My day at the GSK YP Program

​Today was—in one word—exceptionally amazing. Like, I can’t really use a word to describe how today was spent but I’ll just stick to that. 

And it wasn’t even planned.   

I woke up today and like any other Saturday, I did my chores and had breakfast. Just when I was about going into the “chilling” mood (which is basically seeing a couple of movies on my lappy), I got a call from a high school mate of mine who has actually been looking into facilitating a possible employment for me at GSK for a while now. He was calling to remind me of a program which he felt I should attend. So I quickly scrolled to my text messages and found out that the message containing the event venue and time which he had sent the previous day was somehow already marked ‘read’ and without me actually reading it. The slated time was 11am. By now, it was already 10am. 

Reading the message a second time, I didn’t feel it would be right to attend. I mean, this is a program organized by GSK and was targeted at young pharmacists. It literally read: Young Pharmacists’ program (YPP). Not Biochemists. Or maybe I was finding reasons not to go. “And for what?” My conscience asked. “Movies?” It answered. So I gave him a call to point it out to him but he insisted I go. Which I did. 

Trust me, by 10:10am I was dressed and headed out. Taking a route I perceived would be fastest, I arrived Orile at exactly 10:57am. From there, I took one more ride straight to the venue. See me pressing phone, completely relying on the driver to alight at my stop (something I knew isn’t the right thing to do), only to be taken further down the road up to the final bus stop. Thankfully, he agreed to take me back to my destination. I got out and walked into the building. Upon arrival, the first man I met said, ‘Rita? Thank you for coming.” LOL! I smiled shockingly in affirmation.

 I was asked to sign-in immediately by another man who then proceeded to ask, “So where do you practice?” Now, I just let out a laugh…quite long one. He laughed too. And almost hesitantly, I gave him a brief intro on how I ended up at the venue. He went on to assist me in filling the sign-in which included my place of practice and so on.

 I felt really good knowing I was the first to arrive for the program. Even when I thought I was already too late, especially with the very vivid imaginations I was having on the bus about how I would have to walk into a room full of people. But nah! I was in fact very punctual as the speakers too had not arrived. I even got a prize from being punctual—a ‘pen-drive’. It’s actually a pen with a USB drive attached at the base. I didn’t know until I was told. So we good. 

Arriving first, I had the opportunity to choose a spot I felt was the most comfortable (away from the AC path, at the back) only to be asked to move forward as the seats in front were not yet fully occupied. That was how I ended up sitting literally in a face-to-face position with the speakers. This was risky as during the course of the program, the speakers kept giving me eye contact, mentioning things they needed me to validate. One even asked, looking at me, the cost of a Ventolin inhaler and I only stared as other people echoed the answer. LOL! 

The seats awaiting the limited number of participants
At around 12:30pm, the program kicked off with one of the medical representatives of GSK anchoring the event. I got to know that the program is actually an annual thing held in all states across the nation and this was the last one for the year. 
Then came the speaker of the day, Lere Baale. A man I soon came to know as an embodiment of greatness. I always knew that there are much greater people in this life than those we often hear about and this man proved this belief of mine. A humble and ‘brief’ man working with the abundance of God’s grace. He shared a lot with us, from his life story to his several accomplishments both as a pharmacist, a consultant for major firms in top industries and a director in Business School Netherlands, Nigeria. He has acquired vast experience across numerous industries including FMCG and Telecommunications. Talk about diversity! 

There was so much to learn from him that if I decide to go into details, I may end up writing a book. But let me just try to mention a few highlights of his presentation. His presentation was centered on and in fact titled: thinking out of the mortar. From what he shared about his humble beginnings, dating as far back as his university admission, I was able to have a better understanding of how pharmacists differ, and in a big way, from Doctors, who are known to have a kind of superiority complex. I didn’t know until today that a point grading system existed which determines how suited one is for a course. In respect to the two aforementioned professions, the required points for pharmacy turns out to be higher than that of medicine. This may actually be the way it is/was in his university, I must add, before somborry reads this and begins to attack me. Hehehe! 

On reading, he spoke about the need to read ‘value-adding’ books and not fictional books but didn’t fail to state that there are actually select fictional genres that are still a good read such as those with a scientific aspect; such books that push you to question the author’s thoughts or views about their writing. He also made mention of reading biographies of great people instead of romance novels and others such as those.

The only picture I have of that day and my eyes are closed. Sheesh!

He also gave tips on success as well as made emphasis on the need to read other areas asides those related to one’s formal education. He also boosted our confidence. Yes, I said “our” by telling us about how much skills are grasped during the course of training to be a pharmacist and I believe the ‘extra package’ he spoke of are also things I gained too from studying Biochemistry. Of course you do remember I mentioned it was a program to meet with young practicing pharmacists, right? But I actually didn’t feel left out. I could relate to some (most) things he talked about. Biochemistry isn’t that much different. So I think. I mean, we are all in this together, right?In conclusion, he charged us to constantly challenge ourselves. It was in fact a fantastic experience and I am so glad I was a part of it. 

I don’t know, I may be wrong but I feel there’s a saying about the best things happening to you when you don’t actually plan for it. But just in case it’s a first, remember you heard it here first *winks.

Oh my! I cannot end this post without talking about the ‘long-throat’ item 7 we were treated to. Yes, I like food. I remember telling a school mate this and she laughed at me. I am a foodie and a proud one too.

So this item 7 ehn, it was a full-course buffet service. You know when there’s so much to choose from. SMH. I was even dulling when the other attendees started packaging the food in take-away packs. “So GSK actually called us to eat,” I said to myself, playfully.

 I mean, who gives you food with free take-away packs and a large bag to carry the food with. Only GSK! LMAO! It was literally an eat-in and take-away service.

As I was ‘packing’ the food, I just remembered that my mate who asked me to come for the event had actually spoken about the food service at GSK. I had no idea it was this grand. I mean, there was appetizer, a variety of main meals, dessert and drinks. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  GSK made my day!

I would love to be a part of the GSK team. Don’t begin to think I have the wrong motives. I value what they represent—wellness–and I hope to be a part of such a pacesetter in such an advancing industry.

So that was how a Biochemist (and most likely the only non-pharmacist there present) was the first to arrive at a program targeted at Pharmacists. Impromptu. And I have my old school mate to thank for such an opportunity to meet with such greatness.
Till next time,

Do more…feel better…live longer.

Source: The ‘lappy’ archives

Dated: 27th August 2016

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