By: SlanixPaul T. Alex, Pharm.D. Candidate c/o 2014
Progressing into one’s fourth year of college is usually a time of mixed emotions for the average college student. A melting pot of excitement and a sense of accomplishment at the thought of finally graduating after four years of hard work combined with a tinge of sadness at the thought of having to say goodbye to a place full of memories, topped off with a dash of anxiousness over the challenges that await. Entering into the fourth year of college as a pharmacy student only meant one thing to me at the time: I had two more years of school to complete. As you could have imagined, my emotional melting pot consisted mostly of anticipation and panic with very little, if any, exhilaration or relief.
Nonetheless, I was determined to make the most of it. I was ready to take on the battering ram (my therapeutics course[s]) with courage and vigor, and meet it head on at the front lines, which, in this metaphor, was the fourth floor of the library. I vaguely remember the sleepless nights spent in my newfound second home, trying to find the brain capacity to cram in those last minute clinical fun facts right before every exam. The task seemed more daunting every time, even as I became more comfortable with my daily routine, and my body became more and more accustomed to the lack of certain luxuries, such as a full-night’s sleep and routine meals. But looking back, it wasn’t the self-deprivation of basic human needs the helped me get through fourth year, but rather the few moments that I was able to find here and there to just sit back and relax, and to be with the people that were going through the very same struggles as I.
Elder students have always advised me from the beginning of my college journey that (paraphrased) “it is not the grade on any particular test that you will remember (when looking back on your college experiences), but rather those memories formed and shared with the people who you meet and develop life-long, meaningful relationships with. These people will most definitely have a lasting impact on you, as they help mold and shape you into a mature adult ready to take on the challenges of the real world after graduation. These people will also serve as the glue to help keep you from falling apart, even in your most nerve-wracking moments.” This circle of friends made my most recent year of school, and college in general, not only bearable, but also an exciting time in my life where I learned a lot about myself as well as whom I want to become. Whether they know it or not, each one of them has left a lasting impression on me.
If I had to give one piece of advice to a younger pharmacy student, it would be to make your pharmacy school experience more than simply about academics. Take a leap of faith, demolish that mental fortress that you have put up over the years, and reach out and connect with others. You may get hurt every once in a while, but those moments of shared happiness make it all worthwhile. In addition, while you may not do so well on a test, in the end, it is those memories of shared happiness that you will cherish and look back upon fondly.