By Temitope Ben-Ajepe
….and I’m not saying that just because I can. Writing this has done a great job of evoking deep rooted nostalgia and I’m happy to say that I really don’t mind.
The mere act of talking (or more aptly put, writing in this case) about my IPSF experience fills me up with the fondest memories that I’ll forever cherish in my pharmaceutical career and ignites hope of an even better and more rewarding experience in the course of what’s left in my sojourn as a student pharmacist through the genius that is the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF).
For one thing, I discovered IPSF at an all time low and while it would be insincere to say it changed my life (or at least, not yet), it gave me a fresh perspective on a lot of pharmaceutical things. At that point, reading about pharmacy was drab and unexciting and I believed my life held more promise elsewhere and I couldn’t wait to leave school immediately after my finals. Everything about pharmacy deeply infuriated me and I wanted nothing more than to be done with it in the long haul and for the short run and to greatly reduce all unnecessary exposure to it.
I more or less stumbled on IPSF through a dear friend,who’s now a pharmacist and ex-student of our great Igbinedion University, who sent me a soft copy of the flyer for a Leaders-In-Training event planned to be held here at school during the summer of 2016 and while the techie in me was already gearing up to fly to Abuja for the coolest internship I had snagged at the Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship, it was the name Seun Omobo that did it for me. I knew who she was and the great work she had done at WHO and was what you’d call a fan. I am fascinated by the woman as I think she’s phenomenal and with a little tweaking to my already set plans, I found myself on a bus to Okada to finally meet her before proceeding to Abuja from Benin.
By the time I got to Okada, Seun had already made her address. And left. And I was, for lack of a better term, devastated. My whole detour had been a waste of time, money and effort. Or so I thought.
I ended up staying and thoroughly enjoying myself even though I was forced to hole up at the dingy “Princess” motel. It was at that event I came to realize just how multidisciplinary pharmacy practice truly was and how I could align my skills and interests with my pharmacy background to work in so many new, exciting fields. Pharmacy didn’t have to be restricted to community or hospital and that was all I needed to know to get me pumped for it.
The people I met in the facilitators nailed an already closed coffin in case I changed my mind. They were smart, precise and had good heads on their shoulders. We conversed and I knew that this was something I wanted to be a part of; exciting, fresh and making a lot of sense.
It’s been only under a year and I’ve made really amazing friends within and outside the country who are as ambitious as myself and with whom I could always consult for their input on specific matters. I am continuously amazed how so many amazing and super smart people (read: pharmacists and student pharmacists) can aggregate all in one place. And it’s not all just about the book smarts, they’re street savvy and widely traveled and really, really cool. I am forever grateful for the friends from whose wealth of experience I can drink from and see the world through their eyes. The deeply cerebral talks and light-hearted, witty banter, I take none of it for granted. At all.
I’ve had the opportunity of engaging in events, from organizing medical outreaches in collaboration with The United States State Department to the Professional Development approved ones for Patient Counseling and Clinical Skills; being actively involved in the groundwork and writing reports and making commendations. I’ve also coordinated an aggressive, Nationwide online Campaign on Antimicrobial Resistance that was duly recognized by the Federation.
For one who loves the road, I’ve been opportune to travel to other faculties of pharmacy for knowledge sharing programs and it’s been nothing short of exhilarating. There’s an inside joke about how IPSF is a sort of travel agency but and slowly but surely, it’s beginning to make sense. Never mind that it’s at your own expense. But the experiences are worth it all.
And I’m just getting started.
The writer is an aspiring pharmacist and wordsmith. Interested in mobile health, big data and tweets from @temi_benjamin.