I am not a morning person. That is a very random statement. However, hopefully by now you know (if you read regularly, if not shame on you) that I am a very random person. Hold on to my lack of morning luster. To the Pharm D. graduates of 2020 this post today is for you.
Dear Future Pharm D. graduates of 2020:
I am penning this open letter to you in efforts to offer non-solicited advice that I feel you may all so desperately need. At this point in your career you have just gotten your letters of acceptance and you are eagerly awaiting to began your matriculation as a Pharm D. Candidate. My first bit of advice is to not be too eager. Enjoy your summer, it is the last summer you will have for a while. Seriously, take this opportunity to spend time with family and friends. Enjoy freedom as from August forth you won't experience very much of it.
Pharmacy is not what it use to be. The pharmacy market is toning up and is much more competitive than previously. The work environments are questionable and the pay is GREAT. However, unless you are on scholarship the debt you graduate with will be even GREATER. Pharmacy is really not all that great to be frank. In the sense-You could do a million other things in life and make a decent living, with little debt and be very happy. The point. Don't do this for the money. I recently completed my exit counseling and found that as of May 8, 2016 I am the brand new owner of $218,000.00 worth of student loans. Was I freaked out? Ugh, yeah. However, as of May 8, 2016 I will be able to help people in ways I never have been before. In short, I'm Happy.
Excitement- The excitement you will feel during your first week of orientation, write it down, take a picture of it, do whatever you need to do to capture that feeling. Then greet pharmacy school each day with that same excitement in your eyes. Each question, obstacle, struggle, late night study session, early morning exam, and impossible professor-meet all with that same excitment. The way you will feel the moment you are donned with a white coat (At this moment you will feel pretty official). -Funny story, the day I recieved my white coat I walked around the mall for hours with my coat on, begging to be asked a question that probably til this day I may be too afraid to answer. That same coat brought me great feelings of delight to throw away. Which leads me to pride.
Pride- Take pride in your profession. I certainly do. Be creative and innovative. Meet problems with your eyes wide open- for a solution. There are probably thousands of pharmacists who don't want to be pharmacists. You may meet a few of them on your journey. Never let them dim the light that so brightly shines inside you. This is your career. You make as much of it as you want, or as little it's your choice. But pharmacy needs trailblazers, pharmacists who are unafraid to make changes, and push the enevolope. We have enough bench warmers-literally.
Confidence- I believe that our confidence is tied to our faith. If you have studied and put forth honest efforts to master material. The information is there, there may be challenges in the translation of the information. But make no mistake it's there. You have to develop that confidence in yourself. That is, have faith that what you know, you honestly do really know. I still struggle with this and I amaze myself every time. Like "Oh, I actually do know this." -Funny story. A man walks into the pharmacy and confidently says to me " I need the nonsedating bendadryl- come show me where it is" I thought to myself "am I tripping.Nonsedating benadryl?" Confidence.Get it!
Honesty-There will be many times where the opportunity will present itself to be dishonest. Don't. Because if you will lie, you will cheat, and if you will cheat, then you will steal. And then well, it's just a slippery down hill slope that you don't have to ride.
Deliver Yourself From People- Know matter how old you are in pharmacy school you can become lost. This experience is so freaking brand new. You'll have hopes, fears, and dreams and the first thing you may want to do is align yourself with people who share these exact feelings. I met someone who I aligned myself with very early in my pharmacy career. I had to deliver myself from that person. They constantly suppressed my ideas and fed me a lot of negativity- a person I called a friend. Sure we had great times. However, they introduced a lot of unnecessary conflict into my life. I shared things with them, only for them to call me crazy and later do the very things I said. Needless to say we are not "friends" anymore, if we ever were. The point I want to make is always keep your eye on the prize. Friendships are a pleasure, not a need.
Gratitude-While in pharmacy school you will have no probably identifying problems, whether it be with your school, your classmates, or even yourself. Don't make this process harder than it needs to be. Stay focused on the positive as much as possible. Keep a gratitude list if you must. Be thankful for each opportunity to present and each opportunity to sit for an exam. Because the fact of the matter is you applied for this opportunity and it was granted. I'm sure there are several people who weren't granted the opportunity who would be more than happy to experience the struggle.
Professionalism-Pharmacy is a profession, which requires the individuals apart of it to exhibit professionalism. To be honest, this was actually a hard concept for me to grasp. Professionalism is not the way you act at work, its your whole life. After four long years, someone will call you Doctor. That entails a lot. There is even some social responsibility attached. The way you dress, the way you speak, the way you handle situations, and even your attitude should all be appropriate. Wearing a bathing suit to the beach is appropriate and yelling at a basketball game is also very appropriate. Wearing a bathing suit to a restuarant and yelling at a customer at work are inappropriate. There should be a level of distinction in the way you conduct yourself and that starts now. Then once you graduate never sign your name Dr. John Doe, Pharm. D. Its either Dr. John Doe or John Doe Pharm. D.
Take what you need and leave what you don't or even suggest it to someone who could benefit from it.
With much respect and love from one fellow pharmacist to another,
Dr. Charity Strothers