Pharmaceutical Therapy.

Posted on February 9, 2012 by


Name: Zi Qian
Gap: February 2011 – September 2011
Education History: A-Levels at HELP Academy

Your reason(s) for taking a gap year

I was in the July 2009 intake at HELP Academy and graduated in February 2011. However, UK universities usually begin their academic year in September, which is why I had to wait for 6 to 7 months before enrolling in university.

What you did during your gap year

To be honest, I bummed around quite a bit for the first couple of months. However, the monotony of it all became unsettling, and so I decided to look for a part time job at a pharmacy. I thought that it’d be a great way to gain some experience in the pharmaceutical industry, especially since I’m pursuing a degree in Pharmacy. It was a great use of my time and the exposure certainly did put me at an advantage over my classmates. I went travelling for a week with my friends to Lang Tengah in Terengganu as well. Basically, most of my gap year was spent working. I had long working hours and hence didn’t have much time to pursue other interests throughout the day. The work, nonetheless, was definitely rewarding.

Your thoughts on what your gap year was like and it did/didn’t do for you

My gap year was unanticipated and a true eye opener. It exposed me to the ‘real world’. Every day at the pharmacy store I’d meet different customers and encounter all kinds of different people. I became proficient in learning not only how to deal with a multiplicity of characters but also with government officers that came to check on the store’s stocks every now and then. I also learnt how to deal with thievery (The store got robbed 3 or 4 times in the few months I worked there)! In short, it gave me a realistic idea of what my life would be if I do ultimately decided to take on community. I’m really glad that I got to work at the pharmacy because it showed me that I wasn’t personally suited to the nature of this work. In a sense, I discovered both clarity and ambiguity throughout the process; though I was sure that community pharmacy wasn’t for me, I was now confused as to path I would take. In retrospect, however, I thought my gap year was slightly wasted. If I could do it all over again, I’d definitely have planned it better. I’ve always wanted to take up a second language: Spanish. I could have easily pursued this over the course of my gap year, but I unfortunately did not (The evils of procrastination). It was something I definitely regretted, which is why I plan to take up Second Language Spanish as an additional module at university.

Your thoughts on taking a gap year in general

I actually think that taking a gap year is pretty awesome, provided you know how you’re going to use your time. I remember being so frustrated at one point because I hadn’t planned things out well; all I wanted to do was go back to school. But the truth is a gap year really does give you a chance to do, see and experience things you’ve always wanted to do but have never had the time for. It is a remarkable approach to breaking away from familiarity and educating yourself through a completely different paradigm. If you have solid plans for your gap year, it willchange you for the better.

What you are currently doing/pursuing

I’m currently pursuing the MPharm course at the University of Nottingham (Malaysia Campus). It’s a 2+2 program, so I’ll transfer to the UK campus in 2013.

Your future plans

For right now, to graduate from the University of Nottingham and obtain my first degree. After that, I’ll see where life takes me. I’ll probably delve into R&D and work in a lab somewhere. Perhaps I will pursue my PhD? All I know is I’m not working at a community pharmacy!

Final words of wisdom

For those of you planning to take a gap year, I can assure you that it’s not as bad as people society deems it. If there’s one thing you need to take on a gap year, its bravery. You need to be willing to try and experience new things. You need to be willing to break away from convention and take control of your own life. If you embody this spirit, you will look back on your gap year with no regrets. Embrace this precious time you have, because when you’re at university and look back on the year that just flew by, you will miss it immensely.

Notes about Zi Qian

Highest achieving student in HA03. (4A*s)

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