June was near, Mumbai had soaring cases of the Coronavirus. We had all returned to our homes from the campus before it was formally informed and we still had hope, I knew we weren’t going to Mumbai for the internship, it had to be virtual. Tickets were canceled, we were virtually heartbroken and the next thing we realized was to somehow manage a laptop and a network connection in my half-built house under construction.
GSK Pharmaceuticals Mumbai was a dream! The first company for an internship at NIPER S.A.S. Nagar for MBA(Pharm), I knew it was my call and it didn’t happen to me, I made it happen. All this time since my selection I have dedicated myself to ‘Mission GSK’ but now it all seems not aligned.
I borrowed an old laptop from my uncle good enough, planned WiFi lines across the half build walls, and set up a small separate corner in the house for virtual meetings. I was apprehensive, I did not want it to be a constraint and was extra careful each time. It was always an hour of preparation in the setup before any meeting.
The onboarding was seamless, I was exhilarated to get a project in Modern Trade Channels. Exciting, challenging, and innovative. I loved working on the project from the very start. It was my first experience of being a part of an organization. Getting my own email and login ID to the GSK platform, access to courses, a plethora of reading material, and an extremely supportive and encouraging mentor, I was living my dream.
I resonated so well with GSK as an organization I was sure that this is where I want to work, contribute, make a difference! Getting a PPI was next on the list. My mid internship review went on really well, I had planned my project conscientiously and was much on track with the timeline but then suddenly things fell out for me.
My father tested COVID-19 positive and he had to be immediately hospitalized. Everything had turned upside down for us, it was an excruciating time for us as a family. We couldn’t see him and often talked to him after days on call, I visited the hospital every day to discuss the situation with the doctors along with my uncle. It was a sleepless one month after that.
I started managing my internship work during nights, I didn’t tell anyone my situation there emotionally. The person I am didn’t allow me to. My best friend and family held up my morale. Each day was a challenge but I gave my best, never missing a deadline or submission and equally managing the hospital visits and insurance work.
By the last week of July, my father’s health started improving a lot and he was on a path to recovery, my final internship presentation date had also been scheduled by then and there were just a few things left, my recommendation for the PPI was to be decided on it. On the final presentation day, my mother sat across the adjacent room praying throughout my presentation.
I was confident of the work I had done, I had completed it with all my heart and sincerity. When the presentation was finally completed it was to my delight and satisfaction very much appreciated and admired. My mentor was proud of me.
The next week was the result and I cannot explain the feeling when I learned I got through, I immediately called and told my father on the call, he was very happy and proud. The subsequent week, he tested negative for COVID and returned home. I went for the PPI and further processes, and ultimately bagged a PPO in the company of my dreams.
I have never let out my story to anyone anytime since then, thanks again to my best friend who has insisted I share my experience here. There are a few things I feel I must emphasize that I learned through this journey as I end. Firstly, be courageous. No matter what just work with all that is in your hands and let go of what you can’t control. Secondly, be agile. Whether it’s for your learning or situations in life, adapting is what can help you. Lastly and most importantly, always hold on to your family and friends because these are the anchors in your life that will make you traverse all storms.
Ashi Siddiqui, MBA (Pharmaceutical Management), National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, SAS Nager (Mohali), Punjab—160062, India | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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