Foundation and degree – part 1

Aloha amigos,

So how was your life going on? Having it hard or does it seems like everything is going well? If you are having a difficult moments right now, don’t forget to put up a smile. That is the first step of being a strong human being. However, for those who were having a great moment, don’t forget those people around you and of course, praise be to Allah.

I’m about to share some of my experiences back in foundation life and compared it with a degree life ( referring medicine – the only course I took for degree) . Since there is so much to tell, I’ll divide my writing into several post. And this is part one.

Ready for your tape?

First of all, the schedule. Remember back in foundation, we have a very fixed schedule for the entire semester , plus they also provided us with semester break and dates of the holidays were told beforehand. But definitely not here. The only semester break we got here is during first semester and it was only for a week. We didn’t get any break for second semester and I don’t think they will change that as we progress.

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Since we have to adapt with such situations, sometimes we made a pact with the doctor in charge of our PBL* and rearrange our own schedule so that we can have no classes on thursday. Since weekend holidays in Kelantan are Friday and Saturday, a holiday on thursday give us 3 days free of classes. And that’s how we made our getaway.

But despite achieving this self-made holiday, some of us don’t go home at all. Some lived too far , it cost a lot. Especially if you are trying to save time and bought an airplane tickets. You can never buy an airplane tickets two months before holiday if you don’t even know when is it going to be. If you plan to travel via buses , then suffered the long hours of journey and exhaustion. 1 day travel home, 1 day relax , and 1 more day to travel back to college. See how exhausting it could be?

Regarding the self-made holiday . If let say , the doctor in charge for us didn’t agree with the idea , then say goodbye for home and try again next week.

You might think why would all of us so obsess with going home ? Your thoughts be like “Grow up everyone!” . That would be due to our life here. As much as we enjoy it, sometimes it drains us. So much that we didn’t just feel tired physically , but emotionally. To be able to see our family even just for a short escape, was indeed a huge pleasure and stress reliever.

We also did this trying-to-escape-medic-school trick almost every month , for some people – week. This is due to our unfixed schedule. If you have a schedule for January class, you have no idea what will happen in the next block of learning in February. We constantly lived in surprises , at this point we have no idea what to expect anymore.

Are you wondering by now? Why not just make a fixed schedule ?

We couldn’t possibly achieve that. Each subject is taught by different lecturers in different areas of specialty. They also have research to do, classes with the master’s students , clinical stuff and some administration work. We need to fit into their schedule , instead of them fit into ours. Fair enough? yes.

So, what was the surprises I was talking about?

Recently we just undergo the hematopoietic system block. Before that, we were told that our duration of weeks for each block depends on how heavy the topic is. Upon hearing we will only study that system for 3 weeks, we consider it was an easy topic. YEAY. Because other blocks took around 5 to 6 weeks.

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Sadly to say, it was one of the most cramped weeks I ever had in my life.  It was 3 weeks of non stop lectures and lab practicals. There was one time, we had to sit for 6 lectures straight in one day. No it is not easy. If one lecture have the average of 60 slides, the overall slides we have to learn for that day are 360 slides. But I think we did exceed that amount.

I believe I already fell asleep during the second lecture. Everyone in the hall knew the struggles , it was a battle you could never win.

After a whole day of lectures, we are required to study for our PBL* session. So , think about it. When are we going to revise the previous lectures? Yes , good job. Revise it in our sleep.

These compacted schedule also includes our co-curriculum activity which is also compulsory. Sometimes, after a long tiring day – you don’t really feel like doing anything except lying on your bed and calm down. But you can’t do that. Get up , get up. co-curriculum is waiting. It’s wise to say , choose your favorite activity for your your extra classes. If not, you are going to regret it and end up forcing yourself for the whole semester. Don’t waste your time as you barely had any.

After this really long post , can you see the difference now? your degree life and foundation life? Or for some people – matriculation and A-level.

To make it simple, foundation life with fixed schedule and degree life with chaotic schedule. There are days where you have lectures only, there are days you have lab practicals and lectures, there are also days you have PBL* discussion , lectures and practicals. And Monday of this week will never be the same with Monday of next week or Monday of previous week. pheww

I still recall in foundation , we usually finished a lecture with 85 slides in like 3 hours per week. And this was organic chemistry on alkyl halides and alcohol. And biology with 169 slides , example : circulatory system , would take around 2 weeks . Equal to 6 hours . and physics around few topics per week ( So many topics , but around 15 to 30 slides per topics) . Did you do the math?

So my estimation would be – on average , we had 260 slides per week to be revise . Which is equal to the number of slides per day for medical students.

Okay , but this is like some of the days in a week. There were days that we only have one lecture with only 50 slides – Yeay . That was considered a huge blessings for us.


pbl mates

I hope to those who are going to choose medical as your LIFE , do take this into consideration. If you are not up to busy schedule and have lots of things you want to achieve apart from studies, then make a very wise decision. If you believe this is right, then proceed. If it is not, its alright.

And for those who currently wearing the same shoes as I do, I hope you guys can relate. But this is just part one, right? More coming soon In shaa Allah. Till I see you guys next time.

Thank you.


p/s: PBL is also called problem based learning. Which we are given a case study to be discuss with our members of the groups. And our participation and knowledge to the discussion will be judged by doctor in charge of the week. The marks obtain during the discussion will be an individual carry marks for finals.


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