Things I Wish I Knew Before Pharmacy School

gravenoStudent Diplomat Molly Graveno talks about some things she’s learned along the way as a student in the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy.

  1. The transition to college is hard.

Okay so this one–you probably have heard this one before–but it is so true. Regardless of how far away from home you are, or how often you see your family, it is still a big adjustment. What I have learned is that even though you may struggle with the transition, that’s okay! Everyone else is too, and there are a lot of resources to help you.

  1. Not all of your friends have to be pharmacy majors.

When I participated in orientation I was always looking for other pharmacy majors because I knew we would have a lot of classes together. I am really glad that I made those friends because we are still friends to this day. However, that does not in any way diminish the other friends that I have made. My closest group of friends are not pharmacy majors, and this actually works out well for us because we talk about things other than our classes or the next exam coming up. Basically, make as many friends as you can but don’t force friendships with pharmacy majors for the sole reason that you have the same major.

  1. Don’t try to do everything yourself.

I have always liked to be independent for the most part, but there is no shame in asking for help. In fact, it makes life go a lot smoother. Freshman year we had online assignments due every few days and I would always forget about them until the last minute. Once my roommate and I started reminding each other of when they were due, we never had to cram them all in right before the deadline. Now that I am in a few leadership positions, I have realized that it is extremely important to delegate responsibilities. The worst thing you can do is get overwhelmed and let your schoolwork suffer.

  1. You don’t have to be a professional phase student to join the pharmacy organizations.

It seems very daunting to join a club that is only made up of people two to four years older than you, but trust me, it will be worth it. Getting involved in organizations early opens up a lot of doors for leadership opportunities, and it looks good on your résumé if you were in a club for five years instead of two2. With so many clubs to choose from, joining one shouldn’t be too hard.

  1. You (probably) won’t be at the top of your class anymore.

Pharmacy school and college in general is really hard, and everyone here was at the top of their class in high school. My biggest struggle in my first of professional phase was not getting the grades that I did in high school. While I am still working on accepting that I do not need to get all A’s (or all B’s…), it is really important for everyone to know that even if you are struggling that you should not get down on yourself. Duquesne has accepted you into the pharmacy program for a reason, and if you keep working hard you can succeed. You might not graduate with a 4.0, but that’s okay. Just because you may have failed an exam or two does not mean that you will not make a fantastic pharmacist.

  1. You need to buy an iPad.

This may be news to some people, but once you enter the professional phase of the program you are required to have an iPad. It is a new technology requirement this year, and while it is an expensive purchase, it is actually my favorite thing in the world. I use my iPad every day to take notes, watch Netflix, shop online and play games. I love taking notes on my iPad using the Notability App, because I no longer have to carry around multiple binders and notebooks. I have everything in one place and it is extremely convenient!

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