Finally, after 2 years in medical school, I can proudly say that I've finished the first part of it; the pre-clinical years! I know there's still a looooong way to go, and this is just a tiny step ahead towards my aim to become a doctor. But of course, I'm super grateful for everything. Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah.

For those who don't know, most of the undergraduate medical schools in Malaysia are using the same system (sort of), where the 5 years of degree are consist of pre-clinical phase (the first 2 years) and clinical phase (the last 3 years). We'll have a test or assessment after each module, and of course, final exams at the end of each semester, like usual. And then, we'll also have a big exam called the Professional Exam at the end of each of the phases I mentioned earlier. Simply say, this exam will basically cover all the topics we learned during that particular phase. Yup, we just have so many exams. Lol.

So yes, I just had my first Professional Exam, and alhamdulillah, I passed! It was indeed a challenging journey. Studying and revising all the topics we've learned for the past 2 years, from the 1st semester until the 4th semester. There were literally more than 400 topics!! To be frank, I undeniably didn't manage to read all of them. Although they gave one whole month of 'study weeks', it's still not quite enough to cover all of the topics (for me, at least). I still had to skip a few of them, especially the basic ones. I slept probably only around 3-4 hours a day (especially during the last 2 weeks before the exam) and had to drink coffee every single day to the point that I was so sick of it. Hahahah.

Not to mention, everything was online. Only our 1st semester was entirely face-to-face. The 2nd one was partially online. But then our 2nd Year (the 3rd & 4th semesters) were fully online. We are the first batch that had to take our Professional Exam online and not face-to-face. And yes, that one whole month of study weeks was just me, alone in my bedroom. I do have a study group or discussions with my friends through Discord, sometimes. But most of the time, especially in those stressful times, people prefer to be alone. Everyone has their own pace and style of studying. But of course, study groups are very beneficial too.

This is how the situation typically looks during our online exams (credits to my friend, Raziana, for this screenshot). This one was taken during our 2nd last day of the Professional Exam. We are separated into different Google Meet, with around 10 students each group with an examiner. We would have two cameras, as you can see. One is the laptop camera facing us, and the other is viewing our surroundings, mainly to see our laptop screen and our table (of course, to make sure no one's cheating). 

For me, ODL is not challenging because we can't study with our friends, but it's mainly because we lack that general face-to-face, social interaction with them. When you're in your hostel or college, you don't necessarily have to study with your friends, but friends are there to make the journey more enjoyable and less painful. You can study alone, but you would still have your friends physically present whenever you need something. It's like a form of moral support.

Whatever it is, I'm very grateful that I survived this ODL journey and the battle towards the Professional Exam. I wouldn't say that it was very hard, but it would obviously be more bearable if my friends were around. I'm still so glad I have amazing friends here in my medical school. Of course, we still catch up with each other (virtually) from time to time during that one month of study weeks, making sure that each of us is doing well and not near being insane. Hahahah.

Overall, alhamdulillah, all the hard work paid off. My whole batch passed the Professional Exam. All of us could proceed into the clinical years. I cried; I'm sooooo happy. The fact that each one of us passed and no one failed made me felt even happier. It was like a miracle because usually, we would have a few students retake some papers during our regular end-of-semester final exams.

Alhamdulillah for everything.
Currently, I'm hella enjoying my semester break! After that very highly pressured phase of my life, I can finally breathe now. Hahahah. In fact, we had our semester break extended to almost 2 months because we needed to wait for our senior batch (the current 3rd Year batch) to finish their major clinical postings before we could enter and start ours. They had theirs a bit delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sadly.

Oh, and yes, as all of us are aware, ODL is finally ending. We will be back at our universities soon! Yay or nay? I will definitely miss being near to my family all the time, especially my baby (my cat, lol). But of course, I do miss face-to-face learning too. I guess it's already time for us to be back to normal. I feel like I've already adapted so well with this ODL thingy, but still, obviously, it couldn't stay forever like this. That's the reality.

Okay, this post is getting waaaay too long. I feel like I still have so many things to talk about!! Hahahah. Maybe next time, I guess? Take care and stay safe always, guys! xx

Last but not least,
Goodbye, pre-clinical. Hello, clinical!