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From FIS to MBBS: A Jovial Journey

18 Aug 2021

Nur Nabila binti Nasharuddin representing Malaysia in Model ASEAN Meeting

The very next step after completing the Malaysia Education Certificate or Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) is something that excites me but worries me at the same time; this is the crucial moment that will carve my career and future. I was fortunate to receive a scholarship from Yayasan Khazanah that is inclusive of a pre-university course and an undergraduate degree and was given the liberty to choose the university and the programme that I want to get into.

Among the different universities that I can choose from, the Foundation in Science Programme (FIS) in International Medical University (IMU) is the most promising for me as it has a great reputation, has the earliest intake date as compared to other foundation programmes in Malaysia and caters directly to the medical curriculum in IMU MBBS programme. Besides, I am assured that doing both my foundation and undergraduate course at the same institution would result in a trouble-free journey; I would not have to worry about acclimatising myself to the new environment and can focus on the bigger issue at hand- the MBBS degree.

The journey and transition from high school to pre-university is turbulent- a sentiment shared by many others but through this tumultuous voyage, I quickly found a family that helps me breeze through it; friends from the same FIS cohort and my housemates.

I chose to stay under IMU’s accommodation for my foundation year and was introduced to 4 other students who are in their first year of undergraduate degrees. I was able to form a formidable bond with the seniors and my friends from the same cohort and they act as safety nets for me.

IMU’s core teaching philosophy that includes self-directed learning was instilled strongly to FIS students and I believe that this catalyses my learning experience in the MBBS programme as I could familiarise myself with this philosophy earlier compared to the other students.

The lecturers in FIS programme are thoughtful, and one of the perks of being in the same institution include the ability to reach them even after I completed my course.

Sharing a personal anecdote, I was able to get my previous FIS lecturer, Mr Parkash Mathivanan as a mentor for a humanitarian module in MBBS as my project involves an English education outreach programme to primary school students. The connection would otherwise be difficult to establish, had I not done my foundation programme in IMU.

Life as a medical student: Clinical simulation, electives overseas and at the Clinical Campus in Seremban.

The long hours and packed schedules in FIS are gruelling at first as we have to complete the course in the span of 11 months, but they turn out to be blessings in disguise as they helped me to have a better outlook on time management skill- an important ability for my dream undergraduate course, MBBS.

Apart from that, I am an ardent supporter of a balanced lifestyle and I am extremely grateful for the diverse and vast opportunities available for me throughout my entire journey in IMU. The myriads of activities in and outside of campus and relentless support from the IMU’s Student Services Hub allow me to dabble in various activities, both academic and non-academic including debate, intergovernmental simulations like Model United Nations and Model ASEAN Meeting, policy-writing, futsal, students’ associations and humanitarian activities. These activities are fundamental for my growth as a medical student and an individual, and it is great to be in an environment that shares the same vision.

With the support given, I was able to make notable achievements in various fields including becoming the first champion for Malaysia Youth Policy Symposium (MYPS), Sweet Spot Youth Hackathon Malaysia and UCSI UPSA Inter-university Debate Competition and was crowned as 2-time champion and the best speaker for UKM Medical Ethics Debate.

Besides, I was chosen to represent IMU in several academics-related programmes including being the presenter for British Pharmacological Society Online Webinar: Teaching and Learning of Pharmacology from Students Perspective, IMU Pathological Conference on Acoustic Neuroma and Forum on Students Professionalism for Academic Council.

For these achievements, I was the first winner of IMU Sportswoman Award, the highest recognition in IMU for co-curricular achievements and I believe that the rapport and cooperation with colleagues, students from other healthcare courses and the lecturers that I fostered during my foundation year are pivotal to all my extracurricular achievement.

More recently, in March 2021, I was chosen as the winner for IMU Aflame Award that was created to honor a graduating student from any one of the IMU programmes that aims to emphasise, reinforce and enhance the importance of humane principles practices for my contribution in several non-governmental organisations.

I deeply appreciate the window of opportunities to serve the community given by IMU that extends to all students, including FIS, inculcating the necessary values that are should be embodied by the healthcare professionals. Looking at my journey introspectively, it has been a gratifying one and I hope to soar higher in the future.

Written by Nur Nabila binti Nasharuddin

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