“I spent a lot of time doing things within the Honours College – I was involved with volunteering and went on a trip to Cambodia and last year to Vietnam. I was given the chance to see the world”.
Your university years are often said to be the best of your life. Yes, there are the late night cram sessions, awkward share house situations and a severe lack of funds leading to overindulgence in goon and two minute noodles – but for the most part, university provides a fantastic environment for personal development, excellent experiences and lifelong friendships.
This is particularly true for pharmacy graduate Rebecca Curran. Rebecca illustrates how making the most of your University experience not only gives you fond memories, but can give you opportunities that set you up for the rest of your life.
During her studies, Rebecca was a member of the Griffith Honours College and headed the volunteering committee early in her degree. Her involvement with the college meant she was able to travel the world, working in Cambodia to build housing for underprivileged families, working in a rural outreach health clinic and travelling to Vietnam.
“Being involved with the Honours College gave me fantastic opportunities to see the world and really do some good,” she says.
Her other journeys included an international youth leadership conference in Prague and a semester abroad in Singapore, where she was funded by the Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Award to undertake her honours research at the National Heart Centre.
Rebecca’s gap year in England working in a boarding school and travelling all over Europe was a pivotal period in her life.
“It was a lovely time travelling and not worrying about anything. Doing a gap year made me really want to go to University.”
Rebecca’s global exploits are fascinating and are sure to awaken the travel bug lying dormant in most of us. The most compelling aspect of her story, however, is how grabbing hold of these opportunities while at University helped her to secure a hospital internship.
“Having the honours and the experience in Singapore from the scholarship definitely helped. It was a point of difference I could speak about which helped me in terms of my application,” she says.
Rebecca notes that Queensland Health only offers 30 Intern Pharmacist positions within their hospitals and she was in competition with three other pharmacy schools for a position.
“I started in January at the new University hospital. I was very lucky in the end to receive a few offers,” she says.
“The two main options when coming out of a pharmacy degree are community or hospital pharmacy. I had a great experience at Hervey Bay hospital which convinced me that this was what I liked – but those types of internships are hard to come by.”
It’s clear that Rebecca’s proactive approach and pronounced involvement with key University activities made her stand out from the competition. It’s obvious that she loves her job and speaks with passion about her role within the hospital.
“A part of being a hospital pharmacist is taking medication history from patients. I have to collate an accurate medication history of what they’ve been taking when they come into hospital. Their medication can potentially have contributed to the issue that brought them into hospital in the first place,” she says.
She also counsels patients on their medication before they are discharged, liaises with nursing home staff, doctors and community pharmacists and ensures patients are supplied with their medications on a day to day basis. That’s just a small snapshot of Rebecca’s varied and fulfilling day.
For someone who had such a fantastic University experience that led to an even better job, how did she feel leaving Griffith after five years?
“Graduation was a bit of a relief but it was a bit sad too. It was a long five years. You get used to the uni life and it was a really positive experience. I was quite fortunate, and I made some fantastic friends and had some really great lecturers. It was bittersweet but I was happy with what I achieved,” she says.
“The best thing I did was finding some good people in my first semester and formed a study group that lasted all five years of Uni. We all said we couldn’t have done it without each other and it really made a difference. Find some people who are motivated and it helps all the way through.”
Rebecca’s Top Tips:
- Pick a field that interests you, or you won’t stick with your studies when they get tough.
- Form a supportive study group in the first semester of your degree.
- Get involved while at University.