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Studying Biomedical Science at IMU : A Walk Down Memory Lane

13 Nov 2019

An interest could transform into a hobby and a hobby could evolve into a passion. Needless to say, the latter has the greatest potential to identify your calling and steer you through the pathways of life since it is something that you would spend countless of hours even on your free time, to read up, understand and delve deeper into. Back in high school, I used to be someone who simply went with the flow, studied hard for the sake of scoring while not giving much thought as to what I am truly passionate about. As the Pre-University phase came knocking on my door, it dawned on me that I needed to start being more specific with what I wanted to do or be in the future. Knowing that science, particularly biology, has always piqued my interest to learn more about it while hinging on my propensity to analyse things, I decided to choose Biomedical Science for my degree as I knew it is a field I would enjoy studying despite the challenges that came along with it. Considering the fact that I took STPM for my Pre-University studies, I did not initially plan on enrolling myself into any private institutions. I was inclined to enter a government university since I have always been in the government line throughout my schooling years and was used to the culture. Additionally, I come from an average-income family and we did not have a lot in savings. Hoping for the best, I listed Biomedical Science as my first choice at several public universities but alas, I was handed with an unexpected option of a degree in English. This unforeseen scenario left me in a state of panic and disappointment as I frantically started perusing private institutions. It was then that my cousin advised me to take up Biomedical Science in a more established and reputable university such as IMU. I was hesitant at first as I was concerned if my mother’s savings were enough to cover the fees while continuing to sustain us but I am grateful to one of the IMU Admissions staff who I spoke to during the Open Day as she strongly encouraged me to apply for the IMU Scholarship since I met the requirements. Despite this, I had low expectations, thinking that there would be others deemed more qualified for the scholarship than me. I was surprised and thankful to IMU when I received news that I was awarded the IMU Scholarship to study Biomedical Science as this greatly mitigated our financial burden while providing me with the key to a door of opportunities. My IMU Journey IMU has been a memorable chapter in my life’s story with experiences that I have bookmarked to look back on. However, experiences can be bittersweet, and I believe life will not always be smooth sailing for most of us as we would occasionally have to brave through a storm to keep ourselves afloat whether we like it or not. I was faced with an insurmountable challenge at the start of my first semester with the passing of my beloved mother who had been suffering from cancer. It was emotionally devastating for me as we were both very close and shared a bond alike best friends. Life can be filled with painful tribulations and reality can be a hard pill to swallow, but I constantly reminded myself that she would not want this incident to crumble my resolve to excel and succeed in life. It wasn’t easy to keep picking myself up each day when all I wanted to do was break down and feel that nothing else mattered anymore as I was constantly reminded of her absence when I returned home from IMU, but I knew that allowing myself to keep bleeding like this while neglecting my studies would only sadden her, and that was what drove me to cauterize the wound and do the exact opposite – to strive for excellence, make the best out of my own capabilities and lead a self-sustaining life so she would be proud and relieved that her goal as my mother has been achieved.

On a lighter note, my time in IMU was also sprinkled with eventful moments. For someone who does not have sports as his forte other than swimming, I was overjoyed when I managed to win 1 gold and 2 silver medals in the annual IMU Cup swimming competition. Being the first time in my life winning medals for a sport, it compelled me to exit my comfort zone and participate in more activities or competitions. Tun Zahir Merit Award recipient recalls his journey studying Biomedical Science at IMU. As it is often said that “there is a first time for everything”, I also had the privilege of experiencing my first professional photoshoot here in IMU for the cover of the Biomedical Science brochure. I remember how amusing it was to have makeup applied on me for the first time as well as being told how to stand to lower my height for the photo. There were also many happy moments shared with my close friends as we overcame the hurdles of our course together from our jokes and gossips at the IMU mamak to going on trips and outings. Another highlight of my degree was the crime scene investigation workshop we had as part of our forensic science module. It was one of the things I was immensely enthusiastic about and placed a lot of effort in since I have a passion in forensics and crime investigation, specifically in the field of bloodstain pattern analysis and criminal profiling. As the group leader, I was proud of my team for being able to set up a realistic crime scene with an intricate and unique case adaptation, modified to be practically solvable within that enclosure while putting your wits, logical reasoning and critical thinking pattern to the test.

 Top Student Award
Receiving news from IMU that I was the recipient of the Tun Zahir Merit Award for being the top student in my class left me surprised as I never saw myself above everyone else and did not expect to be first among my batchmates who were all very diligent and hardworking. At the same time, I was grateful and delighted as all my efforts eventually bore fruit. I believe the strongest motivating factor was for me to make my mother proud but I also owe it to the mindset she has instilled in me which was to always set my priorities straight, to be responsible over myself, to think in the long-run and to be organised in everything I do. I also have my aunt and cousins to thank for as they were always there for me when I needed help or advice involving non-study related matters that were usually handled by my mother such as household chores, maintenance, financial management, bills and insurance payment, vehicular problems etc. Without them, the burden of figuring out the solutions to all these problems on my own might have greatly impinged on my studies.

What’s Next? As of now, I am surveying different job openings while taking a short break after my convocation. I prefer the more open-minded approach to choosing my career than to hammer on a single target which may not be successfully attained or even best-suited for me as you cannot force a square peg into a round hole if it doesn’t fit. Contemporaneously working towards multiple pathways in parallel to find the best one would land me in a more fulfilling career in the long run. That being said, I may consider venturing towards teaching or lecturing as I genuinely enjoy helping students who are in the same shoes I was in and who are facing difficulties in their studies while also having an interest in understanding teaching methods which most effectively aid in a student’s comprehension of a subject. Where an opportunity surfaces, I might also consider furthering my studies into forensics and work overseas. Tentatively, aside from entertainment hobbies, I spend my free time leisurely reading textbooks on particular fields of interest in forensic science and criminal profiling techniques as a way to keep my mind active while indulging in a subject I am passionate about.

Advice for Readers who are Interested to Study Biomedical Science
Do not worry too much about where it leads you to since this degree does not converge into a single option for your career but rather diverges your opportunities and branches into multiple related fields which include research, working in the diagnostic lab, being a health insurance underwriter or even sales. Most importantly, enjoying what you study is the catalyst that sparks your calling and manoeuvres you towards the right path for your future.

Written by Brandon Tan Hwang Sing

Related Article: IMU Confers its Maiden Cohort of Postgraduates for Business Administration in Healthcare Management

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