I have finished the RA Graduate program, but doing the blog has forced me to step back and really re-evaluate the last two years and I have realized that there were a few key things that I learnt from the graduate program:
- You have no idea what you are capable of.
When I was chosen for the graduate program, I felt that whatever happened I would only be challlenged work wise, since I knew what it was like to be in a new place and make new friends and adapt to a different country. That was proven wrong in my 2nd rotation
I was alone, in Brighton, in winter, while my workplace was undergoing a restructure. I knew no one and the people at work were more concerned about their jobs (and rightfully so!) than starting up the new graduate. Also minor detail but I didn’t have a TV or working internet in my apt. But, through this experience I found a drive within myself that I would not have figured out otherwise, and I proactively volunteered to shadow all the clinical trial monitors in the department, even though it was not the most interesting thing to do every day, I looked at it as a learning experience. I learnt a lot about the different trials and products since I was accompanying any monitor willing to have me along :). I also signed up for social clubs in Brighton and eventually met a few fun people. My proactive shadowing became very useful in the last 2 months of the rotation when 2 of the monitors resigned, and since I was now ‘experienced’ I was asked to cover their trials. So I ended up getting real monitoring experience, but if I had not been proactive I may not have been granted that chance!
- Finding a job you love, figuring out what you like and don’t like…
Choosing a graduate program is a key indicator that you are not entirely sure what you would like to focus on in a career! However after 3 different rotations you learn a lot about what you like. This time to figure out what you really enjoy in a job is priceless, and maybe the greatest benefit of a program like this!
In my case, I realized that I would not enjoy a career as a clinical trial monitor. I also realized that while I enjoy regulatory affairs, I like more the coordination and LEANing of processes than navigating through guidelines. This was forged in my 2nd rotation in India where I was a project manager and set up a new process that is being used by all our regulatory submissions going forward. This rotation made me realiZE my ideal job after the graduate program. I am a Project Coordinator within Labeling Development and Launch, which is a department in Regulatory Operations. It is project based, and I have to coordinate with graphic designers, marketing, regulatory affairs and production, as well as affiliates, and many more. It is still new to me since I started at the beginning of the year, but every day brings some new challenges and something interesting to learn!
- A network..people you can also have fun with J
The network you build while in the program is one of its biggest advantages. You have your year of graduates, as well as the year before and after you, and then the colleagues from the different departments just as a start. However while this network is a great work asset, it also helps you find a social group when you move to Denmark. Most of the graduates have a lot of business dinners and team events within their program and also tend to spend a lot of time together outside of work.
Within the RA graduate program, we have had many dinners and a few team building events and have experienced multiple seminars and conferences. I guess we are lucky we all liked each other, cause we did end up spending a lot of time together! :)
I posted just a few pictures of our fun times in the graduate program. It has been an incredible journey and I have learnt and experienced more than I could have imagined when i was writing my application.
If you haven’t applied as yet, the deadline is soon! Remember to highlight why you are interested in RA in your cover letter and what separates you from the other applicants, keep it interesting and let us see what you are passionate about!
Good luck with the applications!!!