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Bhamini RangnekarWhat made you decide to do Pharmacy?

Trusting my sister’s advice (who graduated from dentistry in Dunedin), I enrolled into HSFY at Otago to ‘find my place in the world’. I have always found health an interesting topic because it’s something everyone has. Pharmacy was one of the more intriguing pathways because of two main reasons. Firstly, it had a lot of gaps such as the world still not knowing how paracetamol works. (crazy, right?!) That’s why I want to be a pharmacist, so I can learn and help fill the gaps. On a selfish note I think it’s an excellent way to get job satisfaction; fill the gaps and be meaningful to society. The second was health itself is best when deterioration is avoided. Aka prevention; and who sits in a position where they regularly see the community and can help catch early signs of diseases and therefore reduce complications? That’s right Pharmacist!! So that’s how I came to decide on pharmacy, because of its endless gapping opportunity to learn and help.

What did you know about Pharmacy before you started your BPharm?

To be completely honest, nothing. It was never on my radar in school which was a pity because I think it is one of the most underrated fields in health. The knowledge I now possess is priceless and I would not have guessed that I could articulate myself not only around medicines but the diseases they treat in such depth.

Where do you hope a career in Pharmacy will take you?

To the moon! The pharmacy career is so endless in its opportunity because medicines affect areas from basic research to law making and I really want to be a part of all of it. Having a taste of research by doing honours for my final year I have found it to be an intriguing field. I would like to visit it again one day once I’ve gained some real-life experience working. I am someone who loves learning whether it be officially or on my own and I think if you are like that then this really is the degree for you because there is always new exciting information and you can be a life-long learner.

Why did you choose Otago?

I chose Otago mainly because my sister was in Dunedin at the time and moving from Hawkes Bay I would rather go somewhere I had some family so that left Otago. However, I think if you don’t know anyone in Otago its still better to come here because it still has a small town feel and is very homey! I can’t count the times I’ve been homesick after my sister left and all I’ve had to do is walk a block or two and rock up at my friend’s house. It’s a beautiful well supported environment that’s always safe with the friendly campus watch patrolling around the place. I think it gets a bad rap for its partying but it’s not that bad. You choose your level and I promise you’ll always find people at it. Its full of so many crazy and wonderful things including all the sports and events which I love to do. Getting involved in netball and indoor soccer was amazing and if you know me you’d know I can not play soccer to save myself, but I played for two years because of how amazing Otago can be in that way of involving you.

What is/are the best thing(s) about being a Pharmacy student at Otago?

I know its cheesy but definitely the people. You really get to know them similar to a high school vibe as it’s the same class for 3 years (after health science). That includes the teachers where you’ll meet some are the most amazing and inspirational people who will go out of their way to support you in your learning. Specifically, in course I found the QUMs papers that you do end of P3 and all of P4 to be the most interesting cause its where you learn the diseases and all the medicines. It really is amazing to learn about and I don’t think I’ve been as interested in anything as much as I was in those. You don’t have to force yourself to study those subjects as much because you end up being so interested. Also make sure people know you’re studying pharmacy before they ever look at your google history otherwise you’ll look like a druggy hypochondriac.

Do you have any plans for you internship?

Yes, I was so lucky to get such a rare opportunity to go to the West Coast and do both hospital and community for 6 months each. There’s only 2 places open like that and I think it definitely will give me an edge going into the internship exams as well as once I come out as a fully registered pharmacist. I am extremely impressed about the community pharmacy because they offer everything under the sun when it comes to community pharmacy. I went and visited it for a day and its so huge with 3 consultation rooms. So, I have a lot to look forward to as well as learn! The hospital is also something I’m super excited about because I don’t really understand it yet (to be honest the 5-day placement at Christchurch Hospital just wasn’t enough to grasp it all) but I am very very eager to learn as much as I can.
Also, a little side note during my degree I’ve worked in two pharmacies (Roslyn Unichem and Urgent Pharmacy) as part time over the last two years and I definitely recommend it to anyone even thinking about it. Part time is worth it you never feel like you’re wasting your study time. It really does wonders for your exam making things easy to remember and being constantly curious. The P3 first semester is the hardest year and I do wonder whether I should’ve worked over that semester or not but I’m glad I did because I found my classmates struggled to find part time jobs afterwards when it got easy with QUMs. So study hard and get ahead. Apply everywhere you’ve always got something to learn from someone!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

I was born in India and moved to the sunny Hawkes Bay when I was 5 years old. Growing up in the fruit bowl of the country I really enjoyed everything on offer! With biology and chemistry being the most hated subjects in high school you must wonder what I am doing in Pharmacy? I swear it gets better. If you ask me now I would say chemistry is my favourite subject but that is because I now understand it I don’t have to just memorise the reaction pathways like in high school. So, I know people say use the subjects you like in school to choose your career, but I know that would have been bad advice for me cause I loved physics and maths but I promise you I would make a terrible engineer. I love helping people. Its as cheesy as it gets but its true. I love knowing I’ve improved someone’s life and I like interacting with people from all walks of life, so I think I’m definitely in the right career for me. If anyone is considering it I say just go for it! I was unsure but now I am very happy with my decision.