The Research Assistant Experience

After graduation, most of our college's graduates go through this RA phase. I think this is partly due to the inconvenient timeline from our graduation to licensure examinations - see, we graduate on June. And the pharmacy board exams are either on August or March. Most people don't take the August exams because they feel underprepared (two months, more or less), and considering we still have 360 hours of internship after graduation + boards review, March seems like the best schedule.

Which leaves us with nine /supposedly productive/ months.

So most people (me included) jump onto a research assistant opportunity. It's more like a glorified utusan HAHAHA but to be honest, if you pick the right project with the right people, you can really learn a lot. In my experience, it was a good transition from being a graduate into being actually part of the workforce, albeit for a period only and in an informal manner. And the project was something I was passionate about; I've had several epiphanies, so I'm really grateful I became part of this.

I was part of this antimicrobial stewardship project with Ma'am Chai, one of my former professors in CP. Segue: Here's a briefer on what antimicrobial stewardship is! #spreadingtheword

We had to put this advocacy (particularly the antibiotic deescalation) into the working system we have. It allowed us an analysis of our health care system in general, which I really am grateful for because this was not taught in any of our subjects.

I also came to realize the kind of privilege I was enjoying. Being part of a family that's middle class who can afford to have private health insurance (as a dependent of my mom), I never understood how much out-of-pocket money people are spending for their health and the processes they'd have to undergo or other options they have, if any, in case they can't afford it.

Let's put the cat out of the bag - the system has its flaws. The need for more manpower, resources, streamlining of duties, alongside the usual power-playing and politics.. well, these get in the way of progress for better health care. But the good thing is I've met people, young and old, who recognize all these and plan to shake things up if given the chance. They're there. They need a ripe time, and/or a leadership that would support these ideals.

It also made me wonder - what do I do? This was my dream. Be a part of the public health landscape. But seeing every side this job entails, both pretty and ugly faces of it, I don't think I'm ready for it. I am a UP graduate; it feels like after graduation it's embedded in us to be agents of change, make this world a better place, etc etc. All these ideals planted in our heads and hearts, waiting to be put into action.. but then reality slaps. I think, if I want to make significant change, it would probably take a lifetime or more to do so.

So for me - being the ideal person that I am - engaging in the public health field (particularly in the government) is a commitment. A lifetime commitment.

Do I want to invest my whole life for that, or help in some other way?

I've had this question so many times that my co-RA, Paolo, suggested I make PH the last gear to my plan. I have to find and build the necessary skills, connections, etc first. (You have no idea kung ilang beses akong nasabon sa trabahong ito haha) So when I come into this landscape, I'll be prepared with the right character and skills. Which doesn't sound like a bad plan, by the way, so it's what I'm banking on for now. Plus, I never know what opportunities lie after boards. I say let the chips fall where they may, because I am losing my shit just thinking about the uncertain future, so winging it seems the best way to fend off the anxiety. Kung ano na lang dumating.

This is pretty much just me purging my thoughts. Did you know HAHAHAHAHA I actually broke down once and furiously wrote at my journal. It was a letter to the 30-year-old me, telling my future self that I'm scared of what I might turn out to be. It sounded like I was begging that I remain faithful to my values and principles, no matter what happens.

Anyway, I had a little fun on the side too while doing work :) I went on three different itineraries for our interviews: Negros Occidental-Iloilo, Pampanga-Bulacan, and Taguig-Muntinlupa. These were taken while in Bacolod and Iloilo!

The beautiful Ruins. This is my second time to be in Bacolod, and after six years I'm back again. Still as beautiful, though I appreciate it now more because last time we visited in the morning. The Golden Hour makes everything more magical, no?

Had my first macarons at Calea's! Had some cake too, which I took back to the hotel and ate there while watching movies hahaha

These are all taken in Iloilo. Carlito's is the pasalubong place we went to before going back to Manila.

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Grateful because I get to travel a lot this year, and while working too. My perspective regarding health care system realities are also widened. :) Here's to hoping for more realizations and solutions! May everyone get the service they deserve.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017
@ 11:16