MANILA—After topping the November 2021 pharmacist licensure examination, Nicola Christine Rivera of University of the Philippines in Manila shared some advice to aspirants in her field as they prepare for the board exams.
“As early as now, build a healthy mindset. Kasi ang kalaban mo sa board exam mostly is fear and anxiety. ’Yun ay ’yung takot ka mag-take kasi nakakatakot bumagsak,” Rivera said.
(As early as now, build a healthy mindset. Because the enemy is your fear and anxiety, the fear of taking the exam because you’re afraid to fail.)
“Hindi mo pa nalalaman na kaya mo naman pala, pero kaya mo naman talaga. You just have to enter the room and take the exam.
(You may not know that you can do it, but you really can do it.)
“For future pharmacists, everything you do is for your future patients and for the practice of pharmacy profession here in the Philippines and abroad.”
Rivera said she was first eyeing a career in engineering, but her mother convinced her and her sisters to pursue professions in the medical field.
“(Being a pharmacist) isn’t my first dream. Nu’ng first year gusto ko nang mag-shift kasi hindi ko alam kung gusto ko,” she said.
(Being a pharmacist is not my first dream. When I was in my first year, I wanted to shift to another course because I didn’t know if I wanted it.)
But the experiences from her third and fourth years in college helped her settle in her career path.
“Pharmacy as a profession, it is a very diverse and versatile career. Masyado siyang maraming opportunities for direct and indirect interactions . . . Kasi mahaba ’yung process ng drug discovery and development, up to provisions ng medications to patients.”
(Pharmacy as a profession is a very diverse and versatile career. It has so many opportunities for direct and indirect interactions . . . Because the process of drug discovery and development, up to provisions of medications to patients, is lengthy.)
Rivera — who got a rating of 93.90 percent, best among the 1,207 who passed — said it was her friends who found out about the good news first.
“It was overwhelming, pero hindi ko siya mapaniwalaan kasi hindi ko siya nakikita,” she said, adding she wasn’t expecting to top the exams as she wasn’t confident in her scores after she took the test.
(It was overwhelming, but I couldn’t believe it because I couldn’t see the results yet.)
She also shared that taking board exams was different in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ngayon kasi, during the pandemic, there’s additional fear and anxiety for your personal safety na mag-positive ka few days before exam, or may mangyari sa loved ones mo,” Rivera said.
(During the pandemic, there’s additional fear and anxiety for your personal safety, that you might test positive a few days before exam, or something might happen to your loved ones.)
Encouraging all exam takers, she said: "They should not beat themselves up, and don't let failures define their hard work."
Rivera finished BS Industrial Pharmacy at UP Manila in 2019.
The results were released on Friday night by the Professional Regulation Commission, with 1,207 out of 2,371 passing. UP Manila was the top performing school with a 98.18 percent passing rating.
UP Manila graduates also led the 2021 physician board examination in October.
The November 2021 pharmacist licensure examination results can be accessed here.