June 22, 2020, by Mei Kee Lee
Alumni Testimonial – Mak Yin Ying (2016)
For those of you who are unsure whether you have chosen the right path by enrolling yourself in the Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) at the University of Nottingham, worry not. I could not be more wrong to think pharmacists only work in either a hospital, retail pharmacy or pharmaceutical company and all they do is handing out medications. Four years later, I realise pharmacy has a very versatile job prospect. Around the globe, there are many exciting jobs which involve pharmacists, including ambulance service pharmacist who work closely with the paramedics, medicine educator who run workshops at schools to teach children about public health and pharmacy journalist who reviewed pharmaceutical articles.
In my first year of university, I was enthusiastic and confused at the same time. The university encourages students to undertake a lot of self-directed learning. I felt extremely challenging and intimidated with the sheer amount of reading after lectures. I wanted model answers and ‘correct’ discussion points, but they do not exist. As I spent my weekends on Google, searching high and low for the right answers, the university had gradually trained me to think critically and appraise every piece of information I read online. However, as daunting as it sounds, the university provides a lot of supports for the students. Our lecturers are knowledgeable and equipped with excellent pedagogy. The libraries in both campuses also subscribe to a vast database of journals, giving us free access to scientific articles and credible information.
Whenever the university or the School of Pharmacy promote summer activities, be it a research projects, job attachments or volunteer opportunities, take it up! Always make use of summer holidays as these activities enrich your student experience apart from studying. I applied for a placement in a pharmacy in Ljubljana (loo-blee-ya-nuh), Slovenia, through the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation (IPSF). I knew very little about the country and decided to be adventurous. During my one-month placement in Ljubljana, I travelled and gained work experience at the same time. It was fascinating to see all medications in another language! I was mostly responsible for stock checking and extemporaneous preparation of ointments and creams. On the weekends, the pharmacy students from the University of Ljubljana organised events such as hiking, picnics, barbeques at scenic places around the country. I will never forget the great times when I swam in the gorgeous Adriatic seas, hiked 6 hours to Velika Planina, and canoed along river Kolpa which separates Slovenia and Croatia.
Lastly, my advice to all MPharm students is learning does not stop after you graduated. It takes a lot of motivation to keep us going. As long as you do not give up, you will reach your goals. Embrace your student life here at the University of Nottingham, it is an exciting journey of self-discovery. Enjoy whilst it lasts!
(Yin Ying is currently doing her PhD study with Prof Ting Kang Nee in the School of Pharmacy, UNM)