"For this research, you are going to find out and interview people suffering from chronic illness on their experience." A stern looking Dr. Jennifer Marriott told me when I met her to discuss about my Summer Vacation Scholarship.
"Gosh," I thought then "can I really interview people with my half past six English?" But then I reasoned, it was a good skills to acquire.
Getting the Summer Vacation Scholarship was another highlight of my second year. I was quite surprised because I was only a second year student and I got my first choice project. Most probably only a few students applied that year. It was lucky in a way as now most students are aware of it and hence the competition is stiffer.
During that time I spent 4 weeks in the Pharmacy Practice department. I was supposed to do a research on chronic illness but it only lasted for two weeks as the ethics paperwork fell through. So luckily or unluckily I never knew, I never got to interview people. Hence I hopped into another one, which is health promotion. I was allocated a desk and computer In the PhD room, and it was kind of a good experience feeling like a PhD student for the very first time. I also participated in the journal club where they discuss matters of interest concerning their research.
It was then too that I met Robin, who was the friendliest and most playful PhD student in VCP. It was fortunate that I met him because between us we came up with a plan to do a survival handbook for International students. Our collaboration gave birth to STEPS, a 32 pages handbook on things an International student should know concerning living around Parkville. I'm unabashedly proud about STEPS because it was the first time I initiated something and had it published and given to other people. Hopefully they find it useful.
That year was also the year VCP celebrated it's 125th Anniversary. I felt very fortunate to be part of the campus when they celebrated such a huge milestone. They were a lot of activities on campus to commemorate it but unfortunately I guess I was still too timid to put my hands up to join in. The only activity I joined is the first ever leadership night on campus, where we got the opportunity to have an Antarctica explorer sharing her experience with us. It was also then that I discovered that Uni function has lots of good food and free alcohol.
Second semester 2006 also marked the first time I hang out with other people other than the three girls. It started with Wei Siang inviting me to join them for badminton. From there on I met other people like Woon Pang, JP, Jim etc etc. I found out that they were all very friendly and approachable people, and wondered why I didn't take the initiative to talk to them earlier. It was funny that it was through badminton I met most other people that year. I got close to Galahad also through badminton, and also other PISA members as PISA held a badminton day that year.
I realised that it was hard to make friends in lecture theatre. The best way is either thorough prac groups or club activities. It was this realisation that from my third year onwards, I tried my best to be heavily involved in Uni life. I tried very hard this year to motivate the first years to join clubs. Having a lot of friends really does make Uni life feel like Uni life. It was this realisation that made my Uni life so memorable.