Let’s face the truth, some Malaysian students in Russia lacks inspiration and passion in their studies, whether they are clinical or pre-clinical students. Let’s find out what are the causes of the problems and suggest solutions to these freaking problems.
- Inconducive learning environment – There’s no excuse NOT to go to lectures and classes (unless you are sick or dead), but when there are 70 students in one batch and only 40 places to sit in a lecture hall, how does one expect everyone to come? There’s barely a place to sit, let alone a place for you to write lecture and stretch your legs. So the mindset of some people is “might as well I go back to my room and sleep than attending good lectures in an inconducive environment”. Plus, it’s just too tiring to travel from point A to point B (traffic madness, long journey, no place to even stand in a bus, pickpockets) when there’s no central campus to accommodate lectures, labs, clinics and hospitals in one place. This is more of administrative problem which students can do nothing about (hey, million bucks is on the line here!). We’ll just have to toughen up and work it out!
- Communications problem – We love the fluent English-speaking teachers more than the non-fluent ones. We can learn better from them because we understand and give more focus to whatever the heck they are talking about. The problem arises when teachers speak plain wrong English or heavy mix of Russian and English. We kinda get bored to focus on whatever they’re trying to say so we sleep in their classes (guilty as charged!). Best solution, teachers should pass TOEFL, IELTS and whatever standardized English language exams with flying colors. Money is again on the line here!~
- Clinical and Practical– We have really great teachers in Russia no doubt, some of them are renowned internationally. But the system for clinical exposure here does not really have the umph factor. The system does not give med students the responsibilities to involve in primary care. We just go to the ward, talk to patients, do some physical exam, check their case reports and make our own case reports (it’s not even secondary or tertiary care!). Although there’s nothing wrong with this method, we have to understand that this method alone for the whole 3 clinical years is not enough clinical exposure. When the teachers say Malaysians lack practical skills, I do agree. Poorly-supervised elective postings and poorly-implemented extra practicals only add to all the lacking of practical skills by Malaysian students. Solution: workshops, which some of us are trying to share now. It’s still in infancy, so we’ll see how it grows.
- Learning materials – We have been heavily dependent on senior’s notes. If we do not have them, we are as good as dead. Some kiasuly trying to compile all seniors notes which they can get their hands on. The traditional way of studying from a highly-recommended textbooks is not applicable. Library can’t provide highly-recommended books, so senior’s notes are much cheaper alternative.It usually works for all of us because seniors notes are very easy to understand – people can get great marks in class discussions and in exams by reading seniors notes only. For some subjects, seniors notes are decent enough, but for some other subjects, we need to do some extra reading. Don’t wait for the freaking library to give you highly-recommended textbooks because apparently it’s too hard for our administration to move some money around to buy new books. Ever heard of Amazon and Ebay?
- Exams – Unstandardized exam is frustrating, and so are people who study less can perform better and those who cheat shall be forgiven and forgotten. There’s also pre-exam anxiety! Now that we are currently in this system, there’s no point to exaggerate the problem. So, I’d suggest an old-school thing called the “study group”. Days are for classes, lectures and nonspecific works, nights are for self-study. Study groups should only be done once a week at most. Frequent study group sessions will get us nowhere. Studying together can reduce the pre-exam anxiety, and so does studying consistently (not last minute).
There are also some related factors such as hostel problems, hooliganism, financial problems, too much entertainments, and personal problems that drains the life out of you. These challenges are non-specific, everywhere you study also can have these problems. But these problems should be managed so that we find our own inspiration… If you have something more to add, please feel free to do so!