MPA | Pharmacy News

The Balancing Act of Pharmacy School

Posted on August 15, 2017 in: Member News

By Briana Harris, Pharm.D. candidate 2018, Ferris State University College of Pharmacy

New beginnings normally bring new responsibilities and ways of life. That is exactly how I felt entering my first year of pharmacy school. I remember starting my P1 year ready and devoted to furthering my education. It was all I could think about. I was nervous, excited, ambitious and ready to focus on obtaining my Pharm.D. Although these dramatically different emotions were running through me, all I could think about was how to be a successful pharmacist at the finish line.

I began my pharmacy career completely devoted to my curriculum. Being a type-A person (as many of us are), I naturally focused on my grades. Whether it was a grade on an exam or a daily assignment, I made sure to be well-prepared. This behavioral trend stayed consistent for a while until the nerves died down, and I found myself exhausted. I noticed I did not feel the same ambition I once had at the start of the school year. I remember being in a state of confusion as I knew my goals and determination to become a successful pharmacist remained very important to me.

It was then I realized I could not remember the last time I read a book for pleasure or went on a stress-relieving run, two of my most enjoyed hobbies. Right then and there, I dropped my biochemistry book and put on some running shoes. I came back to my desk post-run feeling relieved and ready to get back to studying.

Around that same time I joined different pharmacy-related organizations and started volunteering in the community. I also shadowed in the diabetes eye clinic located next to our pharmacy building to gain experience interacting with patients and managing their medications. I again found myself pursuing my personal interests such as making time for reading, exercise and seeing friends and family.

Reshaping the way I managed my pharmacy schedule allowed me to comprehensively learn while in the classroom and study effectively while outside the classroom and still taking time for myself to appreciate what I personally enjoy doing. I not only felt a sense of control, but also felt the motivation I needed to spend time focused on school and the constant didactic learning.

No matter the type of student, balancing life through pharmacy school can be challenging. Although grades and learning the presented material is imperative, being balanced and well-rounded are also crucial characteristics of a pharmacist. Finding activities that relieve stress and take your mind off due dates and exam dates, even if it is just for a short time, is essential. Mastering the balancing act of school and personal life throughout these four years is difficult, yet rewarding when one side of the scale is not tipping too high. Pharmacy school is a great time to explore the different paths you can take with your career and balance can aid in finding the right one for you.

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