Stage 3 of my MBBS course at NUMed consisted of three parts. It was the System-based Weeks, followed by the Hospital-based Weeks, and then the Essential Junior Rotations.
During the System-based Weeks, I was placed in Clinical Group 3 (CG 3). All students in CG 1 to 4 were posted to Hospital Sultanah Nora Ismail in Batu Pahat. We travelled to Batu Pahat together and stayed in the same hotel every week, and occasionally we also had large group outings. Therefore, every one in CG 1 to 4 were often together. However, during the teaching sessions, I was with CG 3 and 4 only.
Coincidentally, my best friend in NUMed was placed in CG 3 with me, and I was definitely very glad about that. However, I didn't know most of the other students in CG 3, and this was the case for CG 4 as well. On the other hand, I had known many of the students in CG 1 and 2 even before starting Stage 3. At the start of the System-based Weeks in September 2016, I quickly became close friends with those in CG 1 and 2.
However, I didn't attempt to get to know those in CG 3 and 4, so I wasn't close to them (apart from my best friend in CG 3). As time went on, nothing changed. I kept staying in my comfort zone by only talking to my friends in CG 1 and 2, while I hardly talked to my CG 3 and 4 group mates. Whenever I joined outings that involved CG 1 to 4, I seemed to be a very sociable person, but whenever I was with just CG 3 and 4, I became very quiet.
My CG 3 and 4 group mates were actually quite nice, but I didn't appreciate them. On 29 September 2016, it was my first formative clinical assessment in Stage 3. Due to lack of preparation and experience, I performed very poorly in the assessment. One of my group mate in CG 4 then approached me and offered to give me some guidance for the assessment. However, I just told her coldly that I didn't need any guidance.
My best friend also didn't know anyone in CG 3 and 4 earlier. But unlike me, he took the step to get to know them. Pretty soon, he became very close to them and they liked him a lot. For sure, if I was willing to do the same, I too could have a good relationship with them. Unfortunately, I never realised that throughout the System-based Weeks. Instead, I only cared about my friends in CG 1 and 2.
On 25 October 2016 which was during the final week of the System-based Weeks, every one of us in CG 1 to 4 went to Old Street Commercial Centre in Batu Pahat. It was a very beautiful place and many of my friends were taking photographs there. I could have taken photos with my CG 3 and 4 group mates and that was the last opportunity for me to have some good memories with them, but I didn't bother to do so.
27 October 2016 was the last day of the System-based Weeks. During the journey back from Batu Pahat to NUMed, my best friend was sitting at the back of the bus and surrounding him were a few of our CG 3 and 4 group mates. He was talking to them throughout the journey and obviously he would miss them a lot after the System-based Weeks. Looking at his close relationship with them, I suddenly felt envy.
I began to think, why my best friend was so close to them while I was not? At that point, I finally realised that I had been making a mistake throughout the System-based Weeks, the mistake of not getting out of my comfort zone to get to know my CG 3 and 4 group mates and be friends with them. Although I did enjoy the System-based Weeks, I was missing out on a friendship that I shouldn't have missed. I really regretted the mistake.
Sadly, it was already too late at that time. For the Hospital-based Weeks, I was placed in Hospital Based Group B1 (HBG B1) and none of my CG 3 and 4 group mates were in HBG B1. Since I was no longer in the same group with my CG 3 and 4 group mates, I couldn't correct the mistake. All I could do was to not make the same mistake again during the Hospital-based Weeks. I made sure to be friends with my HBG B1 group mates.
Soon after the Hospital-based Weeks started, I heard rumours that the grouping for the Essential Junior Rotations would be the same as the grouping for the System-based Weeks. I felt quite hopeful about that and I told myself that if I could ever be in the same group with my CG 3 and 4 group mates again, I would definitely put in my effort to build a good relationship with all of them.
On 2 December 2016, the group list for the Essential Junior Rotations was released. The rumour earlier turned out to be true to a certain extent. The Essential Junior Rotations grouping was largely based on that of the System-based Weeks, but there were changes for a few students, and unfortunately I was one of them. While most of my CG 3 and 4 group mates were placed in Group 1, I was placed in Group 2 instead.
I immediately requested the lecturer in charge for a switch from Group 2 to Group 1. Unfortunately, the lecturer said that it wasn't possible to switch groups because the grouping had already been finalised. Therefore, I couldn't be in the same group with my CG 3 and 4 group mates. I felt very upset about that. Just as I thought I would be getting another opportunity to correct the mistake, NUMed made me lose it once again.
Initially, I was unwilling to accept Group 2 as my group for the Essential Junior Rotations. However, I later reminded myself not to repeat the same mistake with this group. After the Essential Junior Rotations started in January 2017, I put in my efforts to get to know every one in Group 2. Soon, I had a very good relationship with them, even though I didn't know many of them previously. As a result, I liked Group 2 a lot.
The 1st semester of Stage 4 of MBBS started in September 2017. The grouping for this semester turned out to be largely based on the grouping for the Hospital-based Weeks previously. I was placed in Group 4, together with most of my HBG B1 group mates, so I really liked Group 4. However, I still wasn't in the same group with my CG 3 and 4 group mates. At that time, it seemed that I would never get to correct the mistake again.
Semester 2 of Stage 4 consisted of three Student Selected Components (SSC). The SSC 3 could be done either in Malaysia or in UK.
In September 2017, I made the decision to go to UK for my SSC 3. Then in February 2018, NUMed confirmed that I had been offered an SSC at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, UK. My best friend as well as a few CG 3 and 4 group mates would also be doing their SSC 3 at the same hospital. With that, I was once again hopeful of being able to correct the mistake. I travelled to UK on 13 April 2018.
One day when I was in UK, my best friend told me that he and our CG 3 and 4 group mates were planning to have a one-day trip on that weekend, and he invited me to join them. I gladly accepted the invitation and I prepared to use this opportunity to correct the mistake. On 28 April 2018, we had the one-day trip to Whitby. During the trip, I initiated conversations with my CG 3 and 4 group mates.
Soon enough, we were having quite a lot of conversations and they had become my friends. Thanks to that, the trip with them was really enjoyable. At that time, it had been 18 months since the end of the System-based Weeks. After so long, I finally had the opportunity to correct the mistake that I made during the System-based Weeks. The Whitby trip was a good start, but I knew I wouldn't stop at that.
On 12 May 2018, I had a one-day trip to Durham with my best friend and my CG 3 and 4 group mates. In this trip, I became even closer to them. Once again, I enjoyed the trip very much. After that, we had another one-day trip to Newcastle on 30 May 2018. I then returned to Malaysia on 2 June 2018. I was really glad that I chose to do my SSC 3 in UK, otherwise I wouldn't get to correct the mistake.
I definitely learnt a valuable lesson from the whole mistake, and I will never repeat the same mistake with any of my future group mates.
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