Home away from home
Updated: Nov 14, 2018
I was 18 when I left home, made the decision to come to the UK alone, and have called it my second home ever since.
I’m the youngest in my family, so that also means I was always the baby. I was always used to depending on others, and that habit is still a little difficult to shake off. But being forced to grow in an environment foreign to me alongside the people I've met along the way made me into the person I am today.
You don’t know how strong you are until you’ve pushed yourself hard enough
College was the time you had to decide your whole future. I’d say for an 18-year old, that’s a bit harsh. All I knew at that time was that I wanted to get into a top university, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My subject choices during A-levels were Physics, Maths, Chemistry - so you can imagine how inconvenient it was for me to go into pharmacy. I was geared up to do something along the lines of engineering or law, pharmacy just happened to become an option one night when I decided to do "something different".
I never wanted to be a pharmacist “since young” (as many of you might have written on your personal statements, I might have been guilty of that too). I wanted to be in healthcare but I didn’t want to be a doctor. I thought I loved chemistry and maths, so I chose pharmacy cause I thought that was what it was all about. Whoever is reading this and is deciding what they want to do for the rest of their lives, please don’t do what I did. Jumping into something you don’t know much about. Cause pharmacy in the UK is a whole different ballgame compared to pharmacy back home.
From my point of view, getting into a top university meant you had to be extra colourful on paper. I didn’t have a problem with extra-curricular activities cause I was actively competing in squash and my results were good enough to pass the minimum entry requirements for the universities I chose (Nottingham, Kings, UCL, Bath and Manchester). I passed all the interviews for these universities, but all the extra reading I did to prepare myself for those interviews didn’t prepare me for when I actually got in.
I struggled in in the first two years of university, when everyone was flying. It's difficult to do well in something you don't enjoy, and I felt like that during the early stages. At one point, I really regretted choosing the path I was on. It took a whole lot of #selfreflection and not giving up, to finally give myself a chance to actually like pharmacy. I wasn’t your top student, so when it came to the time to pick whether I’d want to become a community or hospital pharmacist, choosing the latter was a huge dilemma for me; cause of the clinical component of it.
Becoming a hospital pharmacist meant I’d have to leave London, the place I’ve grown to love, to a place where everything was new to me, again. You might think why I didn't apply for London hospitals. I wanted to give myself a chance to actually learn without the heavy stresses of working in such a densely populated area. And community life just wasn’t for me.
Hence, the journey to Portsmouth. And now, I’m a newly qualified hospital pharmacist. Was it worth it? I'd say so, cause I do like what I'm doing now. Hospital pharmacy is so much more different that what I thought it was. What I learnt in university, I think I'm pretty much using 60% of it. And the rest, you learn on the job. The 18-year old me wouldn't have seen this coming, and I doubt most people at that age would know exactly what they'd be doing after graduation. I am blessed with the opportunities that have come my way, and am eternally grateful to loved ones who've cheered me on.
My only advice for anyone who stayed till the end of this post is, to keep going. It doesn't matter how much you've struggled, eventually you'll get there. And it will all be worth it, because you'll know that you've finally made it.
Feel free to visit the home (or Say Hello) page to tell me you'd like to see next xx