December 2014 | ISSUE 15
Life as an LKCMedicine student

By Berwyn Tan, Edwin Chew, Goh Kang Shiong, Vincent Neoh and Siddharth Reddy
Year 1 students

If you think LKCMedicine is your typical run-of-the-mill medical school, think again.

Gone are the days of snoozing during long lectures and being deprived of fun activities after class. Here at LKCMedicine, we get the best of both the academic and non-academic worlds. And boy, have we been enjoying the ride so far!

When we say that there are no lectures, we mean it. At LKCMedicine, every Team-Based Learning (TBL) session includes readiness assessments, which are quizzes to ensure we’ve reviewed the pre-lesson materials, and discussions and questions on the relevant content. With such an engaging mode of learning, one can be sure to gain much knowledge under the tutelage of leading scientific and clinical teachers without suffering the attention-deficit disorders that characterise old-school learning. Indeed, LKCMedicine’s innovative teaching pedagogy has shown that TBL, if done correctly, will make for a rigorous yet enjoyable experience.

A typical week at school is, however, not complete without Integrated Clinical Practice (ICP) sessions that are held at Bukit Batok Polyclinic. These are hands-on lessons where we practise “doctoring” skills and learn to apply the scientific basis of medicine at the bedside.

Because this is introduced at such an early stage of our training, many of us felt apprehensive at the time, thinking, “I am only a few months into medical school, and I am not ready to talk to any patients yet!”

ST_1 (Custom 202).jpgThis proved not to be a cause for concern, as ICP sessions provide a safe and supportive learning environment. With the guidance of excellent tutors, we partake in a variety of activities ranging from roleplay to simulated patient encounters. It is also common for us to be video recorded during our interaction with a simulated patient, so that we can review the process and learn from our mistakes. Not only do these sessions make learning medical anatomy and physiology more relevant, they also inculcate in us an appreciation of the patient’s perspective.

After a long day of lessons, most students return to Crescent Hall, one of the two newly built halls of residence within NTU. This is not just a place for student accommodation - it is also a place for work, relaxation and bonding with friends.

The most commonly used facility is the reading room. It is not uncommon to see a group of medical students in there, armed with their iPads and textbooks, preparing for TBL sessions. The room is air-conditioned and generally quiet, giving it a conducive atmosphere for studying. Year 1 student Benedict Tan said, “The atmosphere here can be quite intense so I feel a greater drive to study. Furthermore, studying with friends is a good thing. When you are tired, you can take a short break and chat.”

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Another popular gathering spot is the hall gym. Here, our students take fitness to another level. “Going to the gym helps me relax after a stressful day, and also allows me to maintain a healthy active lifestyle. After all, as future doctors, we have to be able to walk the talk,” Year 1 student Gong Cheng Sean commented.

In addition to exercising at the gym, students also keep fit through playing various sports. There are several WhatsApp groups for different sports like football, badminton and basketball. All it takes is a quick message to gather people for a quick game.

Crescent Hall also has a range of activities for its residents to participate in. Our students actively take part in them, showcasing their talents in both sport and cultural activities. Popular activities among medical students include dance, volleyball and jam band.

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Dance is a popular choice among medical students. They can often be seen practising different styles of dance, including contemporary dance and electric hip hop. First year student Sundheep Subramani is an active hall dancer. Despite having no prior experience, he is enjoying himself and progressing well. “Being in medicine, it is easy to forget to have fun while studying. Sometimes you need to let loose and have a good time. I also thought hall dance was a good chance to meet and interact with people from other faculties.”

Volleyball
Volleyball is not an easy sport to learn, but is still extremely fun once you get the basics. Our students are coached by the more experienced players and training usually starts by focusing on the basic skills, before playing a match with other halls. “It is a good way to relax and get to know people from other faculties and see how different their lives are. It is fun to play volleyball leisurely again. It gives us a good break from studying,” commented Year 1 student Berwyn Tan, whose team is training hard in the hope of reaching the semi-finals of the inter-hall games.

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Crescent Hall jam band is made up of a group of musically-talented individuals who come together to create melodious tunes. Despite being formed only a short while ago, they have already performed during the hall’s Halloween celebrations and exam welfare pack collection day, and their performances have been popular among residents. Year 1 students Justin Liu Shuang and Koh Jin Kiat are enjoying themselves as part of a jam band. Justin plays the keyboard for the band, and is also part of the A cappella group. “The best part is getting in sync with the people I’m singing or playing with. So basically the best part of it is the chemistry that slowly but surely develops between musicians.” The jam band is preparing for future performances on Christmas and Valentine’s Day. They will also be competing in the inter-hall jam band competition.

Halloween Celebrations
The Halloween celebration is a typical example of what one might expect of hall events. Dinner that night was a rushed affair especially for those involved the upcoming celebrations. Through no small amount of effort, the Hall’s spanking new – and usually deserted – Multi Purpose Hall had been transformed into a bizarre setting fit for the occasion, scattered with an eclectic mix of booths for games, photos and food.

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The event was kick-started with the booming performances of the jam bands, much to the delight of the throngs of Cresidents who had turned up in support of their friends. Complete with flashy lights and acoustics, the dazzling performances gave us a newfound admiration for our performing peers, whom we had hardly seen in action beyond the confines of the classroom. The celebrations also included a Halloween themed game show and catwalk.

All in all, it was a night well spent pigging out, socialising and generally revelling in the happening atmosphere; definitely a good omen for more hall activities to come!

With so many exciting activities, hall life has become an integral part of our school life. It helps us relax and enjoy ourselves to avoid burning out. Not only does hall life allow us to bond with our classmates, we also get to meet new people from other courses and expand our social circle beyond medicine.