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IMU Pharmacy Student: 1% Growth A Day, 365% A Year Making a Difference in the Community

06 Jan 2022

What IMU has taught me about being a Good Samaritan is through serving the community; that is when I decided to join programmes initiated by IMU Cares. I remember my first community project was Passion to Care, back in 2017; a tri-monthly project to assisting and preparing Rumah Titian Kaseh children to develop their school readiness skills especially in English.

When we speak about helping people who are in dire need, the first thought that would probably come to our mind is helping them with money. In general, it is true that money is the main factor when lending a hand. However, helping people isn’t just about only giving money. It can also be delivered via our actions.

Serving the community is not only a manifestation of the University’s core values but also as part of experiential learning towards being an established healthcare professional.

I stumbled into growth opportunities by embracing one mantra – go beyond my comfort zone. I was brainstorming, on how I could make a difference. Definitely not mathematically, but for my own community.

One fine day, I was notified by WhatsApp group messages on volunteer recruitment of World Pharmacists Day Games organised by the Malaysian Community Pharmacy Guild (MCPG). MCPG represents the voices of fellow community pharmacists; strengthening equity and bona fide medication management.

I volunteered to be at the registration and was acknowledged for my soft skills by the committee members. On the very same week, I was appointed to become the Associate Member Leader of MCPG; ensuring registered members especially fresh graduates move towards obtaining perks of becoming a community pharmacist.

Annually, MCPG organises a major event and I was appointed as the Head of Volunteers for three consecutive years (2018-2020). I managed to recruit Pharmacy students (volunteers) from 15 universities across Peninsular Malaysia and exposed them to networking with business partners, entrepreneurs and fellow pharmacists.

To date, I was invited to be a part of the MCPG Covid-19 Masks Taskforce team to provide face masks directly from manufacturers and deliver them to fellow community pharmacists. Glad that I grew pretty much, and I’m able to differentiate types of face masks that has been out in the stores. Apart from the profession aspect, I challenged myself to grow on a wider platform, connecting with students globally.

I volunteered to join iCUBE International (Malaysia) (Dec 2019), a non-profit student organisation focused on fostering an entrepreneurship and innovation mindset among Malaysian students around the world. I was appointed as the Content Producing Director, promoting start-up companies through press release and regional series.

One day, I sat back and reflected back at my life. I have connected with many NGOs. I was curious to know about government organisations-based events. Another opportunity hit me when I was called to join MyCorps, a life changing experience funded by the Ministry of Youth and Sports to serve communities around the world. I was trained and sent to the Philippines to practice volunteerism and fortunately was able to conduct 20 projects funded by the kind Malaysians.

Now, being the alumni of MyCorps, I was appointed to be the Coordinator for Volunteering Module which was incorporated as part of the Malaysian Future Leaders School (MFLS) programme (Feb 2020). Also, I was invited to be a panellist on Parenting & Sexual Reproductive Health (March 2020) organised by United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) and received feedbacks on collaboration to develop a mobile application to educate parents on comprehensive sexual education (CSE) from their very own home.

Online Activities due to Covid-19 Restrictions

Volunteerism in me did not fade off despite knowing that there is limited access to helping community physically when the COVID-19 hijacked the whole nation. Thus, I decided to venture into virtual events through organising online fundraising and webinars. For instance, my team and I managed to conduct a 1-week online fundraising whereby a total of RM1151.15 was given to farmers and fishermen of Maonon, Philippines (supplying sanitisers, facemasks, digital thermometers and Vitamin C supplements) during the pandemic (May 2020).

Knowing that restrictions were enforced (MCO,CMCO), we were all encouraged to stay at home and fill our days with fruitful activities, in which I decided to search for international events. I accessed and found many courses and exciting fellowships for young adults to venture on. I participated in the Islamic Youth Cooperation Forum (ICYF)’s initiative on Volunteer VS Covid19 Online Training Programme and was able to network with delegates from 54 OIC Members (May 2020).

In 2021, when the restrictions started to loosen, I was engaged physically with volunteer works while strictly following the SOPs such as the MCPG Vaccination Training Programme (October 2021) and Clean Water Supply Project at Kampung Long Latei, Miri, Sarawak (November 2021).

Representing MyCorps Alumni organisation, I never give up the chance to help our “rakyat” in the recent flash flood through online fundraising of over RM10,000 in a short span of 3 days and extend help to over 2000 affected flood victims (December 2021).

If it wasn’t IMU Cares that has been my stepping stone into the volunteerism world, I wouldn’t be standing here being recognisd and awarded by the Ministry of Youth and Sports as the 2021 Nation’s Special Youth Volunteer Icon. Oh yes, I’m sure you must be wondering how did I achieve a stable work life balance despite being a busy yet active student.

Special heartfelt gratitude to IMU Counselling Services on providing me tips to attain an ideal balance in my life.

Here are some tips that you can follow to learn on how to priortise responsibilities and avoid unnecessary stress that overwhelm you:

  1. Setting realistic goals. Set goals that you can achieve at your own capacity.If you set goals that you can’t achieve, things will fall apart and you will start to feel like you’re failing.
  2. Priotise your physical and mental health. Get enough 7-9 hours of sleep, eat a nutritious diet, stay hydrated at all times, and give yourself time for physical activity or exercise.
  3. Reward yourself. Pat yourself in the back and give yourself rewards for sticking up to your schedule and/or for accomplishing major tasks. Go get some relaxation in a spa or foot massage, plan a short getaway with friends or family or even get yourself a Daboba Milk Tea.
  4. Play to your own strengths. Take a personality test and recognise them. And it’s okay if you can’t be everything to everyone. Take some time to cultivate your natural abilities.
  5. Set a curfew for your technology. We are overly dependent on our gadgets which in a way affects our healthy and balanced lifestyle. When it’s time for bed, turn off your gadgets our put them on airplane mode.

In a nutshell, I realised that I have been volunteering to gain 1% growth daily. Yes, for me; VOLUNTEERING is the key to personal and professional growth. I volunteer with zero expectations ; all I wish for is to practice the best human service.

If you are curious to know more about managing lifestyle as a student or even wish to venture on volunteerism, kindly drop me an email at [email protected]

Love for humanity is my race, to do good is my religion. — Nermesh Singh —

Written by Nermesh Singh, IMU Final Year Pharmacy Student

Related article: A Passion to Teach, A Passion to Care

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