Exploring College Adjustment in First-Year Gen Z Medical Students and Its Contributing Factors

Rahma Tsania Zhuhra, Mardiastuti H. Wahid, Rita Mustika

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: First-year medical students need to adjust to university life to achieve optimal education. Notably, generation Z (Gen Z) students recently admitted to medical school possess unique characteristics that may affect their adjustment. However, limited studies have evaluated the adjustment of Gen Z medical students. In line with this, the present study explores the adjustment process of Gen Z medical students in their first year of study. Methods: A qualitative phenomenological study was held from January 2020 to October 2020. The respondents comprised first-year students from two medical institutions. Maximum variation sampling was applied to select the respondents. Moreover, 11 focus group discussions (FGDs) with students and 10 in-depth interviews with lecturers were conducted. Curriculum documents were examined, and then the data were analysed thematically. Results: Three themes were identified: i) domain; ii) process and iii) contributing factors to college adjustment. Academic, social and personal-emotional components of adjustment were included in the domain theme. The process theme consisted of transition, transition-transformation and transformation phases. Meanwhile, the contributing factors consisted of existing and supportive factors. Student characteristics, including demographics, mentality, prior educational experiences and social support, were considered the existing factors, while technology, learning system and well-being constituted the supporting factors. Conclusion: College adjustment involves various domains, processes and contributing factors that are unique to Gen Z characteristics, technology dependence and culture. Therefore, well-prepared faculties are needed to support the adjustment of Gen Z students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-137
Number of pages12
JournalMalaysian Journal of Medical Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • college adjustment
  • culture
  • emotional adjustment
  • medical
  • social adjustment
  • students
  • technology


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