I can't seem to recall my first ever lecture in Uni. It was Elizabeth Yuriev's intro to Med Chem, at least that was what the timetable say. But I can't place her in front of the lecture theatre during the first lecture. All I remembered was that we were late, and when we reached the lecture theatre, it was full. I had to sit at the very last row. This was in stark contrast to this year, where the lecture theatre is never even half filled.
I liked Elizabeth because her lectures are easy to learn and very systematic, and she was rightly voted the best lecturer by the students that year. She taught us a total of 37 lectures in just one semester. As she taught two different subjects, a sentence she said which stuck in my mind is "now lets take off our med chem hat and put on our pharm chem hat." She said this when the lectures are one after the other. She also loved saying something about "turn off your mobile phone" and "no drinking in lectures".
The only intro lecture that I remembered is the one by Roger Nation, which is the Head of Pharmacy Practice. This is because his lecture material is about the same as the one Louis Roller gave in O-week. Roger really got overshadowed by Louis as he was not as charismatic. Nevertheless he is quite a good lecturer.Most of the lecturers are good, only a couple who-should-not-be-named should consider spending the rest of their live cocooned in the comfort of their lab.
I recalled that the thing which impressed me most in first year was the ability of lecturers to blurb out names of medicines in machine gun fire fashion. David Kong, the Malaysian born lecturer is a pro in this. In lectures about medication safety, he loved to let off a string of medicines with similar names, like Zyrtex vs Zantac, Losec vs Lopid, Zocor vs Zoloft, Indocid vs Inderal... I was often left in awe: "How in heaven does he do that? Will I be able to do that when I finished my degree?" Now after four years, I can safely say most of the names ring a bell. So I do learn something after all.
I missed only a few lectures during the entire year. It was a commendable achievement considering we had four 8.30am starts per week. We used to motivate each other by saying "Hey, a lecture costs RM100!"
The very first presentation I made in Uni was in Week 6. It was assessed and I presented a talk on health and exercise. That was the first of many presentations in Uni. I always elected to go last in presentations - that was my trademark. The presentation was memorable in that I managed to regurgitate the entire memorised speech out. Luckily Uni taught us well. I didn't do that now.
The thing I live to regret during my first year is not taking enough initiative to talk to people and befriend them. I was saying to the new International students in a speech at the beginning of this year that "During my first year in Uni, I was this sort of people whom in a party, you are likely to find standing alone in a corner, pretending to be invisible." It generated a few laughs but it was true. I just stick with a small group of people and only talk when spoken to. I was still too shy and introverted then I guess. It was funny now that I know more students in younger year levels compared to people in my own year.
I also didn't take part in any club activities. Even though I promised myself to be involved heavily in social activities before the start of Uni, there was this something keeping me from raising my hands up during clubs election time. To start off, there wasn't many clubs to join compared to now. Missing orientation played a big part too, as I was quite hazy what clubs were there on campus. I had no idea about MPSA, VPSA or other As those students were promoting at the front of lecture theatre. I was too busy marvelling at their ability to speak in front of nearly 200 students. That for me, was the epitome of self confidence, and I really did wish I can do it one day.
Luckily I did manage to force myself to join PISA's committee at the tail end of the year. PISA was the International students society on campus, and it was just established in April. Hui Bing was already on the committee, and she encouraged me to join. I still remembered that the meeting was at 5pm. I spent the whole afternoon tossing and turning in bed, weighing up my decision on whether to join the club or not. I reflected upon my Uni life, and really felt that up to that time, it was not what I envisioned, and I didn't try my best.
In the end, I decided to walk the 20 minutes to Uni for the meeting. Not many people turned up for the meeting, and I got elected to the post of Publications Officer for the next year. That moment was the whole turning point of my University life.
Footnote: Sorry Lucky Guy is always behind schedule. Life been busy. And thx to the cute girl who suggested that I can find out from my timetable what was the first lecture in Uni. Lecture notes were consulted for writing up part of the post.