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What is it Like to be a Pharmaceutical Chemistry Student at IMU?

18 Jul 2022

The year 2022 ends my chapter at International Medical University (IMU) as a pharmaceutical chemistry student. Like any other, the road to graduation was not all peaches and cream, but it was also an experience that made the journey unforgettable.


Just as I sat down to begin this writeup, pictures came flooding into my head of the days spent trying to comprehend physical chemistry, a subject that-must-not-be-named, the nights that were devoted to completing assignments, the weeks of burning the candle at both ends for the final exam, and not to mention the adrenaline rush before every presentation. While this may seem daunting, I felt fortunate because those encounters at IMU were not a one-man show. In bits of serendipity, I met professional lecturers who valued students’ efforts and addressed student needs. They attended to our concerns and organised an additional workshop for us after getting to know that we were facing difficulties in a particular subject. Also, whenever any student encountered a conflict, for instance, when the country first implemented COVID movement restriction in my area, it coincidently clashed with the upcoming final examination, the School of Pharmacy responded immediately and suggested a virtual test as an alternative. Most importantly, the lecturers were concerned at all times, not only with the student’s academic performance but also with our well-being.


During my time at IMU, I was assigned a mentor, who was constantly ready to be all ears listening to my feelings, difficulties and goals. The whole journey throughout my degree, she (my mentor) encouraged me to venture beyond my comfort bubble and showered me with affirmation. You are always my mentee, she said recently, and it was such a genuine act of care that made me not regret fostering mentorship at the very beginning.

Claudia (Front row: third from left) at a laboratory session.

Besides, I also met with some upbeat seniors who never failed to be supportive, and if you were to ask me for study tips, I would advise you to build bonds with seniors because they are undoubtedly the best source of assistance for nailing any coursework or examination in your degree. Thanks to them, my journey at IMU was delightful and the presence of such people is like the icing on the cake.


What is more, I had a one-of-a-kind university experience at IMU, where I was part of a small-sized cohort of no more than nine students in class daily. It struck me as odd at first because it was not the image that I had envisioned for my university chapter. However, as of today, the small class size was a beneficial plus point, at least for me. Since our class size was manageable, there were lots of opportunities to deal with the lab work individually. This implies that one will engage in every step of the process, starting with studying, then planning, and finally, carrying out the experiment. I can recall making mistakes often in the laboratory during my first year. At that moment, I could not but be abundantly apprehensive about working alone, and the feeling was heightened when errors occurred. Fortunately, things improved gradually, and as it got closer to the finish line, I began to see differences in myself. I gained more familiarity with laboratory work and even self-proclaimed that I am better at time management. Fear not, it is never always alone, as there will be group-based lab work for those laborious practical sessions. In fact, almost all the joyful moments in IMU were jotted down while working together in the laboratory and the rewarding Mamak session right after.

Claudia (first from left, standing) with her friends

The days are long, but the years are short, as the adage goes. The challenging days of obtaining the degree have slowly faded away, leaving only the good old days that came and went in the blink of an eye. I will never be able to turn back the hands of time to relive it all over again, but I will always be grateful for the lovely encounters. Now, instead of dwelling on the past, I need to start welcoming my master’s adventure in the United Kingdom. I wish everyone the best of luck in your future endeavours, and I hope that all relationships formed are as resilient as the rose of Jericho – until we meet again!


Written by Claudia Lim Qiu Wen (PC119), IMU Pharmaceutical Chemistry Alumna

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