Originating from Johor Bahru, I have never heard of the word “chiropractic” in my entire life. My uncle was the one who found out about the chiropractic programme at the International Medical University (IMU) and suggested for me to take a look into it as a choice for my degree. Even after searching for so much information about chiropractic, I did not come across any Malaysia-related chiropractic news nor article. The decision was a tough one, especially how the profession was just starting to establish its place in the country, but I decided to take a leap of faith. Four and a half years later, I finally graduated, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Year 1 was tough, we needed to learn so much about the human body in depth, including the muscles, nerves and blood vessels, which I was not exposed too much to, in my high school and college years. I found myself travelling a rocky road, trying to meet deadlines, to present my best during physical classes and tutorials, while adjusting myself to a foreign place. Thanks to my peers who were very helpful at the time, I managed to pull through throughout my four years of studies.
I was part of the organising team for the World Spine Day in 2017 and volunteered myself for spine screening events throughout my four years of studying in IMU. We provide free spine screening to create more awareness about spine health in the community. Apart from chiropractic-related activities, I was also actively involved in Music Club and Photography Club. I built so much passion with photography during my free time and eventually got to know people who have the same interest too. We would meet up and host shooting sessions together occasionally and it helped to keep the culture of having creative arts within the healthcare community. I eventually started having referrals to shoot photos for people and got to earn a dollar or two to fund my pocket money as well.
One of the bigger events on campus was IMU Cup, which is held annually, where the 6 sport houses compete in all kinds of sports ranging from chess to Frisbee. The sports culture in IMU is strong and most of the students are actively involved. I made a lot of new friends and managed to expand my network with people across all different courses.
It helps a lot when you have friends from different courses, it meant that I can always reach out to someone if I have any medical related discussions that need diverse opinions from different professions. It is highly invaluable to me that we can share our opinions from different point of views and that is what the university is trying to cultivate.
The more exciting part of the degree was our final year. We were required to see patients under supervision for Semesters 7 and 8. I felt so nervous yet eager to kick start my final year after preparing for a long time. The one-year compulsory internship in IMU Healthcare Chiropractic Centre allowed me to gain exposure and experiences in not only clinical skills, but also our soft skills. However, me and my peers went through some challenges in our final year as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country.
Halfway through Semester 8, the country declared a Movement Control Order (MCO) and we couldn’t proceed with our internship anymore. Most of us went back home and we started having online classes. I was excited about the MCO at first, being able to stay home with more holidays and free time, but the situation went downhill from there. The lockdown did not just end after 2 weeks but instead it went on and on. Fortunate enough, we had lectures online, with one of our lecturers sharing clinical cases with us almost every day. Recalling back, we were blessed enough to be allowed to go back on campus to continue our internship and sit for our final exam after the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) was implemented. I have now graduated and am currently working in a chiropractic centre in Sri Hartamas. Being a fresh graduate, I am still looking forward to sharpening my skills as a professional chiropractic practitioner every day. Being able to serve different people from all walks of life and help them get back to their daily routine with conservative care is fulfilling. There is so much more to chiropractic and I wish that more people would know it’s not only about adjusting the spine. The mission to help and care for people who come to me and to create awareness of spinal health is what I will hold dearly, to the end of this career. I would like to dedicate this to the people that has selflessly taught and helped me throughout my four years’ journey into becoming a chiropractic practitioner – my peers, my lecturers and of course, the group of friends that has never given up on me since day 1.
Written by Lee Szeminn from CH216