The importance of student activities
Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2015
What inspired you to become a pharmacist?
I grew up in a pharmacy. My mother was a pharmacy technician/bookkeeper/store manager of an independent pharmacy in my home town. My brother began working as the cashier of the pharmacy when he was fourteen and I followed four years later. He became a technician at eighteen and started pharmacy school two years later. I, too, became a technician when I was eighteen, and working over the summers and breaks with my brother solidified my interest in pharmacy. He taught me the basics and some of the fundamentals he was learning in school. I had never seen him with so much passion and enthusiasm as he had with pharmacy, and his effort to be the best pharmacist he could has been inspirational. Seeing him successful now and the love he possesses for his career and helping patients has been my inspiration to become a pharmacist.
Why did you want to attend the UW School of Pharmacy?
My brother, bosses, and other pharmacists who I have worked with are UW School of Pharmacy alumni. These people have been heroes in my life in various ways and portray the type of successful, well-rounded pharmacist I envision I would like to become.
The importance of student activities
The things I have learned while participating in student activities are endless, but the top three I believe to be most valuable include leadership skills, communication, and responsibility. These three qualities have improved through my participation in student organizations, and I have learned that possessing these qualities will make me a competitive candidate in the residency/job market as well as greatly benefit my pharmacy career.
About trips to conferences, meetings, and/or presentations
I have attended one regional meeting and two national meetings, and all three have offered great insights, most specifically, into being a successful leader and vital asset of a health care team. They have also been great networking opportunities and travel experiences.
About the School
I believe the smaller class sizes are a great privilege for the students at our School of Pharmacy for numerous reasons. Teachers are very approachable, know almost all students by name, and are able to spend enough time with individual students if they are struggling. The smaller class size also allows more students to work in labs or participate in research opportunities, as well as build relationships that can be expressed in letters of recommendation. Because of smaller class sizes, I personally have been able to hold more leadership roles, attend more conferences, and participate in more activities and events, which all have strengthened my qualities, CV, and what I will be able to offer as a pharmacist.
What would you have done differently while at UW?
One thing I would have done differently is not worked during the school year, or at least not as much. I was fortunate enough to come into pharmacy school with work experience as a technician for two years. And I do believe that it is great to be able to apply what I am learning at school to real life situations in order to solidify concepts, but because I worked so much during the school year, I was unable to participate in some of the things I would have liked to. My first year and a half of pharmacy school was strictly focused on school work and work as an intern. I am involved in quite a few organizations, both associated with the School of Pharmacy and the university in general. I was unable to participate in some activities because of work, and beyond that, I have had to cut out some of the hobbies I enjoy most in life. If I could redo it, I would work only during the summer or on breaks and keep the school year focused on organizations and more of the free time hobbies to help relax and de-stress.
What would you have liked to know from a student’s perspective before you applied to pharmacy school?
I actually do not think there is anything I would have liked to know before applying to pharmacy school. You hear about the cost, the work, effort and time, the possibilities, opportunities and benefits after graduating, and I believe that what you don’t know are the things that you learn along the way that help build and shape you as a person as well as future career. Failing or learning things the hard way are sometimes the most beneficial way to learn things.
Advice for prospective students considering the UW School of Pharmacy
Be prepared to immerse yourself into a life-long learning and dynamic career. If you do not grasp the ever-changing and challenging pharmacy life-style, you will not be successful. If you have big dreams in pharmacy, start early to make yourself a competitive candidate. Don’t lose yourself in order to give everything you have to pharmacy – find a balance and make pharmacy fit into the niches and you will be successful while loving your everyday life.
I would like to one day own or work in an independent community compounding pharmacy. I believe one of the biggest areas we as pharmacists can improve patient outcomes is adherence. If patients receive individualized medication along with the appropriate amount of pharmacists’ time focused on their health, patient adherence would improve. I see myself most successfully achieving this through practicing in an independent community compounding pharmacy.