Being involved in gymnastics and dance, I had the first-hand opportunity of experiencing the benefits of chiropractic care since young. I had many positive experiences and great chiropractor role models which strengthened my resolve to pursue my chiropractic studies at IMU. The journey to graduation was not easy; with 2 years at IMU in Malaysia and 3 more years at RMIT University in Australia.
At IMU, it was 5 full days of classes packed back-to-back, but during that time, I made friends who helped me to achieve my very best. After completing my second year at IMU, I decided to transfer to RMIT University to see what it had to offer.
Long story short, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Over here, in addition to great mentors and lecturers, there are additional courses that enable you to develop further as a chiropractor even after you have graduated. Both Dr Janice and Dr Katy can attest to this, as they are both RMIT alumni! If you are as adventurous and as passionate about the profession as me, you would not regret doing the credit transfer!
Living in Australia definitely took some getting used to, especially with the time difference and the weather, which vastly differs from Malaysia. A famous saying by Melbournians is “if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes”; and that is indeed something the happens quite frequently here! We can experience up to 4 seasons in a day; one minute sweltering hot at 40° and the next minute we get hailstones.
Additionally, the time zone difference can be challenging at times, especially the day after travelling on a grueling 8-hour flight from KL to Melbourne. I have an ongoing inside joke with my friends where when we first arrived in Melbourne, we decided to meet up the next day at 9am local time. Unfortunately for all of us, we underestimated the impact of the time zone difference and all of us missed our alarms and we only met up at 12pm that day. Befittingly, we nicknamed our group chat “9am” as a way to commemorate our first blunder of many to come.
I would like to think that I was incredibly lucky as I came over to RMIT University with my friends. Normally, I would have had a hard time transitioning in a foreign environment, however, the people and the lecturers here were incredibly helpful and supportive in making us feel welcome. One of the lecturers even took time out of their busy schedule to create a class where they would tutor us on things we were unsure about. That is not to say I didn’t face any challenges, as getting used to the culture and the method of education here took some time.
Campus life was most memorable as I befriended the most wonderful group of friends and they have made everything possible. Our friendship was my pillar of strength during difficult times, but we were always there to uplift and encourage each other.
Other than studying, there are a ton of exciting things to do in Melbourne. For example, the first thing that I went for was to get a part-time job as a waitress. The minimum wage in Australia is about quintuple of that in Malaysia, meaning that the financial freedom the job gave me allowed me to shower my family with gifts when I returned home. During semester break, my friends and I go on adventures such as food hunting in scenic cafes of Brunswick, taking a stroll through the tulip fields in Lilydale, and enjoying lunch by sipping champagne in the vineyards of Yarra Valley. Brunch and coffee could be considered a religion of sorts in Melbourne; people normally gather outdoors to enjoy the food and the weather, so there are festivals throughout the year to quench your wanderlust.
Back to the serious topics, being the graduating class of 2020 certainly had its challenges with the advent of COVID-19. We managed to pull through all the trials and tribulations that lockdown put us through. At the beginning, I worked part-time at my current clinic as I also wanted to pursue certification for being a Pilates instructor. I believe that my additional knowledge instilled through the instructor training has allowed me to better provide rehabilitation exercises for my patients.
Moreover, starting a patient base from scratch was a challenge, especially during the pandemic. I had no previous marketing experience or an existing patient base and I was not well known; to be honest, I was terrified. The only solution that I could think of was to promote myself through community-based social media.
A patient of mine once asked me if being a female chiropractor was difficult. I understood what they were implying, and I must say stamina, technique, and strength are the three things that you must hone to survive. I am constantly trying to better myself by attending seminars and learning the ins and the outs of different techniques to see which suits me best. Honestly, I do not think that being a female chiropractor is difficult, results require effort and sacrifice. I chose this line of work to help people and I feel incredibly proud and happy to see all my patients recover.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Janice Chan, Dr Katy, and many other wonderful lecturers who have been a huge inspiration to us students; your words of wisdom and encouragement have shaped me to the person I am today. I am blessed with numerous supports from many individuals along the way in pursuing my studies in Chiropractic.
To end this, I want to share a quote from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, ‘I am not afraid of storms for I am still learning how to sail my ship’.
Written by Kho Hui Yin