Sunday, 6 September 2015

My first week in medical school

It was kinda exciting at first, being in a foreign country and the weather was pleasant. It was in transition from summer to fall. You saw people with all kind of colours sitting down altogether in a big auditorium, listening to the welcoming speech by the school's Dean. The vibe was strong; everyone wanted to get out from there and become a certified doctor.

Australian's accent. They speak like they were confused and that's my first impression. It may sound sexy and rugged. They speak with fluctuating pitches and tones. "O" sounds like"U". "Mate" was used vigorously. They were nice and welcoming. Blondies with tanned skin, you know these Australians had a good fun during summer.

When it came to my first CBL, I found I was being intimidated and I felt inferior to all my colleagues. They were well-spoken, knew their stuffs quite well and were not holding back regurgitating what they had learnt the night before. But there I was, sitting in the corner and being timid and quite most of the time. I enjoyed being the scriber and the note taker since I did not have to discuss the topic with them even though I should have not done that. I was only a shadow and I liked being one. 

Because of that, none of my colleagues felt like I contributed a lot and I was never prompted to speak up or share my knowledge during the class. 

I never use English in my daily communication. I had always been speaking Malay since birth; at schools and college. I did not have any non-Malay friends before thus I felt there was no use in practicing English regularly. Maybe that's why I had to undertake IELTS 5 times before. 

I struggled in MPPD session, which emphasised on activities that stimulated your empathy and polished your ethics knowledge. It was like an acting class; you were judged on how well you handle certain situations; how would you handle/ console an angry/ a sad patient, how you should maintain your posture and the most important thing is on how to break bad news. My communication skills in English particularly was below par and I knew I would be struggling during clinical years. 

Then there was an anatomy class; with well preserved cadavers and specimens. I enjoyed this the most despite I had to read plenty of readings beforehand. But the exam was always hard and I only scored average in anatomy.

Every Thursday, I had a clinical session where I can practice to be a good doctor. Yet again, my language conduct was condemned for not being appropriate some times. I still remember, this lady had few fillings in her teeth but instead of commenting to the tutor that "her dental hygiene was average", I said she had poor dentition and of course it let to the tutor's outcry.

I am aware of my lacking, and I practiced a lot! I hung out more often with my mates, I picked up the common phrases that they used, I listened and I tried to get used to the accent. It took me few years to build a solid confidence to converse in English properly but hey, "it was never about how you start but it is how you end. "

A good journey is always scary to begin with.


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