In Focus: Stronger determination to be doctors

The LKCMedicine Editor Andy KwanBy Andy Kwan, Editor, Communications & Outreach

Many doctors-to-be aspire to be one since young. The same goes for the Class of 2026 who just started their Year 1 in LKCMedicine. They could have reconsidered their dream career of becoming a doctor these past two years. After all, they are living in an unprecedented global health crisis and would have read many stories in the media of how frontline healthcare professionals toiled long hours amid harsh conditions like wearing the personal protective equipment for long hours and tending to patients struggling with the infection.

However, they did not waver on their choice. In fact, the application numbers to join LKCMedicine this year is the highest ever since the School took in its first batch back in 2013.

Pandemic not a factor

“In fact, stories about doctors working tirelessly for patients during this pandemic have inspired me and strengthened my conviction to be part of the healthcare community. My family is supportive of my choice too,” says Saw Lip Jie who graduated from Hwa Chong Institution (HCI).

Likewise for Raffles Institution (RI) alumnus Muhammad Haziq Bin Rohani who feels that “the pandemic is just one of the many challenges he would face if he becomes a doctor, and these challenges in fact make being a doctor exciting and rewarding”. Being in the St John’s Brigade for four years has exposed him to the nursing profession, and he saw how nurses care for their patients and the love for their job shone through. “I love how being a doctor coalesced the best parts of being a scientist, teacher and nurse. The ever-expanding field of medicine and constant patient contact and communication – it just seems like a profession that really checked all the boxes for me,” added Haziq, whose childhood aspiration was actually to be a scientist.

Having witnessed her grandfather suffer multiple strokes and heart attacks, Stephanie Chia Shu-En has seen how the doctors did their best to care for him. “Seeing them in action exposed me to what their work entails and got me inspired to be one too. Being a family member of a patient was also an important experience in understanding the devastating impact of major illness on the lives of patients and their family,” says Stephanie, who is making a major crossover from arts to medicine after obtaining her International Baccalaureate from the School of the Arts.

LCMedicine Students (From left to right) Jerry Li Shen Jaffar, Stephanie Chia Shu-En, Nicholas Rachmadi, Muhammad Haziq Bin Rohani(From left to right) Jerry Li Shen Jaffar, Stephanie Chia Shu-En, Nicholas Rachmadi, Muhammad Haziq Bin Rohani

On a personal note

Some students from this cohort have other personal tribulations that pushed them into applying for medical school. Loh Pei Yi, from the NUS High School of Mathematics and Science, revealed that she fell flat on her face one day when she was in high school. Her front teeth pierced through her lips, leaving a gaping wound. She recalls, “The surgeon who attended to me deftly sutured my cuts layer by layer and gave detailed explanations that gave me much-needed assurance. This personal experience inspired me to pursue a career that would empower me to leverage scientific knowledge to alleviate pain and suffering, and serve others with compassion and empathy.” 

Nicole Teo, an alumna from Anglo Chinese School (Independent) and a national synchronised swimmer, vividly remembers how a fellow swimmer suddenly started to lose control of her movement and was shaking uncontrollably under water. She was terrified but managed to pull her teammate out of the water. “That incident made me want to get a training that would enable me to be well prepared, no matter the circumstances. It was also a revelation to me of the responsibilities of being a doctor - they are trained to save lives in such life-threatening situations,” says Nicole.

LKCMedicine Students (From left to right) Afra Saiara Oisy, Nicole Teo Mou Wen, Lee Kar Yuan, Saw Lip Jie(From left to right) Afra Saiara Oisy, Nicole Teo Mou Wen, Lee Kar Yuan, Saw Lip Jie

Why LKCMedicine?

For many of them, Team-Based Learning (TBL) is a strong pull factor. Nicholas Rachmadi, a national triathlete who last studied at the Singapore Sports School (SSC) likens LKCMedicine with his alma mater, “The MBBS programme here resonates well with me because it’s very similar to SSC which also adopts a boutique style of teaching. The smaller class size ratio allows us to forge deeper bonds with each other like a closely-knit family.” He believes the TBL pedagogy will give him the flexibility to conduct self-learning at his own pace and work it around his rigorous training without compromising his academic and sporting pursuits.

Pei Yi, who has offers from two medical schools, says she eventually settled for LKCMedicine as she is drawn towards TBL and the School being a pioneer to use plastinated specimens in anatomy learning. “This shows the School’s versatility in incorporating cutting-edge technologies to continuously augment our learning experience,” she adds.
“I know that sitting in lectures is not the best way for me to learn. I like to do independent work while having discussions with teachers and friends which keeps me engaged,” says Afra Saiara Oisy, also a former student at ACS(I), who is also attracted to the TBL-style of learning.

There’s also the Imperial connection, a wow factor for Jerry Li Shen Jaffar who graduated from Concord College in United Kingdom, “Having this connection to Imperial is a bonus for me as I feel I have more to gain in my medical training. Having studied in the UK before, I may feel more comfortable with their curriculum. I’m looking forward to participating in the exchange programme with Imperial.” 

Online Learning - Boon or Bane? 

With the pandemic not abating for the next few months, online learning will be the norm for now. This is not new to the Class of 2026 as they are amongst the first to experience full-scale home-based learning when the circuit breaker measures were implemented last year.

“If we are talking about the learning itself, then I’m not realty concerned. I’m confident that the School would adapt and modify lessons and still give us the best possible education,” says Jyotsna Ramakrishna, also from RI.

Afra however is not looking forward to online learning. “I like being physically present in class and surrounded by classmates. But I’m certain that my learning will not be compromised at LKCMedicine,” he says.

Unlike Afra, Lee Xin Tien is actually looking forward to online learning. “I think the nature of TBL is very adaptable, and can be easily carried out online without much complications,” says the HCI alumna.

Looking Forward

Meanwhile, Lee Kar Yuan looks forward to interacting with fellow students face-to-face, and to the day when all of us need not wear a mask. “It’s the simple pleasures that are often taken for granted that we will miss most,” says the former student from Nanyang Junior College.

Echoing the same thought is Xin Tien, “I will be excited to be in the same classroom with the rest of my batchmates, learning in the same physical space. I also look forward to attending faculty and hall activities that were previously cancelled and having a good time with my fellow students.”

Haziq looks forward to go on an exchange programme when the pandemic is over. “A lot more can be gained from exploring other countries’ healthcare systems and cultures. I’m also looking forward to real hospital and clinical settings without the need to be overly cautious of COVID-19 restrictions. Sometimes safe distancing makes it a bit harder to connect with others,” he says.

But for sure Haziq and the rest will have a great time. “I’ve been talking to the seniors and everyone that I’ve talked to replied so earnestly about their positive experiences, even with the current situation. So I guess I’m quite excited to start my journey at LKCMedicine!” says Haziq.

Meet the Scholars 

Amongst the new students in the Class of 2026 are scholarship recipients. We hear the thoughts from three scholars.

LKCMedicine Students (From left to right) Loh Pei Yi, Jyotsna Ramakrishna, Lee Xin Tien(From left to right) Loh Pei Yi, Jyotsna Ramakrishna, Lee Xin Tien

“I feel so privileged to be awarded with the LKCMedicine Scholarship and am infinitely grateful for the school’s generous support. 

With this scholarship, I aspire to grow alongside eminent luminaries and the vibrant student body in the school, learning from everyone’s diverse talents and treasuring the process and relationships formed. I am excited about the opportunities to give back to the school, healthcare fraternity and wider community, whether as a fellow medical student, alumnus, future doctor or by simply providing a shoulder to lean on. 

It is my ambition to harness medicine to protect the lives and livelihoods of Singaporeans, in the capacity of a future doctor who is not only equipped with a pair of healing hands, but also a loving heart to care for patients holistically and ease them into Singapore’s transition beyond healthcare to health. The LKCMedicine Scholarship is truly an immense honour that I will always cherish and hold close to my heart.” 
Loh Pei Yi
Recipient of LKCMedicine Scholarship

“Having my efforts recognised and rewarded with the Nanyang Scholarship is very encouraging and serves as a motivation for me to continue working hard. 

Meeting other scholars and the opportunities to attend workshops and seminars would give me greater exposure beyond the medical field. As a scholar, I look forward to leading my peers to serve the society in various ways. Volunteering for migrant workers is one of my passion projects and I would love to continue doing so. 

This scholarship also gives me a greater responsibility of being an ambassador for the university. By upholding good conduct and stepping out of my comfort zone as necessary, I hope to be a testament to the university’s teachings. All in all, I would like to use the scholarship as a stepping stone to realise my full potential.” 
Jyotsna Ramakrishna
Recipient of Nanyang Scholarship

“I am extremely grateful to receive this scholarship as it will really help to relieve the financial burden that comes with pursuing a medical degree, and allow me to focus on my studies and become a good doctor. With this award, I hope to devote more time to serving the school by participating in school and faculty-wide activities. I also hope to take up leadership positions and get involved in organising engaging activities for my peers and future juniors. 

I would also like to spend more time volunteering outside of school and help other communities in whatever ways possible. I hope to be an inspiration for others to pursue Medicine even if they may not have the financial ability to do so, as there are many bursaries and scholarships available in NTU, so no one is denied the opportunity to pursue their passion.”
Lee Xin Tien
Recipient of ASEAN Scholarship

A word from the seniors

They have been there, some have done that, and some will be getting there. We hear from the seniors their words of encouragement for the freshmen.


LKCMedicine Seniors (From left to right) Kenny Sung, Dr Aaron Goh Qi Yang, Karan Singh Randhawa
(From left to right) Kenny Sung, Dr Aaron Goh Qi Yang, Karan Singh Randhawa

Kenny Sung, Class of 2022
“Student life at LKCMedicine is what you make of it, studying will always be a priority, but don't neglect the other aspects of schooling! It is important to set time aside to study, but also make time for your family and friends. Take the opportunity to try something new as well - join NTU / Hall CCAs! For studies - don’t cramp everything at the last minutes, consistency is key!”

Dr Aaron Goh Qi Yang, Class of 2021
“Hey juniors! Welcome to LKCMedicine, and welcome to the best years of your life! Let me offer you some tips to survive and thrive in medical school. Firstly, collaboration over competition. Med School is a journey that isn’t meant to be walked alone; always be ready to lend a hand to others, and know when to ask your friends for help. Next, always remember to make time to unplug and unwind. Find what energises you outside of schoolwork and pursue those passions. Finally, think hard about the kind of doctor that you want to be and let that guide everything that you do. Wishing you every success and having an amazing time at LKCMedicine!”

Karan Singh Randhawa, Class of 2023

“Dearest M1s! Welcome to the LKCMedicine family! Your journey has just begun, and we’re so excited to have you with us. It’s going to be an incredible journey ahead, with lots of learning, meaningful challenges and lasting relationships – and it’s going to fly by in the blink of an eye. And for the days that take a little longer to pass, all you have to do is look around you – the unmistakeable bonds you forge with your batchmates, seniors, juniors, mentors and all the LKCMedicine staff will always be there to give you the extra spring in your step. We wish you the very best, and remember – we’re all in this together!”

LKCMedicine Seniors (From left to right) Dr Goh Xin Rong, Angeline Aw, Muhammad Danish Bin Massuryono
(From left to right) Dr Goh Xin Rong, Angeline Aw, Muhammad Danish Bin Massuryono

Dr Goh Xin Rong, Class of 2021
“Welcome to the start of a lifelong journey and there is no better way to start it than in LKCMedicine with the most supportive family you could ever find! The road ahead is no doubt going to be a long one but remember to take care of your friends and yourself too - the carer needs caring too. All the best!”

Angeline Aw, Class of 2023
“Hello M1s! Welcome to the LKCMedicine family :) 5 years may seem like a long time to you at this point but it will fly by really fast! The journey ahead is going to be tough. Really tough. But always remember why you embarked on this journey in the first place and that will be the flame that keeps you going. Work hard, but play hard too! Remember to spend time with your friends and family, for they will be your strongest pillars of support in the darkest of times.”

Muhammad Danish Bin Massuryono, Class of 2023

“Congratulations on making it to medical school! Being in your shoes previously, I never would have expected to have so much fun and learn so much in school. Over the coming years, I'm sure you will learn more about how to be a doctor-- the anatomy, the diseases, the drugs and more. But medical school is also a time of great discovery and transformation-- you will learn more about yourself, make life-long friends, and even find your soulmate ❤️. Go in with your heart and soul, and whenever you feel like giving up, remind yourself why you chose to be here in the first place. It's gonna be a tough ride, but trust me. It's so damn worth it.”

HELLO Class of 2026!

The world is not at its best, but it will not stop the 163 new medical students at LKCMedicine from giving their best. Despite attending their Freshmen Orientation Programme virtually, there were still a lot of fun and excitement, as you can see from these photos. Let’s extend a very warm welcome to them when we finally see them in Novena Campus!

Virtual Games

LKCMedicine Orientation Virtual game 5 (Alex fleming)LKCMedicine Orientation Virtual game 2 (Marie)Virtual game 3 (Lim boon keng)
Virtual game1 (WLT)Virtual game 4 (William Osler)