Hi! My name is Daniel Lim Jhao Jian. Here is where I share my experience, knowledge and ideas. You are welcome to leave comments and follow my blog. You are free to copy anything from this blog. Please recommend this blog to your friends.

Friday 2 April 2021

Me experiencing adjustment disorder

I can still remember clearly my first day working as a Teaching Fellow at NUMed on 1 October 2020. You probably would think that the first day was full of excitement for me. After all, I had been hoping to get the Teaching Fellow post for so long and I finally got it.

However, the reality was different. I actually felt rather stressed at that time, and I was worried that couldn't cope with the job. It also affected my performance during the first week of work. I probably was experiencing what is known as adjustment disorder in psychiatry.

So, why did I have adjustment disorder? There were several factors contributing to that.

1. 10 busy days
The 10 days from 21 September to 30 September had been really busy for me. On 21 and 22 September, I was eagerly waiting to be called for interview. I finally received the interview invitation on 23 September. I went to my other house in Kota Kemuning on 24 September to get a good internet connection for the online interview which was on 25 September. After I succeeded in the interview, I went to Kulim for a night on 26 September to visit my grandparents. On 27 September and 28 September, I was busy arranging my accommodation in Johor Bahru and packing my belongings. I returned to Johor Bahru on 29 September. On 30 September, I attended an induction session with a lecturer. Throughout the 10 days, I didn't have enough rest. Therefore, I was quite exhausted when I began my Teaching Fellowship on 1 October.

2. New colleagues 
Many of my friends in my 6th year of MBBS had applied for the Teaching Fellow post. However, only 2 got the post, and I wasn't really close to them at that time. Besides, I didn't know the other 4 of my Teaching Fellow colleagues at all. I needed time to get to know and get close to my colleagues.

3. Accommodation issues
When I moved into my new unit at EcoNest at that time, some of the facilities weren't ready yet. I didn't have a table in my room. That was a real inconvenience, especially when I needed to use my laptop. There was also no water filter in my unit, so I had to keep buying bottled water.

4. Covid-19
The Covid-19 situation in Malaysia was rapidly worsening at that time, after the Sabah state election. The number of new Covid cases daily went back up to 3 digits, and there were signs that it would continue to increase. I was worried that it would lead to the NUMed campus being required to close again.

5. A new role
While I had been at NUMed for 6 years and I was really familiar with the place, being a Teaching Fellow is still a very different role from being a student. In addition, this was the first time where I got a job in my life. It took time for me to adjust to my new role.

6. Getting back to work
Since the end of my MBBS final exams in late July, I had been relaxing and doing nothing (except for the 10 busy days). In particular, I slept for as long as I like every day. Getting back to work, even something I really enjoy, was a change that I had to adapt to.

7. Cyber attack
Newcastle University UK had suffered a severe cyber attack and was still recovering from it at that time. Consequently, I didn't get my staff ID and email in the beginning. I could only log in to campus PCs using my previous student ID, and there was a long wait every time I log in. I also didn't have access to the Medical Learning Environment (MLE).

8. No PGCertMedEd
In the previous years, NUMed Teaching Fellows on a 9-month contract were offered the PGCertMedEd qualification. However, it wasn't the case for this year as the PGCertMedEd programme was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Initially, I didn't bother much about that. But at that time, one of my friend who was the previous year's Teaching Fellow posted a picture of her PGCertMedEd. The certificate looked really nice, which made me feel envious.

9. Phone issues
My Pixel 2 phone was having battery issues. There is a repair shop in Johor Bahru which I was confident could fix the problem. I contacted the shop at that time. However, they refused to repair my phone because the Pixel 2 is not officially sold in Malaysia.

Thankfully though, I recovered from the adjustment disorder quickly enough. By the time I started delivering teaching sessions on 5 October, I was really enjoying my Teaching Fellow post and I no longer felt stressed. Since then, the job has always been enjoyable for me.


  1. Hi I am also a MBBS student in NUMed and I had been reading your blogs recently. One question I would like to ask: What is your thought on MERIT and as students should we aim for it or even further like First Class Honours? Do you think it is important?

    1. Personally, I would say there is no point in aiming for Merit (and by extension, Honours). Merit is not a measure of excellence of a student's performance, instead it's a comparison of a student's performance with other students. Whatever we do, it's important to be ourself. We should strive to do the best of ourself and to overcome our weaknesses. We can learn the good things from others if we think that is helpful. But ultimately, it's our own performance that matters. Whether we do better than others or not, it's meaningless. If we aim for Merit, we cease to be ourself, since we are using other's performance to define our own success.

  2. actually how many years does it take to complete MBBS?

    1. It's 5 years. It took me 6 years because I failed Year 5 and had to repeat the year.