My journey to pharmacy school was unlike most. Pursuing anything in the health care field was pretty far off my radar for most of my life.
I grew up on the Jersey Shore and spent my days playing sports, hanging out with friends and going to the beach. Ever since I was a little kid, I knew I was going to be a teacher – It ran in my family. If you can believe it, not only was my mother my high school assistant principal, but her father was her middle school principal too. And yes, this was all in the same school district that my mom and her sisters went to, that I went to, and that my brother is still enrolled in. It only made sense that I would do the same.
The tables began to turn during my freshman year of high school, when my honors biology class became my obsession. This was the first time I was exposed to things like cellular respiration and DNA replication; complex concepts that aren't clear to the naked eye. What most students found boring, intangible or outright confusing, I saw as fascinating. I was always wanting to learn more.
College applications rolled around and I struggled to declare a major. My ambitions of being a teacher were replaced with a desire to one day wear a white coat, have patients of my own and make a difference in people’s health. After a lot of battling, I decided to pursue biochemistry and applied to seven universities.
Seven acceptance letters later, my next challenge was to pick where I'd make my home. It wasn’t until I heard about the GPA program that I knew USC was right for me. (I won’t lie – South Carolina was not initially my first choice. My mom went to that other university upstate, so I had odds against me from that side of the family.)
Back when I was filling out my application to South Carolina, I indicated a potential interest in “pre-pharmacy," among other things. This one decision has changed the trajectory of my life forever.
As I blaze my own trail through the world of pharmacy, ... [I] look forward to my future, with the entire Gamecock Pharmacy family cheering me on.
I received an email from the College of Pharmacy encouraging me to apply to the GPA program, which sent me into a whirlwind of emotions. The perks of the GPA program were undeniable, and in April 2020, I committed to USC and changed my major to pharmaceutical sciences.
I tell this story because navigating the future and the unknown is often stressful. My once clear path to becoming an educator drastically changed during an emotional time in my life. I realized that much of my stress was not about letting go of that dream of teaching, but was instead about jumping into a world I knew nothing about.
Unlike some of my classmates, my aunt isn’t a doctor, I don’t have a sibling who could explain organic chemistry to me, and I certainly don’t have any relatives who are pharmacists. This previously daunting reality has changed into something I am proud of. As I blaze my own trail through the world of pharmacy, I'm grateful for my past and look forward to my future, with the entire Gamecock Pharmacy family cheering me on.