As the new academic year surfaces, so did responsibilities and challenges, be it those who have graduated or just climbing up the years in school. But with that, also comes the freshmen of the year. The thing with being freshmen is, what do they know about anything? They're at a totally new environment, probably hardly knowing anyone around and with that said, it's pretty obvious that they're not going to just start some random conversation with some random senior cause well, in their eyes, we're still strangers. And with all the future events that the faculty have prepared, this will prove to be a major problem. So with this being an obstacle, how are we suppose to tackle it?
Interaksi Mahasiswa Pergigian (IMP) UM was created to serve as a platform for the commencement of interactions between dental students of UM. IMP is organised by Dental Society of UM (DENSOC) with an ultimate goal in mind, which is to welcome the first year dental students into the family of Faculty of Dentistry,University Malaya. The activities held throughout the week were assembled such that it serves the purpose of strengthening the unity and realising friendship between the first year students as a batch. Conjointly, events such as meeting the seniors in this faculty and the introduction to student societies such as DENSOC and PPIPUM to the freshmen are also expected. In other words the IMP is something like “Dental UM 101”.
For the first day of IMP, we had the opening ceremony held in the lecture hall, in the Faculty of Dentistry. We had our honourable advisor, Dr. Firdaus Hariri, DENSOC president, Shangeetha Sellapan, and our director of this project, nur Azhar Abu Bakar do the honours of delivering their oration. It was then supplemented by a briefing to emphasise on the aim and purpose of the programme, as well as the activities throughout the week.
As for the programme of the first day, the freshmen were fractioned into 5 groups with 10 members in each of them. What better way to get to know someone new other than a quick session of icebreaking? Basically they were required to get the basic information of their batch mates as a group. Icebreaking was successful and ended in about a quarter of an hour. Next, the activity included the freshmen to approach the seniors personally, mainly final year seniors the on first and second night. The aim of having this session is to give a stage for the seniors to encourage and motivate the juniors if they are having any difficulties in adapting to the new environment of dentistry, forbye creating the bond between juniors and seniors.
The introduction of DENSOC, PPIPUM and Asia Pacific Dental Students Association (APDSA) congress and mid-year meeting was conducted on the second day. Furthermore, the first year students rehearsed their performances at night, followed by the usual activity of approaching seniors, sharing much similarity to day one.
The baton was passed on the third day as the 3rd year dental students took the stage of conducting the activities. The session kick started with the first years divided into several groups, different than day 1, and were given the task of creating cheers. Soon after a parade of cheers, it was followed by the game charades where the first year students in their respective groups was required to finish a list of words given. Both the activities were designed to enhance the creativity of the freshie. Next and the final game of the day, we had them play “kotak beracun”. For this, the first years were given a topic and one of the groups were given 1 “kotak beracun”(it's really just waste paper crumpled into a ball) and they were required to pass it around the other groups with condition of saying a word in sync that has relation with a given topic. The games ended at 8.45pm. Again, like prior to this, we finish the day with another round of interactive session, but with the second, third and fourth year seniors.
On the fourth day, the session was allocated mainly for second year students. The session started at 8.30pm which the first year students were divided into five groups. They then played a game, called “telefon buruk”. The purpose of the game is to test their memory, and to make sure they spread the information clearly and also to have some interactions with the seniors. The juniors were required to memorise a sentence or a tongue twister provided. The first person was needed to memorise the sentences in the limited time given. Then the information was being passed from the first person to the last person. The group which got the answer fastest and the most accurate were considered as the winning team. Then, the session was continued with their rehearsal for the closing ceremony on the next day.
Hence we reach the highlight of the week – the cultural night, on the last day of the interaction week! The first year students did their rehearsal at Balai Ungku Aziz in their free time. And at 8pm, the cultural night initiated with speeches from Azhar, our director of IMP, and Dr Firdaus, our advisor of IMP. They congratulated the first year students for completing all the activities successfully, and more importantly of course, fostering the unity among themselves. Next, the life of the cultural night ignited with the innovative performances from the first year students, namely Bollywood and Modern dance, Traditional Dance, Singing and Drama. They displayed such good show that it left everyone in awe, resulting in a fortissimo applause.
In essence, the IMP has not only benefitted the freshies, but also the seniors, as it created an ambience of support and respect between the students in the faculty. Simply put, it has done more than expected. Furthermore, good relationships and perseverance, as well as the sole drive for excellence have been cultivated. It is crucial for dental students to know each other, as it is a small circle in the society. Thus, through this, we are now a big family in the Faculty of Dentistry.
by Johan Ariff
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