Royal Pharmaceutical Society

It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward...

by Aaron Paul, RPS Intern

Recently during this pandemic I’ve had friends who have lost loved ones and it has taken me back to when I was 18 years old and my father, who was a pharmacist had passed away. I would like to share my story in the hope that people who are in similar situations will come out of it stronger and feel that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

After the passing of my father, I failed my A-levels and university started to look like something that was out of my reach. Life had thrown me a curveball and my life no longer had direction. I applied for so many jobs and got rejected until eventually I worked as a waiter before working in a community pharmacy as a counter assistant. My personal experiences weren’t great but I feel that being at such a low point in my life motivated me to make a change, so I saved up, paid to sit my A-level exams which I passed with great determination and I was off to university.

I didn’t enter pharmacy through the traditional route; I studied a 2 year foundation degree which allowed me direct entry onto the second year of the MPharm degree. As a foundation student you do also face barriers; although you’re working towards an MPharm degree you’re not seen as a budding pharmacist until you’re on the pharmacy degree which at times can be demotivating. That year I became the first ever foundation representative/ foundation student to be appointed onto our pharmacy society committee and by the end of the year our society had the most engagement from foundation students than ever before and we became the biggest society. I made new friends, expanded my network, which led me to my next adventure….

I had entered a national competition as a favour to a friend who was also a BPSA representative. After three rounds accompanied by three all-nighter’s, I was at the RPS dinner during the BPSA annual conference, walking up on stage to accept a trophy with the title of BPSA Alliance healthcare pharmacy business and enterprise student of the year. I had the opportunity to meet fantastic and inspirational people high up in the pharmacy world, this award opened doors for me.

As I write this, I am currently doing an internship with the RPS, working as a dispenser for an outpatients on weekends, I recently finished my role as head of events for my pharmacy society and I am awaiting for my exam results for my second year on the MPharm degree. It’s been both a challenging and an enjoyable experience and I’m excited for the future, especially being a part of this developing profession. More importantly the message that I want to get across is that the hardships you go through may make you feel like it’s the end of the world. However, this is just your beginning and it’s for you to write your own story.

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