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Rediscovering My Interest while Pursuing Postgraduate Studies

02 Jun 2023

‘The future depends on what you do today.’


I grew up in a small town called Kajang (now a city), aka K-town. Pharmacy has always held a special place in my life, probably because of my father. Despite being a medical assistant, my father spent most of his career working at a dispensary in a military hospital. I used to follow him around to work. I have seen him compound medications ranging from cough mixtures to medicated creams. This is probably the reason I chose to be a pharmacist.

After completing my undergraduate degree, my career journey has begun, and it turned out to be an interesting one. I started my journey in a community pharmacy, which led me to join the public healthcare sector. Under the Malaysian Ministry of Health, I had the opportunity to work at a district hospital, a specialist hospital, and finally a primary care clinic in the Felda region.

While serving at this primary care clinic, an interest in pursuing my postgraduate degree sparked in me. Hence, I started asking around my friends who had completed their master’s degrees to find a suitable programme for me. In the meantime, I was visiting potential universities’ websites to find out more about the postgraduate programme.

Finding a suitable programme was challenging because the entire world was battling the COVID-19 pandemic. One day, while talking to a dear friend of mine, she shared her experience of how she was able to pursue her postgraduate degree in two years at IMU while working full-time at a hospital during the pandemic. This caught my attention, as I am not required to take a long break or travel for weekend classes.


After much consideration, I enrolled in a Master in Pharmacy Practice (MPP) programme specialising in Clinical Pharmacy at IMU. Pursuing a master’s degree not only helped me with my career progress, but it is also a fulfillment of lifelong learning. The course was structured in such a way that it encouraged independent learning among the students. I was working in a primary care clinic in Gemas, Negeri Sembilan. I travel back home during the weekends; however, with the pandemic, I am unable to go back. Since the classes were conducted online and during the weekends, I was able to focus on my work during the weekdays. My expectation was that with a master’s degree, I would be able to improve better service to my patients. Indeed, that expectation was fulfilled. As time went by, I became more detail-oriented and critical in my decision-making. Clinical decisions are often made based on evidence that requires proper analysis. Subjects like evidence-based medicine taught me how to critically evaluate published papers and put them into practise.


As any working adult would experience, balancing work and study can be challenging and, at times, stressful. My situation is not any different. Time management is very important. After my work, I usually spend some time reading articles related to the lectures, completing my assignments, and doing my research. With the support of my co-workers and mentor, I successfully finished the programme, achieving a Distinction. A plus point about this programme is that there is no end-of-semester examination. The programme only has internal assessments.

Best Oral Presenter
As part of this programme, I have undertaken research studies pertaining to my field of interest, geriatric care. The findings and outcomes from the study have been presented at two international conferences: the International Postgraduate Conference on Pharmaceutical Sciences (iPoPS) 2022 and the International Seminar: ClinImpact 2022 (India), where I have been awarded as the best oral presenter. These achievements add value to my career as well as my personal life. I move forward with hopes of serving my community better and being an example to the younger generation in fulfilling their dreams.

I always thought my interest was in pharmacy practice and clinical pharmacy. Pursuing a master’s degree helps me realise my potential. It helped me with my career progress. As a person interested in research even during undergraduate, the MPP sparked my interest in research again. I decided to switch my career path to academics and research. It’s been months since I joined IMU as a Lecturer. I like the environment. Little did I know that I would enjoy teaching the students and sharing my experience with them.

Written by Priya Manirajan
Reviewed by Dr Palanisamy Sivanandy


Related article: Embarking on a Challenging and Unforgettable Postgraduate Journey at IMU

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