Hi everyone, firstly thank you for reading this article! My name is Sebastien Bailey. I'm a Third year pharmacy student at Kingston University. I'm from Chelmsford, Essex (birthplace of the radio) and I have just turned 23 years old. I took a gap year after sixth-form which was essentially low-paid bar work before studying one year of Medical Biochemistry. I'm studying Japanese (私は非常にわるいです)as an aside to my course and I'm hoping to teach English there for a year (or two) after a successful pre-reg. I've always had a passion to have a job where I'm helping people every day and not where I'm stuck behind a desk in a cubicle for long periods of the day. I'm running the Brighton Marathon in April for Pharmacist Support and I'm seriously looking forward to it.

What obstacles have you face?

I suppose I don't open up very much and it's something I have to work on but here we go. Jumping right into it I had a reasonably more tough time than average growing up. From the age of about 4 to 11, I was bullied pretty much every day by kids on my street 5-7 years older than me. Looking back it's quite silly but in hindsight, getting beat up or called names everyday probably took its toll on me. I have pretty strong memories of my childhood still and I remember being 5 telling the dad of one of the kids that his son was beating me up and his response was: 'Don't be a tattle-tale.' So, it was that kind of level that I was dealing with.

In school I had a relatively easy time, I wasn't bullied and would only have the odd confrontation about once a year. In terms of grades, I was usually top of the class which set my ambitions high. I wanted to go into Medicine or Pharmacy but my then Head of Sixth form sat me down and told me that it was never going to happen. This guy didn't really know me but he told me with such conviction that it really put me in a downer which stuck with me right through my sixth form life. Eventually I only proved him right by scraping CDE grades in Biology, Chemistry and Maths. Yikes.

At Kingston, with hard work, I earned my way onto the Pharmacy but it hasn't been smooth sailing. I had my fair share of pretty naff housemates including one where the abuse was so bad I wouldn't even sleep or cook food for months in fear of causing confrontation. That was a particularly bad year to which I'm still coming to terms with. But this year, living in halls for the first time my grades have managed to improve and I'm having a happier time in general.


What have you been up to?
So, since starting University, I've known that I'll need more than an empty degree if I want to have a successful career. At the start of Biochemistry, I was a guy who if put in front of a crowd of people would not be able to even spit-out a sentence. So, to challenge myself I made it a goal to improve this trait and became a course rep for my course. Reasonably quickly I felt my confidence grow and grow, until public speaking was something that would no longer give me a overwhelming anxiety attack. During pharmacy I knew the same was true; I needed to get myself out there and the BPSA seemed like the perfect opportunity to do that. I signed up to be a rep and right away my entire perspective on the world of pharmacy changed. Things that seemed so unreachable were suddenly probable. I saw more of the country by attending conferences and just met so many new friends in the UK and internationally that I wouldn't even know existed had I not become very active with the BPSA. I'm convinced that If I hadn't done this I would have unfortunately become one of the many pharmacists who sticks to their shop and doesn't interact with the outside world. So I highly recommend that you either become active with the BPSA or your university pharmsoc if you haven't already!

What Pharmacist Support is and what they do:

So, Pharmacist Support is a really beautiful charity that specifically looks after students, pharmacists and their families when times are tough either financially or mentally. Hearing about a lot of the work they've done really touches my heart. Nowadays, more than ever it's increasingly becoming difficult to deal with the stress and set-backs in our profession, so knowing a charity like Pharmacist Support is there for us really empowers us to push forward with our lives.

Why are you running?

Having been the 'fat kid' in school I've never traditionally been predisposed to running - especially long distance! But having trained for a Tough Mudder in the past for Ataxia UK, I now know that it is something that is entirely possible for me to achieve.

I was inspired to run a marathon by Aamer Safdar who raised £3000 for pharmacist support in the London Marathon. Being competitive by nature, I want to do the same and raise even more money. As well as losing weight and getting into the best shape of my life I know that I'll be giving back to the profession and the people the charity helps. And to me that's priceless.




This article was written by Sebastien Bailey


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