Students’ Take: A virtually magical freshmen orientation programme

Aw Wei Yung, LKCMedicine Class of 2025 and Freshmen Orientation Programme 2021 ChairpersonBy Aw Wei Yung, Class of 2025 and Freshmen Orientation Programme 2021 Chairperson

Challenging, but fulfilling. That’s how I would describe MEDEIS 2021, the Freshmen Orientation Programme (FOP) for the Class of 2026. 

It’s been over a year since COVID-19 and the ever-changing situation in Singapore kept us on our toes while planning for MEDEIS. The Committee went through more than five versions of proposals, from physical to different hybrid variations and finally a full virtual programme. Thankfully, I had a great team of 29 capable fellow students to go on this rollercoaster ride with me.

We started planning in September last year, Since then, Singapore went through different phases of health safety measures. We had looked forward to more relaxation of rules when things seemed to cool a little in June so that physical activities could be planned. The game-changer came only the day before MEDEIS on 20 July when Phase 2 Heightened Alert was re-announced and we had to cancel the in-campus Amazing Race and other physical events at very late notice. Regretful, but this was the decision to ensure that all of us stay safe.

MEDEIS (Latin for Magic), revolved around the truths of a mystical magical school led by a rogue magician. Held virtually from 21 to 23 July, the amazing storyline designed by the publicity team featured the rogue and his house ghosts, through videos screened throughout FOP. All five LKCMedicine student houses worked together to achieve a common objective - embodying the spirit of what medical school will be.

We kickstarted the programme with house-level bonding as freshmen met their housemates through icebreaking games like Gartic Phone and Codenames. Thereafter, we welcomed them into MEDEIS through the basics of witchcraft. On Day 2, the freshmen embarked on a quest to hunt for the house relics as they discovered the evils of not only the headmaster but also the imposters hiding amongst their batch. Despite coming out victorious, who would have known that the headmaster had planted spies on the inside?

FOP would not be complete without the Patients’ Journey where the freshmen would put themselves in the shoes of patients to reflect on the kind of doctor they wish to become in the future. It also reinforced their appreciation of medicine not only as a science but also an art of empathy and communication. The FOP ended with the freshmen putting their great minds together to weed out the fake freshies lying amidst them! 

It was great fun and we hoped we did not make anyone cry! To end off MEDEIS with a big virtual bang, all five houses reconvened in our Grand Finale where they watched videos made by various LKCMedicine student bodies like Medlee, LKCrew and the FOP group leaders. These videos documented the various aspects of school life they could not experience first-hand due to COVID-19.

Thoughtfully, the FOP committee also put together a Survival Guide and TeleBot to answer any questions the new cohort might have after FOP.

While the committee and freshmen did not meet physically, we hope all of us felt the warmth and energy through MEDEIS and have ignited the spark for all of you to make more long-lasting friendships that are pivotal in helping you get by in medical school. 

FOP is but only your first step into LKCMedicine and many challenges, opportunities and experiences await you. Seniors will be here with you every step of the way so do say hi when you see us around. On behalf of MEDEIS, I wish all of you the very best in M1!