Many pharmacy students go straight from sixth form to university without taking a breath in between. But Yasmine Haq, a provisionally registered pharmacist working in North East England, had to put her plans to become a pharmacist on hold when she didn't get the A-level grades she'd been expecting.
However, this ended up being the best result for Ms Haq, whose parents had both worked in pharmacy. “That was fine, because I just wasn't ready and my heart wasn't set on it [at the time],” she tells C+D editor Beth Kennedy in a podcast.
Ms Haq made up her mind to train as a pharmacist on her own terms over the following year, during which she spent six gruelling days a week working in pharmacies as a dispenser and pharmacy assistant. She then completed a foundation year in Biopharmaceutical Science at The University of Sunderland before beginning her MPharm.
“The unconventional route was definitely the most conventional for me. I am glad I did it that way. If I had [started the degree] from the age of 18, I might not be the person I am now. You have to learn what you want, how you work and what you want out of things.”
Although she delayed beginning her pharmacy degree, she had an early start in the sector – helping in a store on Saturdays from the age of 16. “I started from the bottom. I've done all sorts, from driving the delivery van to cleaning the toilets.”
Her hard work paid off with more than a place at university. In November last year, Ms Haq won C+D’s Pre-registration Graduate of the Year Award.
Listen to the podcast to find out more about:
- Overcoming self-doubt before applying to university
- The differences between being pharmacist and a dispenser
- Enjoying the workload in pharmacy despite painful feet
- The pressures of becoming a pre-registration pharmacist
You can listen to the podcast above. Alternatively, follow C+D's podcasts by searching “Chemist+Druggist podcast” on your preferred app or on Soundcloud