In August 2020, I completed my Foundation in Science (FiS) here at International Medical University (IMU), Malaysia. Like the title of this article indicates, FiS was the start of a very meaningful and fulfilling journey towards lifelong dreams of mine. To say that FiS has changed my life in many ways would honestly be an understatement. What FiS has done for me is something that is hard for me to put into words. If I were to be specific, I owe a great deal, not only lecturers from FiS but also staff members from various other faculties in IMU that have pushed me to learn and grow. As someone who had studied GCE A Levels at another institution of learning, I can quite frankly say that FiS lecturers differ from those from other institutions by their passion and the fact that they truly want you to succeed.
Another thing that I really like about FiS is that in the final semester, students are given the opportunity to pick electives. For my final semester, I chose to take Chemistry III and Biosciences. I recently just started undergraduate medicine at IMU and I want to highlight how much taking Biosciences has helped me adapt to a significant part of my medical degree. In all honesty, Biosciences was not an easy subject to tackle but I’m glad I did because it made my life in undergraduate medicine much easier.
With the situation today with COVID-19 in Malaysia and elsewhere in the world, I feel it would be extremely relevant to discuss about online learning and what I think of it. My FiS cohort (Class of 319), we were one of the batches that received the short end of the stick when the first lockdown was imposed. We were two weeks away from our final exam in our second semester when everything was shut down. For a while, everyone was scrambling because no one knew what to do, but, eventually, we got back on track when the online learning system was up and running. At IMU, online classes are conducted via Microsoft Teams. In some instances, lecturers pre-record a lecture and upload the recording for students to watch at a time that suits their schedule. Live sessions are also held for students to clarify any doubts that they have with lecturers. I’ve found that once you get used to learning online, it opens the door to a cache of unlimited opportunities depending on whether you know how to use it or not. For example, I once attended an important lecture on the way back from an important doctor’s appointment. Online learning made it possible for me to be in two ‘places’ at once, without missing any classes. I could study at a time that suited my schedule and this freed up a significant part of my timetable. Although, personally I prefer physical classes and being able to learn face-to-face, being able to do my course online has given me the chance to explore many of my other interests since I no longer need to allocate travel time and time to be at a certain location physically.
This freedom allowed me to dive deeper into my passion in research and entrepreneurship, which I’ve continued to pursue even after I completed my FiS. Currently, I’m working with my mentors on building a start-up that makes biodegradable packaging from rice straw, giving me the chance to pursue my many passions and the opportunity to make a real change in the world.
Right now, I am confident to say that I am thriving in the undergraduate medicine programme. Finally, I would like to dedicate my closing to my many mentors in the FiS faculty – Without all of you, I would not have had the courage to pursue my many dreams.
Written by Tay Ming Hwee Christine (IMU FIS Class of ‘319)
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