15 Secrets Pharmacy School Students Live With

15 Secrets Pharmacy School Students Live With

A hidden world in pharmacy schools exists with secrets only they know.

I currently work in New York City and some nights I Amtrak back to Philly and commute back for work in the morning. However most nights, I crash with my girlfriend who is a pharmacy student at one of the universities in NYC. Being with her for a while now, I’ve picked up on a few “trade secrets” that are not so easily noticeable about people or students in pharmacy programs.

1. They memorize some of the biggest compound words to exist in the English language.

Croscarmellose-sodium-colloidal-silicone-dioxide. Who knew that was one of the major components to every allergy medication out there? Pharmacy students take some of the hardest chemistry classes dealing with large compounded words and compounded chemicals.

2. They have no care for Humanities classes because they are seen like an impediment to their success.

Any pharmacy student will tell you how they would have avoided every class for the first 2 years of college if they could because of the general education and humanities requirements.

3. Pharmacy school students help each other succeed cause they know they won’t survive by themselves.

Next to medical school, pharmacy school is considered the next hardest graduate program in the world with its rigor and curriculum. A major difference besides, actual content, is the way the students are among each other. Medical school is more competitive and being top dog is how medical students survive. Pharmacy school is more cooperative and with that the students are more collaborative in their study efforts with each other and learning together.

4. Sometimes they have minute-anxiety attacks when professors call on them in class


Anybody can be called on, but with an intense curriculum there's almost no time for sleep so students make up for it in lecture by napping...till the professor calls on them.

5. And when they don’t know the answer, the professor makes an example of them.

Most if not all the professors in PharmD programs are pharmacy degree holders and so they know the struggle. They believe if they could get through it in their time, you can get through it in your time, especially with the resources in the world today. You just need a little motivation.

6. If they could, they would recommend pharmaceutical literature as an alternative to sleep medication.

Up there with Pharmaceutical Economics & Pharmacy Law, Pharmaceutical Literature is some of the driest reading material all pharmacy students have to read. A 2-page history of a drug will take an average pharmacy student about 5 days to read. In words of my girlfriend, “If it were any dryer, it could be used as sandpaper."

7. If there was a competition for stress eating, pharmacy students would win.

At no point during a pharmacy student’s career will they say they had no stress. Depending on the program, most if not all pharmacy students are maxed out on credits every semester, with extra-curriculars related to the program itself as well. On top of that is maintaining registration and admittance for clinical, rotational programs and with most college students, a part-time/full-time job.

8. When the program requires them to tutor younger years in the program but they themselves have plenty to study, tough choices have to be made.

Many programs now a days have developed mentorship programs to help connect upperclassmen in the pharmacy program to lowerclassmen. With that comes tutoring in pharmacy program classes as well as general science and education classes such as organic chemistry and biology. But they themselves are overbooked with their own classes and material to study. And they’re not even getting credits or paid for the tutoring done. The question then becomes, “Do I better my chances at succeeding in the program and just focus on my classes?” or “Do I help the future generation of pharmacists succeed and risk my own success?”

9. After any pharmacology and pharmaceutics exam, all students showcase the same behavior.

Some of the hardest classes in most pharmacy programs are the pharmacology, toxicology, and pharmaceutics related to systems, classes. It’s almost normal behavior for students to go into day long realm-sleep after exams for those classes.

10. If the exam grades for those classes don’t favor the students, they lose their will to live.

Those classes are most seen in the professional years are the programs and when students don’t perform well, they are walking on thin ice as they can be kicked out of the program at any moment for not maintaining grades or GPA.

11. But if the grades do favor the students, they become Beyonce's inspiration for her song.

All of a sudden, pharmacy students believe it was their destiny to become pharmacists.

12. They believe no doctor will ever be better than them in talking drugs.

So here’s my girlfriend’s take on this: “Med school is for the people that want to be doctors and save people’s lives. They study the human body and how it works and how to fix it. I’m in pharmacy school, I’m a pharmacist. I study how the drugs are made from chemicals that will fix the body. I am pretty sure I know a thing or two more about how the drugs and chemicals with interact with the chemicals in the body better than a doctor. They should stick to scalpel, let me handle the drugs.”

This is definitely a common theme among most pharmacy students entering the real world after graduation.

13. They’ve all had friends try and tell them to switch into another major or program.

Most pharmacy students have been in a situation where their friends have suggested to them to switch into another program or major, seeing the struggle of trying to survive pharmacy school. But once they’ve had a taste of pharmacy school, every pharmacy student knows they could never go back into a simple Bachelor’s program or major. They didn’t work that hard to get into the program or stay in the program to just switch into another one.

14. When pharmacy students realize all their other-major friends will graduate and get jobs after only 4 years of college, no clinical, no rotations. Their depression sets in.

Most PharmD programs are 6 years, with either a 3+3 detail of a 4+2 detail. Otherwise students will do a Bachelor’s of Science major with a pre-pharmacy track and then apply to pharmacy programs, ending in a 4+2 or 4+3 program. Most Bachelor’s programs are done in 4 years and when pharmacy students realize all the friends they have let from their age group are both graduated and moved away, they start questioning if the 6-7 years is worth it.

15. But when they realize they will have Doctorates and start entry level at six figures, life isn’t so bad anymore.

But as soon as they receive their Doctorate of Pharmacy and enter the six figure salary range among America’s or any respected country’s top-middle class income level, it all makes sense.

In a world so vastly changing with new discoveries, treatments, and technology, pharmacists are one of the most crucial components in the whole medical care system. Prescriptions and drugs are a vital component to the treatment for every patient and having someone who is well versed and knowledgeable in the chemicals we in-take is imperative.

Some days it sucks that her classes and studying and everything else related to pharmacy school keeps her from going out in the city or having fun or going to a movie with me. But other days I’m grateful she’s in pharmacy school because those are probably the days when I’m sick and I decide to take all the wrong drugs and she corrects me. Regardless, everyday I’m proud she’s made it this far in the program and only has a little bit more to go…then I can spend her money! #perksofhavingapharmacistgirlfriend

Cover Image Credit: Thinkstock

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There's A Psychological Reason Why You Absolutely Hate Group Projects

It's about time I need to stop going to bed at two in the morning.

As a sophomore high schooler, I'm ready to start a petition to end all school projects. Given the chance, I would throw group projects in particular off the face of Earth. I'm a fairly open and social person, and I enjoy being a part of groups. However, what I've noticed the past few weeks is that people are never there when you need them. People are unreliable and don't contribute to these group projects, and enough is enough. It's about time I need to stop picking up after people, and it's about time I need to stop going to bed at two in the morning.

In every group project, you encounter many types of people, and it seems impossible to get everyone to work together. We all have different schedules, which makes meeting up an issue. There are often times when group members end up "sick" or "are busy." To have someone show up is, in fact, a miracle.

Not only that, but not all group members contribute equally, despite every promises to work equally. One person always ends up doing more, if not, all the work.

And often, you find yourself surrounded by people that you dislike.

So you start to wonder, what's the point of all this? If adults hate working in teams, then why are they making us do so as well? If they want us to learn, then why aren't we learning anything?

Group projects have such a bad reputation, and often times, we fail to see its intent and purpose. I constantly hear people complain about the situation, blaming the teacher for this assignment. But, perhaps, we're at fault for doing poorly on our group projects.

Group projects are examples of diffusion of responsibility, the phenomenon in which individuals are less likely to take action in the midst of a group due to the belief that others will take on the responsibility, also known as the bystander effect. These two theories intertwine so tight that they are used interchangeably at times. Both state that when more people are around, the less inclined an individual is to do anything about a situation, which lessens the burden on the individual.

There are factors that influence the diffusion of responsibility. An individual may either feel unqualified to take action, or an individual simply doesn’t know what’s going on. Additionally, an individual is less inclined to help unfamiliar faces.

In the context of group projects, people are not as motivated to work towards a common goal. Naturally, people will rely on others to take on their responsibility. Often times, this will put the weight of the project on one person, causing them to do much more work than necessary.

Since group projects usually result in a collective grade, there’s no individual accountability. People tend to pull back, leaving others with more workload. Your individual responsibility doesn’t feel as important anymore because you believe that the others on your team are responsible as well.

A couple of weeks ago, we were assigned a video project. The minimum number per group was two and the highest four. I originally wanted to keep the group small, for I was afraid that I'll end up stressing more. My friend and I started out as a group of two, and we added somebody else upon consideration. And at the last possible moment, the group of three became a group of four.

I was not happy with the arrangement. To be frank, I was disappointed with everyone. I had expected better work ethics, work quality and most importantly, better signs of responsibility.

Like I predicted, I stressed over everyone else's work. People just simply didn't feel the incentive to put in effort, seeing that there will be others that will take over their part for them (which was true). Being the "control freak" of the group, I was the one nuisance that annoyed people into doing their work. But where's the motivation in that? They're only working so that I could stop bothering them. Deep down, they knew that I'd much rather do the entire project by myself than to work with them any more.

Another reason why group projects are despised is that you can’t express your individuality in a group project. There's pressure to not speak out for what you want in fear of being judged. Often times, your opinions or ideas don't align with what others are saying. Everything is subjective. What you think is good is someone else’s bad. What you believe is urgent is probably the opposite of others. Whether you’re working with one person or as a team of five, you have to compromise. And often times, you have to sacrifice something you want in order to make everyone else happy.

And as much as we hate to admit it, in the end, it is everyone's fault.

The purpose of a group project is to get everyone to work and learn something new as a team. Teachers assign group projects in hopes that people will learn from others and utilize each other's strengths to create a masterpiece. Though this seems like a good idea theoretically, it’s not the case in most situations.

But also keep in mind that in the end, it is your project. You're responsible, and you have to be able to learn how to lead. You have to be able to work together as a team, despite the challenges and the clash of opinions. So if you end up being a disappointment to your peers, they’ll do damage control to save themselves from a failing grade. Although it may work out for you, not being responsible for your actions will cause hostility and grudges. Your partners will never really look at you the same ever again.

And if you are the one who is driven insane due to the weight of the entire assignment on your shoulders, I applaud you. Though the stress is practically crushing you now, it'll eventually pass. Take a deep breath because you got this. Though others may never admit it, you are the backbone and deserve the world.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash / Clem Onojeghuo

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7 Tips For Interview Success

Interviews happen at all stages of our lives!

Interviews can be really daunting, especially if you've never had a professional interview. We all remember the nerves we had the first time we interviewed and it can be difficult to feel confident at times. However, interviews and talking to people you've never met are an important part of life. Since we will all go through an interview at some point in our lives, here are some tips for success!

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare!

An interviewer can easily tell if you have prepared for the interview. Even if you are nervous, it is obvious you put thought into your answers if they are clear, concise and answer the questions being asked.

2. Always have a resume.

Don't just have one copy, have multiple! You would be surprised at how many people don't bring resumes to an interview, so this will set you apart and make you appear more professional. Make sure to have someone you trust check out your resume before you print it!

3. Dress professionally.

Google business professional dress! For my friends that are men, khakis are not business professional. Make sure your jacket and pants match in order to make an excellent impression! It's never fun to lose points for something as simple as dress.

4. Research the organization or industry.

Doing your research is key to thriving in any interview. The second an interviewer hears you mention specific goals, values or the mission of the organization or company, you get bonus points. When people research the company, interviewers can tell that they actually care about the organization and want the job or position.

5. Tie your answers into the position you want.

A big mistake in interviews is answering the questions without tying them to the organization or why you are a good fit for that position.

6. Ask for contact information.

Another way to make yourself stand out is to ask for the emails or contact information of your interviewer(s) at the end of the interview. Sending a follow up email can be the difference between a good and great candidate.

7. Know how you will add value to the organization.

Be prepared to answer questions about how you will add value to the organization and what unique skills you have! There is only one you, so don't be afraid to show people that!

Cover Image Credit: https://www.stutteringhelp.org/content/7-tips-preparing-job-interviews

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