NAPSA Congress does Griffith!
You read that right! The NAPSA congress this year has hit the golden shores of the Gold Coast by the hand of GUAPS! Too many abbreviations? No clue what this is? Do I have your curiosity? Let me break it down for you. NAPSA is the National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association Congress which is run annually by pharmacy schools and this year was none other than GUAPS!…or Griffith University Association of Pharmacy Students.
Brittany Armstrong and John Quinn both 3rd years sat down to give insight on their role in GUAPS along with Benjamin John, a seasoned, final year veteran embarking on his last semester before internship year sets sail.
So why Griffith pharmacy?
Benjamin: I was a local student at the time and Bond wasn’t actually offering pharmacy at all back then, yet that was what I was interested in. I’d also heard the educational program was very good and my OP made the cut so I thought why not! Can say looking back I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
I feel like there’s a story there, am I wrong?
Brittany: Funnily enough my aunty had a pharmacy where I was working in my last few years of school doing some counselling, doing orders, talking to patients. It was a great inspiration and made me realise what I wanted to do.
John: My cousin actually came here so I moved in with her but I’m from Toowoomba originally. Would have to say it’s a lot more fun here. Pharmacy is something I feel you can really get into the business side which was attractive. I would have to say I love the mentor program here, having someone in an older year is what got me into GUAPS and helping organising NAPSA.
A question aimed more for you Benjamin, what’s placement been like for you over the years?
Benjamin: To be honest, really, really fun! I’ve actually learnt so much from being out in the community and building professional relationships with real pharmacist. It’s different to learn from lectures and books in comparison to actually doing the job. It was a bit tricky to organise certain placements but I found out that Griffith has an amazing reputation in the past with students and so I want to build upon that. The place I applied for wasn’t going to accept any more students as they were busy but as soon as I said I was from Griffith they were like, yeah that’s fine.
Coming back to the NAPSA conference which has taken this place by storm, what can you tell me about that?
John: It’s organised by only about 13 students from GUAPS and sponsored by heaps of pharmaceutical companies and runs for a week with educational and social events. We had talks over the 4 days like one this morning from Rhonda White a co-founder of Terry White chemists which was amazing and also things like a trade show where the sponsors can build professional relationships with the delegates not to mentioned loads of freebies.
Brittany: Adding on to the social side of things, our opening night was at Dreamworld with The Claw, Wipeout, Zombie Evolution all opened exclusively for the delegates themed with Superheroes and Villains. The fun didn’t stop there though with next night holding a pub crawl with a pirate theme all throughout Surfers culminating in Melba’s.
Benjamin: I haven’t been a part of organising this year but I’ve been 3 times in the past and I can honestly say getting to know people in other unis all around Australia and also within our own uni to build support networks and have fun in a unique way you just would’ve form at uni.
Moving closer to home, what’s a typical day at uni like for you guys? Go from the moment you wake up until you sleep.
Benjamin: Do we even sleep?! Lectures can kick off as early as 8am or 9am to midday or 4pm with labs, dispensing practice and stuff like that. But come exam time it’s insane, sometimes I don’t sleep I just study that much but hey it’s exam time. There’s been a gradual progression for me over the years though, you need to understand how you work best and go hard. It’s incredible the amount of knowledge we’ve been taught comparing 1st year to 3rd or 4th year is INSANE! I personally sometimes forget the public don’t know what we do. I’m like, wait you didn’t know this about that drug? Oh wait you didn’t study pharmacy, you’re normal.
Brittany: I think I’m good with my time, I like my sleep! There’s even time for me to fit in some work. It’s been a learning curve though, getting to know what works best.
John: I think last exam block I’d just be here 9am and not leave until midnight, get dinner from the hospital and I’m sorted. Usual semester would be something like Benjamin.
Going a bit meaningful here, what’s the best piece of advice anyone’s given you?
Brittany: My dad gave me some advice that’s stuck, you just have to keep moving, you can do anything you want in life just keep moving, you know you can sleep when you’re dead sort of thing. Always be doing something and avoid being lazy, just go out and get it. He’s an engine builder by trade but doing some earth moving work back in Casino.
John: Similar to what Brittany said but just march to your own beat, just keep going and live life to the top. We’ve also had some speeches this week from Rhona White and an alumni from the school focussing on how we are the future and if you want to inspire others there are so many ways of developing forms of effective leadership. The future isn’t really running away from you it’s running at you, grab it, be proactive.
Benjamin: Mine was actually from a lecturer back in my earlier years because I didn’t do so well, didn’t care that much because it was such a huge transition. But one of them pulled me aside and told me to pull my head in and well now I’m in my masters now and it’s crazy. Good old Gary Grant.
Keeping this all in mind what are your future goals with pharmacy?
Benjamin: I’d love to own a community pharmacy with a vibe where I know everyone and everyone knows me. That connection with people and being a part of their health journey and progression. Even as a student it’s so amazing for me to work at the basic level and just move up and up.
John & Brittany: It’s actually so beneficial for the patients when you have that close relationship where sometimes you are the primary health care provider in small towns like Casino, I’d love to go back and help out my mentor too!
Wrapping up, if you had to summarise your life philosophy in a sentence or a few, what would you say?
Benjamin: Just keep striving to be better. Keep working harder and harder until it pays off, it really does. I’m doing something that I love and that’s it. Definitely what I want to do.
Brittany: I’m just taking my Dad’s advice, keep on moving, also doing what I want to do.
John: As Rhonda said today, hard work will always pay off so I keep that in mind.
Check out everything you need to know about NAPSA Congress on the Gold Coast right here! Or if you want to follow in the footsteps of John and Brittany click here to find out more on GUAPS on their work at Griffith. So the next time you see a horde of pharmacy students flooding the Southport campus you know exactly what’s going and hey if you’re a pharmacy student or want to be one, get on board and keep on moving!