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From FIS to MBBS: My First Lecture to My Final Bedside Teaching

22 Apr 2024

My name is Chen Xiao Xuan, I am a Medical graduate from IMU (cohort ME119) and had recently completed my final semester in March 2024. Like many who have chosen to pursue Medicine, I was advised that this path won’t be easy.  And I admit, I had doubted myself countless times during my journey.


Throughout my high school days, I already had a goal in my mind, and that was to pursue Medicine. There was no doubt about it, but I wasn’t the smartest student and I worked hard to obtain the results that I needed to enter the right pre-university programme. There were many of such programmes available, but I eventually chose IMU for its established medical programme, its facilities, as well as its vibrant student life. With that in mind, I joined their Foundation in Science (FIS) programme as it would provide me with a direct pathway to enter Medicine in IMU.

Starting with Foundation in Science Programme

I had no regrets joining FIS, the lecturers were very passionate in their respective subjects and were also incredibly friendly. I still remember the time when I had my first class with Miss Jessica for Mathematics, she made differentiation and integration look so easy! (I struggled a lot with Additional Mathematics in high school).

A highlight of my experience in FIS was undoubtedly FIS Homecoming in 2019. It was a night where both students and lecturers could let loose and celebrate together, and I made a lot of fond memories that night, watching as my fellow classmates and lecturers goof around together.

During my final semester in FIS, Ms Sharon encouraged me to join the IMU Student Ambassadors (SA) programme. It was also one of the best decisions that I made in my student life here in IMU.


Through this programme, I managed to foster new friendships with students from the other degrees who’ve become a family to me, became acquaintances with some of the staff, pushed me out of my comfort zone to take up new roles and equipping me with new skills to organise events. Furthermore, it was also a chance to make my student life more fulfilling as I had refrained from participating in too many societies to focus on my academics in order to achieve my goal. The SA programme was where I managed to try out jungle trekking, whitewater rafting and even had to put on a play with my fellow student ambassadors for everyone to see!

Medical Programme

At the time, it felt as if entering Medicine was one of the hardest goals in my life, obtaining that cGPA of 3.0 in Mathematics (the entry qualifications to get into Medicine) had made me anxious for 2 semesters.

I felt as if I could finally take a breather once I had received my offer letter. But I was so wrong, many challenges awaited me in Medicine that made FIS look like child’s play.


From memorising the anatomy of the various organs in our body, to being overwhelmed with biochemistry, trying to understand the pathophysiology of each disease, perfecting our physical examination skills and learning how to communicate with patients in order to get the diagnosis, it was certainly very tiring.

What made the journey enjoyable were the friends and experiences that I had made along the way. One example was during the IMU Disaster Management Workshop for the public in 2022.

I was chosen to be the team leader for the orthopaedics station, together with my team and our faculty advisors, Prof Arshad and Prof Zairul, we came up with a short demonstration to educate the public on how to manage common fractures/dislocations using readily available materials.

The countless rehearsals and meetings that we had to attend were worth it when we noticed how engaged the audience were with the demonstration.


The past 5 years have passed by so quickly, I could still remember the excitement my friends and I felt when we had first received our stethoscopes, placing it on our chests to listen to our heartbeat for the very first time, to my final year when a patient had praised me. She acknowledged my skills in taking her history and conducting the examination, how she had felt so comfortable and at ease with me. Her kind words had washed away any lingering insecurities and self-doubt, replacing them with a surge of joy and validation.

Future Plans

At last, I have reached the final page of this chapter and soon I will be starting a new one. I plan to complete my housemanship training in Malaysia as well as 2 years of compulsory service to the government before I decide my next move.

Advice for Those who are Keen on a Career in Medicine

To my fellow juniors and colleagues as well as those who are keen in joining Medicine, let me share this with you “While knowledge is important as a doctor, so too is confidence!”

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