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what a laugh. no amount of online research could prepare me for the manual dexterity test that was offered by the faculty of dentistry today.

it felt like we were back in kindergarten, getting down and dirty with nicer-smelling plasticine that is play-doh and all sorts of art and crafts that were abandoned halfway because we got bored.

unfortunately, this time around, being bored was not an option. the test was meant to showcase your skillful hands, though i cannot understand how my ability to handle a scapel knife and accurate carve a clay block into the taj mahal would demonstrated my ability to be a good dentist.

haha first test was to mould a piece of plasticine into the exact shape of a molar (as in teeth) that was given to us in the form of an acrylic model. haha what can i say, back in my childhood i was so skillful at the art of play-doh that i convinced myself to eat the delicious-looking blue fish that i made, even though it tasted like shit.

so naturally, THIS WAS MY GAME BABY!
i spent 50 mins nicely shaping the purple plasticine into a lovely looking molar, nicer than everyone elses k. esp the girl opposite me, who had a really large depression in the centre of a molar, like a cavity ready to be filled.

feeling like i was really going to ace this silly art and craft test with flying colours, and become a rich dentist for the rest of my life, i moved on to the second section.

they gave us a cylindrical clay block, and another acrylic model. this time, we were supposed to use a scapel to carve out a square block at one end, measuring 2.3cm by 2.3cm by 2.3cm. and then another smaller square block in the first one, dimensions 1 x 1 x 1.

but, the bloody clay block was hard as rock, so it made sawing extremely challenging.

solution: soak it into the beaker of water, as suggested to us by the administrator.

despite soaking it for the longest time (i actually went on to the third section meanwhile), the stupid block was still impossible to handle. nonetheless, i continued to saw through the damn thing, my biceps really aching from all the manual labour. needless to say, once you screw a hardened clay block up, there’s no way of going back. so i did, because my square block started to have dimensions of 2.3 x 2 x 2.2.

but screw it, i was so demoralised and tired that i just wanted to get it over and done with. after finishing the distorted 1 by 1 square block, i moved on to the third section.

the third section required you to use pliers and wire cutters to bend wires into shapes as shown on the question paper. that part was ok la, just that my biceps are no good, so i really had a hard time bending it into the angles that i wanted. hahaha and omg i tried to use the wire bending thing to cut the wire! and i was thinking, omg why am i such a weakling??!

but i didnt know about the wire cutter cos the girl opposite me was hogging it okay. so not my fault. anw my wires turned out looking like the drawing on the question paper, just a little bit rounder at the curves cos the wire cant bend any closer – or that i was too weak.

having roughly 1 hour left, i went back to salvage my ugly clay block. haha seeing smart nazrul on my left using his clay shavings to paste back onto the block, i started to do the same. but stupid shavings cant make up the missing 0.3cm of my square block.

seeing the same girl opposite me with her block that was damn frigging nice didnt make it any easier. so i went off for my nursing interview.

lol decided to be a lazy rich bum and cabbed from NUH to block E3A. i had better ace this interview to make that $4 worth it.

interviews are really mind-numbing, as i sat outside the room, (which was in a corner of some office, so strange) my mind was paralysed with fear, and my body was pounding with adrenaline. most of the interviewees were girls, with only 1 boy.

oh yes and on the way to the waiting area, i walked past my primary 1 and 2 classmate. haha i remember she was register number 11, and i think her name is pamela. lol and i didnt think she’d recognise me, but she did. and she wished me luck! so nice of her. and she remembered my name! oh how ashamed i feel :/

yup so anyway i went in after 15 mins of waiting, and there were 2 ladies and one caucasian gentleman. prof at medical school, director of nursing at Alexandra hospital and some prof of NUS respectively.

1. tell us about yourself

bored them with details about my prefectship in secondary school, and less-than-impressive non-academic achievements in junior college. the ang moh was getting really bored cos he kept shuffling in his seat and looking elsewhere, and i felt even more frightened.

2. what are your strengths and weaknesses?

practiced so often for this that i preached all about my good qualities. and conveniently forgot to answer the weaknesses part. haha but nobody seemed to ask me a second time when i had finished with the question. so they moved on.

3. how do you cope with failure

vaguely remember mentioning something about using an alternative approach to the initial one, and not letting frustration get to my head.

4. as you said, you are a perfectionist. people who are perfectionists usually get upset when things dont work out as intended. in the healthcare industry, it is unpredictable. so how do you cope with that?

something about alternative approach again. and that being a perfectionist just means being able to minimize the mistakes. but when mistakes happen, one needs to be flexible and think of other ways to solve the problem.

5. you said you are a people-person. yet what if patients respond to your acts of kindness with ungrateful gestures, or anger?

must be professional. and my passion will motivate me to be caring always!

6. is nursing your first choice?
haha uh oh…

then ang moh told me that if i get pharmacy, i shouldnt take up nursing. but later he changed his mind and said that pharmacy is boring, and dentistry is smelly, so i should take up nursing.

at the end, i simply had to name drop that my mum is a nurse at KK with 35 years of working experience, and has constantly motivated me to join nursing (lol after medicine, and dentistry and pharmacy). that sent everyone into so much excitement and laughter, like i told them that father christmas was going to appear in the next 3 seconds with a bagful of presents for everyone.

ang moh told me i was articulate and talented also leh 😉

so i guess i’ve got nursing in the bag now. and that made it feel like the weekend was a day early. nonetheless, still got my dentistry interview on monday. and i bet they wont be so friendly if they have a serious task of narrowing the approximately 400 applicants to just 40.

but i was observing all the dentists at NUH while waiting for the manual dexterity test to start. they are all so pretty and wear such classy clothes! somemore they’re so smart, and can probably carve clay blocks better than anyone else. wouldn’t it be really great if somehow, i did get in?

while waiting for the bus back to clementi, the boy who went for the nursing interview was pacing up and down around me and talking so loudly on his phone that i had no choice but to eavesdrop. haha he said that he thought he did okay for the interview, and that they asked him how he feels about the prospect of being outnumbered by females in the nursing profession.

he said he felt okay with it, that gender really doesnt matter in nursing. and he went on to talk about how many career opportunities nursing can offer him.

wahh what a man! this is the first male nurse (or male-nurse-to-be) who i’ve encountered, that isnt remotely geeky or sissy. i think he really deserves to get it.

as for myself, after the interview, i kind of considered really being a nurse. but then i remembered the time i was watching wound cleaning by a nurse and fainted, so i changed my mind.


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