August 20, 2021, by Lee Mei Kee

First-Year International Student: Embracing Online Learning

This article is written by Anas Samy Abdelhamed Abusikken, MPharm 2+2 Year 1 student (moving to Year 2).


I think we all have to agree that throughout our life spans, the past couple of years have been the most unique, since no recent pandemic had the same effect as this one. For me personally, the hardest thing about the pandemic was being stuck alone between 4 walls in a single room for 4 months straight, which felt like a life sentence.

One of the most difficult challenges in year 1 of MPharm was studying at a completely different time zone, as I live in Saudi Arabia. I used to wake up for lectures at 4 am almost every day, which was still nighttime. Thankfully, the school of pharmacy and the lecturers were understanding of the situation and most of our lectures were pre-recorded, so I didn’t have to cram all the lectures one after the other as soon as I woke up. Honestly, the main aspect of studying online, whether in Malaysia or a different country is just getting used to it and adapting to the changes, thankfully the last semester of the foundation year was online as well so that helped a bit.

We live in a day and age where you can communicate with pretty much anyone in the world at any time, that is why communication with the lecturers and my classmates was not that big of an issue. Although meeting people online is not even close to meeting them face to face in regard to interaction and overall communication, but as I mentioned before, Improvise, adapt, and overcome.

Throughout year 1, I think all 36 of us would agree that Dyspepsia was our favourite module since it was much easier to “digest” than other modules, another positive aspect about the module was its orderly manner. Being the class rep was quite insightful and challenging, what made it easier is the fact that my classmates, even though we might disagree on certain topics, but every single person is understanding enough to find a common ground.

Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 we did not experience much “student life”, but being the class rep benefitted me in a lot of ways, mainly by forcing me to interact with different people; lecturers, classmates, other representatives etc. That helped me become more outspoken as I was quite introverted in previous years. If anyone reading this experiences the same type of issue, as silly as it sounds my advice would be to just interact with more people or force yourself into social situations even if it makes you uncomfortable, little by little you feel like social interaction is getting easier which will help us later generally in our life.

Sadly, I do not have much pictures this year in the university obviously, but here is a picture of the first lab practical we had face to face.

Anas (on the screen) doing online practical class with other MPharm 1 students doing face-to-face laboratory practical class with Dr Khoo Teng Jin (in red lab coat). We made sure that social distancing was in place!

Posted in Experience SharingMPharmUndergraduate