Posted Thursday 17 August 2023
When Kainath Malik received her A-level results, she realised the course she had applied for wasn't the right one for her. A call to the Kingston University Clearing hotline settled her nerves, and two years on, she is now looking forward to helping others applicants in similar positions as a hotline operator.
Having originally applied to study a degree in biomedical science, the feeling the then-18 year old had when she opened her results confirmed that her heart wasn't in her original choice.
"I was already unsure whether biomedical science was what I really wanted to do and when I received my results confirming my place, I found myself second guessing my decision even more," she said. "I knew I wanted to do something that involved interacting with people and being hands-on with the drug-making process and there was a course I had looked at that I realised suited my ambitions more."
Ahead of A-level results day, Kainath had been researching other possible options and had come across pharmacy. Deciding it offered a pathway into what she wanted out of a career, she called up the Clearing hotline at Kingston University to ask about the pharmacy foundation course.
"I was so scared after having declined my original offer, I felt like my whole future was now in the hands of the Clearing process," she said. "When I called the hotline I was immediately put at ease by the hotline operators and during my interview I spoke to Dr Mariko Kishi who ended up teaching me. She talked me through the two year foundation pharmacy course and reassured me it would give me the required knowledge to progress on to the MPharm course."
This year Kainath is on the other end of the phone line, working as a Clearing hotline operator at Kingston University for the second year running. "What I like most about working on the hotline is being able to offer reassurance to people. Having gone through the process myself, I can understand all the emotions they are feeling and empathise with what they are going through," she said.
The 20 year old from Walthamstow said the three simple words of advice she would share for students going through Clearing this year were to trust the process. "Those working on the hotline will do everything they can to help. If an applicant finds they do not qualify for the course they want or there are no spaces left, there are similar courses they can apply for and, like with my own experience, it may end up being a course they are more suited to."
Doing thorough research ahead of calling the hotline was something Kainath highly recommended to those thinking of applying through Clearing. "I'd advise applicants to find out what the course they're interested in entails so that if that one is no longer an option, they can explain to the person on the phone what aspects of it were most interesting in so they can help find a solution," she added.
Kainath has now finished her two year foundation course and is progressing on to the MPharm course this September, while also working part-time one day a week in a community pharmacy. "As well as being able to help others who are going through what I did on A-level results day, working on the Clearing hotline last year really helped develop my communication skills and confidence which has proven hugely valuable when it comes to supporting patients at the pharmacy practice," she said.