1. Planning is almost as important as the studying itself.
One of the biggest challenges for students entering pharmacy school is time management. Coming from undergrad, students are used to having exams every other week, with lower-yield material. In a professional program, the classes have much more content and test your knowledge of the material more frequently. To top it off, actually showing up to class is much more important.
With all of this factored in, Pharm.D. students have fewer 'free time' hours in the
day than they are used to. What I've learned over time is the importance of looking
ahead at my schedule - for the day, for the week, and for the month. Having a good
grip of what every day looks like while keeping up with future events is crucial to
staying up-to-date with the material. Though it takes me some time writing everything
out at the beginning of the week, I am so grateful every morning knowing exactly what
I have to do each day.
2. Get involved with as many different fields as possible, as early as possible.
Many students enter pharmacy school having no clue what they want to end up doing as a career, and even those who do often end up changing their minds throughout the curriculum. Joining organizations and attending meetings as much as possible helped me get a better grip on what each field of pharmacy looked like and if I thought it could be the right one for me.
Pharmacy is known to have a wide variety of avenues to follow as a career and opening
up your options early on allows you to explore a world of opportunities. As a third-year
student who is still experiencing new ways to practice as a pharmacist, I wish I had
set my sights wider at the start.
3. Find activities that provide an escape from academics.
Something I noticed early in my first professional year was the amount of burnout from focusing on pharmacy school all hours of every day. I wasn't making a conscious effort to give myself “me time” and I definitely saw the consequences after weeks of not having any breaks.
Picking up a hobby, such as guitar or knitting or even finding a comfort show to watch, and giving yourself a short period of time every couple of days gives your brain and body a much-needed break from school. It may seem silly or a waste of time in the moment, but your mental and physical state will thank you for providing balance!