When I first stated pharmacy school, I had no idea what I would be getting into. I knew that I would be learning how to take care of patients, what every drug was used for, and how to be an important aspect of the healthcare team. But I had no idea of all of the other lessons that I would learn along the journey. In this blog post, I hope to convey some of the skills and lessons I’ve learned during my first year of pharmacy school. Hopefully, this will give you some insight on what it’s like being a pharmacy student.
Related Reading: 5 Lessons My First Year Of Law School Taught Me
Your Teachers Do Care
One of the greatest things about being a student is getting to know your professors. My first year in pharmacy school was a tough roller coaster because I had to re-learn how to study and how to study more effectively. I was able to utilize my professors as a resource by going to their office hours and asking questions in class to increase the amount of material I remembered. I’ve learned throughout my college career that your professors really do care about you and want to do whatever it takes to make sure that you pass respectfully.
How Do You Go About Asking For Help?
A simple email asking to speak to the professor about the exam questions, some questions you had on the course material, or just ask for some guidance on how to study the material. You’ll be surprised by their answers, but each of your professors have gone through a similar rigorous program to get to their degrees.
Your Teachers Are A Great Network To Have
In pharmacy school, the students get the opportunity to learn from the greatest professors in their field from practicing pharmacists to Ph.D. professors who do research for the college. All of them have their own sets of networks that they’ve created that students have the opportunity to tap into.
Just asking some prodding questions to your professors could allow you to find an interesting fact about them that interests you. Some of your professors might know people who are doing clinical trials at a big manufacturing firm in Washington, D.C., but you would never know that if you didn’t ask a prodding question or show interest in that field.
Plus, the best part is that your professors want you to succeed in your career and most are more than willing to help you along your journey to your final destination.
Studying Is Different In A More Aggressive Program
Some students can simply read over the material once or twice the night before the exam and still receive a great grade on the exam. Well I promise you in pharmacy school, you won’t be able to do that anymore, and you don’t want to. The material that you are going to be learning is information that you’ll need to know and understand when you begin to practice and work with real patients, instead of the imaginary ones in class. Now you might have to write down your notes, watch educational YouTube videos, or maybe study in a group in the library at midnight. You’ll just have to figure out what works best for you with trial and error throughout the program.
Here are some ways that you can study in pharmacy school:
- Make flashcards through Quizlet and test yourself
- Make practice exams to take that are similar to your teacher's teaching style
- Study at the library in the quiet room
- Study at a local coffee shop or at Starbucks
- Rewrite your notes in a more simplified format that makes sense to you
- Take great notes during class
- Review your notes directly after class or on the same day of the class
- Wake up early in the morning to look over previous notes or the notes of the day
- Study in a group where you get to ask questions and work together
- Create a funny song that helps you remember the testing material
- Create a flowchart that contains all of the information for the test
It’s Better To Overestimate Than To Underestimate
The worst thing that you can do in pharmacy school is to underestimate the material or classwork that you’ll have to do. It’s definitely better to come overprepared than underprepared. So, take your time and learn how to prioritize your tasks so that you always have enough time to come prepared to class, whether it be for an exam or for the questions asked in class. It’s very similar to coming overprepared for an interview than coming underprepared.
So how do you come prepared to class at all times?
- Review your notes the night before the class period
- Keep a document of any questions that you might have to ask the professor during class
- Rewrite any of your notes that are hard to read in your notebook or print outs
- Print out your notes or save your notes on your computer before class starts
Who You Know Matters From Here On Out
I briefly mentioned how your professors have amazing connections all around the world in all different fields of pharmacy that you could tap into. Pharmacy is such a small community that basically everyone knows everyone, and if you don’t know someone, more than likely someone that you do know knows that person. That’s how small the pharmacy field is, but that’s not totally a bad thing either. The great part about building a strong network in pharmacy school is that you’ll be recommended for great opportunities just because of the people that you know who can vouch for you.
The best tip that I can give you about networking is to talk to everyone that you see and make a great first impression. You can even go to pharmacy-related conferences or meetings in your area to connect with others in your field. Pharmacists or pharmacy officials love seeing students getting involved in their field and making an effort to make a difference. That doesn’t mean that you have to find a cure for cancer, but just getting involved is the best way to network. You’re going to meet some great, important people in the field of pharmacy, and I promise that they’ll remember you for years to come.
Hey, I’m Makaela Premont, a lifestyle and college blogger over at Uniquely Mickie. I’m also a current pharmacy student at the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy. When I’m not studying drugs and discussing therapy options with doctors, I love reading, swimming, hanging out with friends, and being in front of a camera.
Click here to get access to the FREE pharmacy school interview workbook, in which I give some practice questions to get you ready to kill your entrance interview!