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 Tiong Shao Qin’s Rewarding and Memorable Journey as an IMU Pharmacy Student

21 Dec 2022

5 November 2022 – The day when I walked on the stage donning the graduation robe and experienced what it is like to be under the limelight was truly a monumental moment for me. This special moment was rehearsed numerous times in my mind but to actually experience receiving the reward for four years of hard work and perseverance was extremely significant to me. I still cannot believe that I am now officially a graduate with a Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) (Hons) degree!

Time flies in a blink of an eye. The four years of pharmacy study at International Medical University (IMU) has now become my most meaningful memory. Looking back, my aspiration to be a pharmacist began in secondary school. My passion became stronger after experiencing a life-changing incident that happened to my family back in 2015. That was when I realised that optimum medication therapy management is crucial in achieving the best possible health outcomes. The various roles of pharmacists and their contribution to our healthcare services spurred my enthusiasm further. Hence, I decided to join BPharm (Hons) programme at IMU.

The curriculum of IMU BPharm (Hons) is structured to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge required to venture into the field of pharmacy. Throughout the course, I have acquired essential knowledge in the basic sciences, pharmacy practice, pharmaceutical technology, clinical pharmacy and pharmaceutical chemistry.


Apart from the curriculum, the presence of a conducive learning environment with approachable lecturers as well as supportive friends has greatly enriched my study experience at IMU. I could still remember how convenient it was to have study corners on each floor of the IMU building where the students could carry out discussions and revisions together with friends or lecturers. On top of that, I am grateful to be guided by dedicated and supportive lecturers from the School of Pharmacy, research supervisors and preceptors throughout my BPharm journey at IMU. Appreciating my inquisitive nature, they have always taken the time to answer my enquiries and tried their very best to guide me with their knowledge and experience to enhance my learning. Their selfless acts and untiring support to every student are what I believe kept me and my peers going despite the setbacks we faced. My friends, on the other hand, have also been a great source of academic and emotional support to one another to maintain our mental well-being.


During the early semesters, I was inspired to gain experiential learning experience to have better insights on the various healthcare services provided by pharmacists in collaboration with other healthcare professionals to the public.

I was glad that I was able to gain exposure through volunteering in the IMU Foundation clinic and the health screening events organised by IMU Pharmacy Students’ Association (IPSA) and IMU Cares as well as via co-organising a community service project under the MPU module with my course mates. These experiences are beneficial to me in improving my soft and hard skills.

However, in 2020, our physical learning experience on campus was greatly compromised by the nationwide lockdown during the global pandemic and many of us were overwhelmed by facing the uncertainties in our studies. Looking at the bright side now, I was impressed by the quick adaptation of the university to online distant learning whereby the teaching and learning sessions and assessments were conducted via virtual platforms.


The most remarkable online learning experience of mine was working together in a team, supervised by Dr Hira Choudhury, to develop and present our innovative pharmaceutical product idea during the Model Industry Concept (MIC) session introduced in Year 3. Moreover, with the advancing digital technology, I was able to participate in various events and competitions organised by the university and external organisations since these activities became more accessible to us through online platforms. These have become golden opportunities for me to broaden my knowledge and gain new skills. Some of the memorable events include learning the Malaysian sign language and being part of the development team of mental health mobile applications after winning the IMU Research Hackathon 2020 with my teammates under the supervision of Dr Manisha Pandey.


During my final year of study, I also explored the various pathways involved in pharmacy, namely hospital pharmacy, community pharmacy, industrial pharmacy and research and development. Despite missing out on overseas research opportunities in midst of the global pandemic, I was fortunate to be able to perform my final year research project physically in the IMU Research Lab under the supervision of Dr Elaine Chan Wan Ling and A/Prof Gan Sook Yee. This enabled me to gain hands-on research skills and improve my critical thinking skills through brainstorming and troubleshooting the problems faced during the research together with my research teammates, postgraduate seniors, and research supervisor. We improved with every step, and this boosted our research spirit to contribute to the science world by sharing our findings about the potential treatment targetted for Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, it was also a rewarding experience to work closely with lecturers and teammates in publishing scientific review article at the undergraduate level.


Reminiscing the past four years spent in IMU, whether physically or virtually, I truly believed it was indeed a fruitful and memorable journey.

Not to mention the most fulfilling moment of my life was witnessing my personal growth along my pharmacy journey at IMU. I am deeply honoured to be one of the recipients of the MPS-Duopharma Biotech Gold Medalist Award 2021. My perseverance and inquisitiveness in every learning approach as well as endless support from my family, friends and lecturers have immensely contributed to my achievements today.

Now that I am officially a pharmacy graduate, I am looking forward to beginning my provisional training as a provisionally registered pharmacist in the hospital setting to serve the public through multidisciplinary care. In future, I would also like to pursue a postgraduate study to deepen my knowledge in pharmacy.

Before I end, I would like to share a few pieces of advice for the current and future students.
Passion and continuous learning are indispensable for long-term success.
Participate in events and competitions whenever you can as you will never know the hidden talents and potential you have in yourself until you step out of your comfort zones.
There are times when the challenges we face are suffocating and unbearable, however, we must always persevere and recall the purpose of choosing this pathway. Remember to practise compassion and self-care in life while consistently evaluating your priorities along the journey. Eventually, you will gain the strength and determination to overcome these challenges and reach your destination successfully.

Thank you! All the best to everyone!

During the 5 November convocation, Tiong Shao Qin received the following awards:
Board of Governors’ Gold Medal, awarded at this Convocation to the student who achieves the highest academic standing in his/her pharmacy degree programme.
Book Prize for Pharmacology and Therapeutics sponsored by Alpro Alliance Sdn Bhd
Book Prize for Pharmaceutical Chemistry sponsored by Hovid Berhad
Book Prize for Pharmaceutical Technology sponsored by Kotra Pharma (M) Sdn Bhd
Book Prize for Pharmacy Practice sponsored by Caring Pharmacy Retail Management Sdn Bhd

She is also in the Dean’s List of Graduands with High Academic Achievement.

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