1 was on 12 January while Paper 2 was on 13 January. Paper 1 was quite easy and it was similar to the Progress 1 examination previously. However, Paper 2 was difficult as there were many questions on anatomy which I could not answer. Still, I was confident of passing the Progress 2. After the examination, I could not relax at all because I had to complete the Assignment 2 and prepare for the Mock OSCE. Assignment 2 was very difficult and boring, and I felt very stressed doing it. On 16 January, I and my study partner visited our study mother for the 3rd time. On 19 January, my university began the teaching for the 2nd semester of Stage 1. Two of my group mates have birthdays on 20 January. On that day, I and my group mates went to Hwa Mui Kopitiam in Skudai to celebrate their birthdays. The results of the Progress 2 examination was out on the same day. I obtained 72.86% which was Green. Even though my percentage was much lower than the Progress 1 examination, I still felt satisfied because I got a Green. On 22 January, it was the Mock OSCE. It consisted of 3 stations. I completed all stations without problems and I felt that they were not difficult. Then on 28 January, I finally completed the Assignment 2. I submitted it on 29 January which was the submission deadline. I was not very confident of passing it. On the same day, Stage 1 students were given assignments for TITAS and Hubungan Etnik.
30 January 2015 - 17 February 2015:
Although I still had to do the assignments for TITAS and Hubungan Etnik, I felt relaxed at that time because I did not consider those assignments to be very important. On 30 January, the results of the Mock OSCE was released. My percentage was 68.94% and I passed 2 out of the 3 stations. I got an overall pass for the Mock OSCE and I was satisfied about that. Then, my parents visited me on 1 February and took me to Johor Premium Outlets for shopping. I completed the TITAS and Hubungan Etnik assignments at night on 12 February. On 13 February, I and my group mates made a visit to Kiwanis Careheart Centre which was required for the Family Study project. After the visit, we had lunch together at Arabian Nights in Sutera Mall, Skudai. Later on that day, we went to the university to do a group presentation for TITAS and Hubungan Etnik. I submitted the assignments at that time. Then on 14 February, I and my study partner carried out our 4th and last visit to our study mother. My parents came to fetch me back to Subang Jaya on 17 February after class.
18 February 2015 - 22 February 2015:
The Chinese New Year for 2015 was on 19 February. My university had 4 days break from 19 February to 22 February. There was class on 18 February but I skipped it because it was the Chinese New Year's Eve. In the morning on 18 February, I and my parents went back to Kulim. We celebrated Chinese New Year there. My uncle, aunt and cousins also went to Kulim. On 22 February, my parents drove me all the way back to Johor. We arrived in Bukit Indah at midnight.
23 February 2015 - 11 March 2015:
My university reopened on 23 February. During that time, I was busy doing the Assignment 3 which is the Family Study project. Assignment 3 was lengthy compared to Assignments 1 and 2. However, Assignment 3 was more interesting and easier. Therefore, I did not feel very stressful doing it. On 3 March, the results of the Assignment 2 was out. I again got Green for Knowledge and Amber for Skills. I felt happy that I passed it. On 10 March, I finished doing the Assignment 3. Then, I submitted it on 11 March which again was the submission deadline. I was quite confident of getting a pass for it.
12 March 2015 - 27 March 2015:
I felt very relaxed at that time because I had completed the Assignment 3 and there was still quite a long time before the Progress 3 examination. On 15 March, my parents came to visit me. I drove from Horizon Residences to the university for the 1st time on 18 March. Previously, I either took the university's shuttle bus or followed my housemates. Then on 19 March, all Stage 1 students visited Hospital Sultan Ismail for the 2nd time. I and one of my friend had a long conversation with a patient there. We made sure that we would not go back to the auditorium late like the previous time. One of my group mate's birthday is on 22 March while my birthday is on 23 March. My group mates decided to celebrate our birthdays together on 24 March in AEON Bukit Indah. I drove 2 of my friends to AEON. That was the 1st time where my group mates sat my car. We initially planned to have dinner at Nando's, but we later changed our plan and we had dinner at Stonegrill instead. My group mates brought us a cake and made a birthday card for each of us.
28 March 2015 - 12 April 2015:
My university had 2 week Easter break from 28 March to 12 April. My parents came to Johor on 28 March and took me back to Subang Jaya. On 29 March, I went back to Kulim and stayed 1 week there. I returned to Subang Jaya on 5 April. During my 1 week stay in Subang Jaya, I met up with my Taylor's College friends on 7 April. Then on 11 April, I came back to Johor. During this break, I felt quite relaxed and did not study because I planned to start revising for the Progress 3 examination only after the break.
13 April 2015 - 20 May 2015:
On 13 April, my university reopened. The management of my university's cafeteria had been changed at that time. During that period of time, I was busy revising for the oncoming Progress 3 examination. I and my group mates had a visit to Klinik Kesihatan Sultan Ismail for the 1st time on 16 April. There, we observed the consultation between doctors and patients. After the visit, we initially planned to have lunch together at the Subway near our university, but it was closed. So, we decided to go to MH Beriani Tindih in Gelang Patah for lunch. I drove some of my group mates there. On 4 May, my parents came to visit me. The last lecture for Stage 1 was on 6 May. After class on that day, I and my group mates celebrated the birthdays of 2 of my group mates at Pizza Hut in AEON Bukit Indah. Again, I drove some of my friends there. From 7 May to 14 May, there were several revision sessions. Then on 19 May and 20 May, I practiced the OSCE with one of my housemate.
21 May 2015 - 27 May 2015:
The Progress OSCE was on 21 May. It consisted of 7 stations. I was able to complete all stations without difficulties and I was confident of passing it. There were 2 papers in the Progress 3 examination where each paper consisted of 100 multiple-choice questions. Paper 1 was on 26 May while Paper 2 was on 27 May. Paper 1 was difficult as I could not answer many of the questions on anatomy, while Paper 2 was easier. I was confident of getting a pass for Progress 3. On 27 May, I and my housemates had lunch together at the restaurant near Horizon Residences before the examination. After the Progress 3 examination, I had completed Stage 1.
28 May 2015 - 4 June 2015:
During that time, I felt a bit worried because the pass list for Stage 1 would be released soon. 28 May marked the beginning of the 4 month Summer break of my university. On 30 May, my parents and grandparents came to Johor to fetch me back to Subang Jaya. On 4 June, the pass list was released. I successfully passed Stage 1 and would progress to Stage 2. I was very happy and relieved about that. The results of the Assignment 3, Progress OSCE and Progress 3 examination were also out at the same time. For the Assignment 3, I got Green for both Skills and Knowledge. For the Progress OSCE, my percentage was 74.61% and I passed 6 out of the 7 stations. For the Progress 3 examination, I obtained 68.34% which was Green.
In conclusion, my 1st year of Medicine course at NUMed Malaysia had been very interesting. The course itself, as well as the time I spent with my university friends, made Stage 1 interesting. After completing Stage 1, I am certain that I made the right choice to study Medicine at NUMed Malaysia. Now, I really miss Stage 1 of Medicine very much.
If you find this story interesting, you may want to read these too: