Well, these guys certainly proved all of the people who thought so wrong, as they spent an evening of laughter, camaraderie and pure fun on the 24th of March mingling with their fellow course mates. In an event organised by the Social Welfare Officer of MuMEDs, Vurmila Venggadasamy and assisted by the exceptional group of SoM students, the freshies of the year 2017 had a spectacular night they’ll remember for the rest of their semester (especially when they’re crying from all the work they have to do).
Emcees Jonathan and Andrew introduced themselves to the crowd of 130 students, before inviting Isaac and Vurmila for the obligatory-though mercifully short-speeches as the audience cheered excitedly (no idea why, they were just happy to be there). Then it was back to the emcees again, as they got the students laughing and trying out their best jokes (A++ for the lame ones) in an attempt to break the seemingly non-existent ice.
Kicking off the start of the performances, Andrew performed Ed Sheeran’s much-loved ‘Castle on the Hill’, before segueing to ‘Crazier’ by Taylor Swift, and ending his set list for the night with one of Jay Chou’s biggest hits; judging from the amount of cheers and arm-waving, the crowd of students couldn’t get enough of the multi-talented emcee. In fact, without much ado, an impromptu sing-along of ‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz was led by six people from the audience; karaoke is apparently popular among this bunch.
Soon, pieces of paper were passed out for the first game: the quintessential icebreaker that we all recognize but don’t quite know the name of, although in this event it’s the ‘Find Your Person’ game. Within minutes, chaos reigned as people swarmed around looking for names that would fill the spaces beside specific conditions (if you were wearing a cap, you were doomed) and shyness was certainly not an issue here as juniors and seniors alike scrambled to finish their list first.
The emcees then announced that refreshments were being served in the Foyer, so like true university students, everyone arrowed straight towards the food. During that time, I got to ask a few students about the event thus far, mostly because they were stuck lining up (and really, where else could they run to?). Carisa, Iris and Sabrina, first year students in their first semester, said they found their seniors to be “friendly, helpful, and they made the transition from Pre-U to university easier…not easy, just EASIER” (emphasis is theirs, not mine). They also mentioned that they heard stories of seniors from other schools in Monash who tormented the younger juniors (LIES, it’s just rumours, I swear), which they said was not the case with their seniors. In terms of the event, and here I quote: “It’s fun! WOOOH”.
Returning back to the hall at 8.15, the emcees initiated the next game that the participants would have to play in 10 groups: Turnover Leaf. With Andrew’s helpful advice of “[g]et close, hot, and sticky”, laughter and screams from the students filled the air as the students stood on a blanket and tried to fold it without stepping off. With some strategizing and voodoo magic, all the teams managed to complete the game relatively quickly, before they were instructed to sit on the floor of the hall.
Expecting another game, the room erupted as the Year 2 students ran onstage wearing matching outfits of white and black, before launching into one of the most provocative dance performances I’ve ever seen Medicine students perform.The audience definitely enjoyed the dances, and it was obvious that the busted air conditioning (which was fixed later, thanks to Isaac) was not the only reason for the heat in the room. The dance team, led by Siu Ching, performed Dawin’s ‘Dessert’, Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Papi’ and EXID’s ‘Up and Down’ not just on the stage but also around those seated, much to the delight of their enthusiastic fans, and there was tangible disappointment as they took their final bows instead of continuing on throughout the night.
By the time the third game ‘Reconstruct the Object’ was explained, I was wondering how many games a person could play without dropping from exhaustion, but the Med kids apparently had no problems coping. For this game, participants had to twist themselves (think Charades but with more people) into objects such as a piano, a cup, a blanket…the list goes on. ‘Silently Order’ came next and as the name suggests, the participants had to arrange themselves according to specifications on a list without saying a word, before having their facilitators sprint to Jia Min, the unofficial record keeper, to claim the fastest time.
However, while waiting for some groups to finish, impromptu games and random dancing seemed to be the order of the day; Siu Ching, Group H’s facilitator, got a Human Knot game to spread amongst the groups, and the Coin Game (Ippie Ya Ya? No one seems to know the game’s actual name, but this was pretty much what they were screaming) drew a lot of attention as Group J were clearly having the time of their lives. In short, spur-of-the-moment dancing, Human Trains that resulted in everyone running around the hall, and improvised games ruled the event, proving once again that SoM students know how to throw a party. In fact, according to second years Nim and Ziyin, Social Night ’17 was definitely much better compared to last year’s event, because there was more interaction between the students (plus a floor that allowed for dancing).
Finally, the last performance of the night by Su Ming and Kay Vee singing ‘La Vie en Rose’ and ‘Fly me to the Moon’ was followed promptly by the prize-giving ceremony and a group photograph. By then, I was pretty much dead and desperate to leave, but the night was still young for the Med students; the roar of appreciation was deafening as they were told that the dance floor was open. Having been responsible for organizing the event, Vurmila was happy that despite experiencing some behind-the-scenes glitches, everything went well-a fact she attributes to her supportive and efficient team. She also credits the participants for being outgoing and enthusiastic which contributed to the success of the event, and she concluded that “this will be a memorable day for all of us, as we had so much fun and made new friends along the way”; the sight of seniors and juniors mingling and dancing was obvious testament to that and the triumph of the School of Medicine’s Social Night.
Words by Natasha Fernandez
Photos by Samuel Goh, Christopher Oh, Renee Bong & Tristan Chan