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From FIS to Chiropractic: A Compass to a Life-changing Journey

10 Mar 2023

“Believe in yourself and you are halfway there.” Hello everyone, I am Yvonne Tan, currently a Semester 3 chiropractic student in IMU. I was never a bright student nor the smartest since primary school, but the people around me pushed me to where I am today. Here is my story of my transition from a high schooler to a university student with the help of the pre-university programme (Foundation in Science) at IMU.


I came from an international school background and completed my International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) at the age of 16. Hitting this milestone excited me, but also worries me at the same time. This was one of the most important times of my life as it decides my career pathway and the future that I will be embarking towards. I was lost at that point of time as I was clueless on the pathway that I wish to set foot on.


However, there was something that I was very certain of, which was I wanted to help others feel better. Since I was young, I have always wanted to be in the medical field, to help everyone that I have encountered in my life to become healthy and better, be it a doctor or a dentist. However, I still was not clear on which career pathway in the medical field was suitable for me.


During my visit to International Medical University (IMU) after completing my studies in high school, it amazed me. I was amazed and inspired by how there were only medical-related courses provided in IMU. During my campus tour, I was also given the chance to learn about first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and performed venipuncture on a simulated patient model. It widened my horizon and inspired me to help and save the lives of people. That visit to IMU made a significant impact and made me choose to join this big family of IMU.

Why I Choose to Study Foundation in Science?
I decided to join the Foundation in Science programme (FIS) at International Medical University (IMU) as the campus tour truly impacted me and made me even more sure of my dream of being in the medical field. In addition, the FIS programme in IMU also had an exceptionally good reputation and I was also assured that doing both my foundation and undergraduate course at the same institution would result in a trouble-free journey as I would not have to worry about adapting to an unfamiliar environment during my undergraduate studies.

Honestly speaking, I was still clueless as to which career I wanted to go to when I started my FIS journey. I did not know if I wanted to continue my undergraduate studies in MBBS or become a dentist or even a nutritionist. Fortunately, an unexpected incident occurred, and it changed my life completely. It helped me find my purpose in life and gave me a sense of direction to navigate.

Why I Choose Chiropractic as My Career?
During Hari Raya in 2019, my mom experienced a sudden low back pain. However, all the chiropractic clinics around us were closed due to the public holiday. My mom was in the pain for 2 days and it was extremely unbearable. This sparked me and made me promise myself and my family that I want to become a chiropractor who could help the people around me to stay healthy and achieve optimal health. In addition, one of the main reasons for joining IMU was because it is the only university in the entire Southeast Asia which provides a Chiropractic undergraduate course.

The transition from high school to pre-university was incredibly challenging especially when the pandemic first hit, and every face-to-face class became online. As FS120, we were the very first foundation batch to experience remote studies. Everyone had difficulties adapting to this new norm, but we managed to solve and adapt to this pristine environment by supporting one another. I was truly fortunate to have found several friends through this online learning technique.


Having all the lectures and tutorials online was both beneficial and challenging. I enjoyed the online classes as I could have classes at home at my own comfort. However, it also meant that it would be arduous to learn new things and understand certain concepts.

Thankfully, the lecturers in FIS were extremely passionate and would be more than happy to give extra classes if we did not understand the materials in class. I was very thankful to all the FIS lecturers for always wanting the best of us, especially our biology lecturer, Mr Chuah Yaw Kuang. Mr Chuah would always draw mind maps in class to summarise the materials which made it so much easier to understand various concepts. I remember vividly when I Teams messaged him a question and he replied to me instantly to clear my doubts even though it was outside of office hours.

One of IMU’s core teaching philosophies is self-directed learning which was strongly instilled in FIS. Additionally, the modules included in FIS were very much related to the modules in my undergraduate studies in chiropractic. Thanks to FIS, I could grasp concepts faster because of the solid foundation of knowledge built in my foundation studies. I was very contented to complete my FIS studies and I was extremely fortunate to be awarded with the IMU merit scholarships for my chiropractic undergraduate course in IMU.


Thanks to the support I received, I participated and gained experience in various fields to expand my horizon and improve myself.

Volunteering to teach special needs children, participating in a talk given by Datuk Nicol Ann David and organising an online campaign.

Participation in Various Activities
I participated in Biology International Olympiad with a Bronze certificate
IMU Science Discovery Challenge Grand Finalist
International Mathematical Olympiad National Selection Test (IMONST)
I won First Place for the IMU category lab report competition during the Biomedical Science Week
I volunteered to be the orientation officer for FIS320
to teach and help special needs children in the event One Love, One Heart, One Destiny (OLOHOD)
I was also very honored to be given the chance to interact and listen to the talk from Datuk Nicol Ann David. From this online seminar, I have learned to see things positively and to take baby steps towards my goal.
I organised an online campaign including interactive activities on social media as well as an online webinar alongside with my partner Tan Chao Wei with the vision to raise awareness regarding urinary health among the public and educate them on the ways to protect and preserve urinary health.

Furthermore, our chiropractic course represented by CH221 and CH122 won champion in the Interprofessional Learning Day 2021. I also participated in World Spine Day 2022 with the theme of Every Spine Counts organised by Association of Chiropractic, Malaysia (ACM) and IMU which was both awarded with the first prize.

I genuinely believe that a balanced life is important. Thus, other than academics, I also enjoy joining sports such as participating in IMU Cup Cheerleading competition and IMU Cup Netball Competition both as a first runner up. Thanks to all the experience and knowledge that I have gained from these experiences, I was able to share my stories with my peers, parents, and juniors.

I believe that the rapport, cooperation and support from my peers and lecturers during my foundation studies and undergraduate studies made me who I am today. I deeply appreciate the window of opportunities to serve the community, molding me into a better person in general. Looking back at my journey, I feel proud and contented and I hope to soar higher in the future.

Thank you for reading till this point. I wish nothing but the best of luck in finding your purpose or fulfilling your found purpose of life.

To help the poor not just in terms of wealth, but also education.


This is my life mission, what is yours?

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