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Case Study

Natalia Lara-Nesbitt: Taking The Next Step to Becoming a Pharmacist

We caught up with Pharmacy student Natalia to chat about her time at studying at Belfast Met as a mature student with a young family, why she chose Belfast Met and her ambitions for the future.

Why did you decide to study Pharmacy/ the Level 3 Diploma for Pharmacy Technicians at Belfast Met?

I have worked in a pharmacy for years and am interested in taking the next step to become a pharmacist. It's an interesting job where you can help people and do quite a bit of science at the same time, which appeals to me.

How has your life changed since beginning your study?
It's definitely busier! As a mature student with a young family, I've had a lot of friends asking "But where do you find the time?" and they're right, it's been a challenge, but I have had amazing support from my family and teachers at the college alike, and I'm so glad I'm doing this.

What has been your biggest achievement to date on your course?
Definitely getting a grip on chemistry. I had done my GCSEs back in 2005 so had forgotten most of it, and joined the course about a month after it had started. I remember coming in to my first chemistry class and the teacher kindly telling me they were sitting a class test but that I didn't need to worry about it, and to just take the questions home and have a read through. I sat in the class with the paper in front of me and I could have died - it would not be stretching the truth at all to say I could not have answered a single question on that paper. I felt like the biggest fraud and that there was no way I could ever catch up. I went home that day, had a little cry, pulled myself together, and decided I was going to be a pharmacist, no matter how hard it seemed. From then on, I attended every class, went to the library every chance I got, and tortured my poor lecturers with questions and asking for practice papers. In May, I sat my AS Chemistry exam and I am extremely proud to say I got an A. Now on to the A2 this year!

What are your future goals and aspirations?
To study MPharm in university and become a pharmacist.

Why would you tell a prospective student to study at Belfast Met?
It can get tough at times but it is absolutely worth it. The lecturers are so helpful and truly want you to pass. The college itself has really good resources and the libraries are well equipped and the staff is really friendly. I would definitely recommend the Met!

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