What’s Your Story?
Hi! Welcome to aliasnotes.com!
I have always loved drawing, doodling and designing since I was young. In fact, the first thing I bought with my first salary was a Wacom Graphire 4 graphics tablet!
After high school, I pursued bachelor of medicine and surgery and did my undergraduate studies in Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences (CUCMS). All my study notes were hand drawn to understand the topics better. I also attempted digitizing the notes whenever I had the free time.
During my university days, I was also involved in programs and contributed by designing the logo, flyers, buntings, banners, tentative and handbooks where I further honed my skills. I first started with Adobe Photoshop. One of the projects I worked on was the handbook for Basic Life Support Training School Tour where we taught BLS to school students. The handbook illustrated the steps of BLS, choking management and some simple first aid.
After preclinical years, we had to do a non-clinical attachment and so I spent a couple of weeks at a local designing company. I started to experiment with vectors on Adobe Illustrator and from then on I continued learning via Youtube tutorials. My notes and projects took a turn from raster to vectors.
I now work with a software called Affinity Designer. I also design logos, buntings, notes, backdrops for programs and sometimes do freelance graphics design work.
Currently, I’m still working on developing quality notes whenever I find something difficult to grasp. I endeavor to keep on working on these while I balance between my profession, passion and priorities.
What’s The History of Alia’s Notes?
I struggled a lot in my first and second year. There was so much to learn and textbooks were super wordy. Drawing them out and organizing the information with mindmaps really helped.
During our clinical skills training, we had to learn physical examinations. We were handed a checklist but I couldn't connect the dots until I started doodling and drawing the what's why's and how's. My friends also started asking for my notes and it spread to my batch and juniors. Around after this time was when I did my graphics design attachment. So my family encouraged me to turn my notes into a book.
I started the project during my 3rd year. I worked on it in the morning before classes and on weekends. The book with over 100+ illustrations was finally completed and published when I was in my final year. "Alia's Illustrated Extra Notes to Physical Examination" was the first product. I had immense support from my university CUCMS, whereby the dean Prof Abdul Latiff wrote the foreword, several of my lecturers reviewed the book and we launched the book there.
They were "extra notes" because in no way are they ever to replace the important medical textbooks. Whenever I find a topic difficult, I try to illustrate it and present the information in a creative and colourful way.
The next project developed was the Whitecoat Pocket Series (WHIPS). I didn't want notes to be conventional on an A4 piece of paper - besides, it wouldn't be practical, but they weren't long enough to be made into a book. That's how the WHIPS came about. A4 size, durable with strong material, and foldable to fit into the whitecoat so that you can practice anytime. I had trouble remember how to do developmental milestones, and that's when the first WHIPS was developed.
What Else Do You Do?
I was trained in public speaking because my parents believed that orator skills were crucial. I joined Toastmasters International where I earned the title of Competent Communicator.
I have been invited to several speaking events, notably:
TedxYouth KL event for a cleft lip and palate organization called "The Smile Train"
Yayasan Bursa Malaysia Excellence Awards as an invited speaker
Live Interview with Tun Dr Mahathir
Speak to pre-clinical and clinical year medical students on topics such as:
"Passion vs Profession: Deciding Which One" in UniKL RCMP Perak and Newcastle University Malaysia (NUMED) Johor.
"How To Make & Take Notes" in IMU Seremban.
Medicorp's Paediatric Crash Course for Houseofficers on neonate topics: neonatal hypoglycaemia, neonatal jaundice and the newborn examination.
Take Home Message
My greatest inspiration is my family. My parents always remind me that when Allah blesses a person with a skill, we must use it well and contribute to society.
My first book was on physical examinations. Now when you've been doing physical examinations so many times, it becomes easier and you wonder what was so difficult in the first place. But my book always reminds me myself that I started out struggling. And that's the truth for a lot of people.
I keep making notes because I know I struggled with that particular topic in the beginning, and I hope that whoever struggles with it too will find it easier to understand with my notes.
May your understanding become easier and fascinating with these illustrated extra notes 🙂 Wishing you a brilliant and lively journey in learning.