My first inspirational experience in becoming a formulation scientist was a lecture on esterification between alcohol and carboxylic acid to prepare esters with sweet smell back in high school. With the interest of becoming a cosmetic formulation scientist, I browsed through the Internet and found that IMU was the first university to offer Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme in Malaysia. I then started my journey in IMU as a Foundation in Science (FIS) student (FS219) in 2019.
As an alumnus of FIS in IMU, IMU felt like home to me when I came back to study the Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme. I was one of the recipients of IMU 100% Merit Scholarship and I was actively involved in extracurricular activities as a member of the IMU Scholars. The most recent project that I was involved in was HealthAI: Innovate For Health Webinar and Research Hackathon 2021 as the Head of Design.
I also involved myself as committee members in the projects or events initiated by IMU Phoenix Sport House, Asian Medical Students Association (AMSA), Christian Fellowship, and Chinese Cultural Society. I was very proud and pleased to contribute my efforts in making these projects and events successful.
The study in Pharmaceutical Chemistry helped me to adapt to my internship as a Healthcare Communication intern in PMCare Sdn Bhd. Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme in IMU had prepared me well to be capable of creating contents on COVID-19 vaccination, digital health, medicines, pharmacy, and mental health with the knowledge learnt in the modules such as Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Pharmaceutics, Ethics in Science, Pharmacology, and Medicinal Chemistry. During my internship in Digital Healthcare Services unit in PMCare, I had the chance to explore online pharmacy and telehealth services, which are currently emerging in Malaysia due to movement restrictions during the pandemic. Scientific writing skills that I learnt and trained during my studies in previous semesters came in handy when I needed to extract valid information from articles, especially those related to vaccination and how to counteract false or biased information from anti-vaccinists.
When the members questioned that they were receiving medications with different brand name, the knowledge learnt about pharmaceutics and pharmacology equipped me with the capability to explain on the bioequivalence between brand name drug and generic drug. This provided me a higher competency than my colleagues who did not share the same level of scientific knowledge on drugs, and my assistance in clarifying their questions was well appreciated.
Other than the scientific knowledge, the soft skills such as presentation and organisation skills practiced throughout my study were very helpful when I needed to propose my ideas to my supervisor during meetings and when I led the event planning and execution using Microsoft Teams for webinar events. Basic Mathematics and Statistics module also allowed me to perform basic data analysis when the colleagues from Marketing and Wellness department passed me some ad-hoc tasks. I managed to do analysis on quantitative data such as the body composition test results of the employees including weight, body fat mass, and skeletal muscle mass, and qualitative data such as the annual member surveys and the feedbacks on the webinar events. The Problem-Based Learning (PBL) component in my degree also contributed to my analytical and critical thinking to provide constructive ideas and feedbacks in troubleshooting and brainstorming during the meetings. The figure below shows a recommendation on LinkedIn from Khairina, another intern from Monash University who was working with me in PMCare Sdn Bhd:
Source: LinkedIn @ Wei Jean Lim
If I were to share some words or advice to my juniors, I think it is important to acknowledge that great things come with a price, and they are worth waiting for. Do not fear challenges and changes. Do not be easily discouraged and be patient.
As for my plans for future, I was very much inspired by looking at how IMU Hospital was built up from scratch. The impact from seeing IMU Hospital’s construction progress was so strong, and it got stronger whenever I passed by the construction site. If I were given a chance to make a wish, I would want to draft myself a steepest curve of career and personal growth by having a full-time management trainee or medical affairs related role in IMU Hospital while working on a part-time PhD programme in antioxidative anticancer research. People might see it as a challenge, but what I see is possibilities.