Hi everyone! I’m Maria Ahsan from the batch ME219 and I recently graduated with a Bachelor in Medical Sciences (Hons) from IMU.
My journey in IMU began in August 2019 when I joined the medical programme at IMU having chosen its Partner Medical School Graduate pathway for my studies. It has since been filled with exciting opportunities, challenges and most importantly, it taught me to maintain persistence and positivity in the face of adversity, to keep dreaming big, to keep doing the things that scare me and picking myself up even when it seems impossible.
Having most of my pre-clinical years online was a new normal that I had to adapt to which had both its pros and cons. Online recorded lectures allowed me to have flexibility in my schedule and it gave me an opportunity to learn at my own pace as I could watch it on my own time. With these recordings, I am also able to rewind and replay the parts that I couldn’t understand well.
On the other hand, there was the loss of gaining physical experience and it did get lonely over the semesters as the university environment can give a push that studying alone at home doesn’t. Thankfully, always having study calls with my friends and being able to communicate with lecturers who were extremely responsive through Microsoft Teams certainly helped me feel connected. A special thanks to Dr Huma Shahzad and Dr Sunila Rolani who guided me and gave me reassurance when I needed it the most.
I believe that we are each a patchwork quilt of those who have loved us, those who have believed in our futures, those who showed us empathy and kindness or told us the truth even when it wasn’t easy to hear. Those people in my life were my parents, my lecturers, and my friends who I’m extremely grateful and thankful for.
After Semester 5, I undertook a 6-month research project where I had an extremely helpful module coordinator, Dr Tan Boon Keat and the best supervisors I could ask for, Dr Phyu Synn Oo, Dr Saint Nway Aye and A/Prof Dr Purushotham Krishnappa.
They guided me and pushed me to produce the best work of my abilities. Despite busy schedules, they took their time out to provide me valuable insights on lab work and my thesis. I am forever grateful that their support and guidance is what led me to achieve First Class Honours in my project and is in the Dean’s List of Graduands with High Academic Achievement.
IMU has also always presented numerous opportunities for me to be involved in extracurricular activities which helped me have a good balance between studies and life. Studies provided me the knowledge I require in Clinical School while extracurricular activities gave me the core skills I needed. I was a Student Ambassador for the term 21/22 and a lot of improvement can be seen in my confidence and leadership skills through the events that we organised. I also had the opportunity to interact with people from different courses, workplaces, and universities which allowed me to gain different perspectives.
What are you doing now?
I’m currently waiting for my Partner Medical School transfer intake in UNSW Australia and filling my free time with joining conferences, shadowing doctors, and doing volunteer work.
Advice to Future Students
University life is always going to have its ups and downs, the most important thing isn’t to make sure that you’re achieving everything at the right time, it’s to make sure that you always stand back up when you fall. Don’t dwell too much on failures as the failures you encounter will cause you to take on new challenges, make you grow and learn so much about yourself. As a doctor once said, “Hard things will happen, you will recover, you will learn from it, and you will grow more resilient because of it.”
Be consistent with your work even if it’s just studying a little bit everyday as it does make it easier in the long run. Give yourself credit and acknowledge every victory you have in university even if it’s just surviving a day you didn’t want to get up for. Reach out for help when you need it whether it’s in academics or mental health as it is a strength to do so.
University life is where you take leaps, try on new experiences, and push yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s okay if it doesn’t go the way you want. There’s no better time to try out new things. Lastly, try to find a study life balance, make the best out of it, and enjoy your university life. It’s one of the most memorable times of your life.
Maria is one of the students in the Dean’s List of Graduands with High Academic Achievement for the Bachelor in Medical Sciences (Hons) programme for the University’s 5 November 2022 convocation.