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Late last year I received the following email from a 2nd year student that I had taught extensively in a 1st year Pharmacy unit in 2019, and more recently in a 2nd year in 2020.

I wanted to share this de-identified email with you because I believe that it is emails such as this which make it all worthwhile This email represents a win!

I remember talking to this student in 1st year when she was despondent, crying and being very hard on herself.  I shared stories about how some of her lecturers and her current Dean had failed units or an entire year during their Pharmacy journey and they still did extremely well in their careers, as well as life in general.  I talked to her about reflecting on her experience and what she’s learnt and also thinking about what she could do to improve the situation.  Reframing negative thoughts is key!

“I’m in second year pharmacy. You may remember me as …., who was in your applied coaching group from 2 years ago

2 years ago, I failed two of my first year units and had to repeat them. I was quite disappointed in myself and felt embarrassed since it was the first time that I ever failed in something this big.

But during the early warning meeting, I remember that you encouraged me with your own stories, told me that I shouldn’t categorise myself as a slow learner and that it’s better to fail early than later in life. These words were very reassuring to me whenever I doubt myself and motivated me to do better in the future.

This morning, I received my results with High Distinctions for the first time. I got HD for all 3 units and a high score of 90 with Comprehensive Care III which was the unit that you taught.

I just wanted to say thank you for being so supportive and that you really inspired me to be optimistic even in the lower end and to do well in my studies.

It was a pity that I only got to meet you online during COVID this year, but hopefully I can have more chance to meet you in person when we’re back on campus.

All the best and have safe break”

Acknowledgment – Betty Extintaris

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