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.
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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

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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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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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3 Things i learned at pride in NYC

The people, the flags, and the glitter are even more magical in person.

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On Sunday, June 24th, my girlfriend, my best friend and I, all hopped on a train to the World Trade Center in New York City. After a short subway ride, we arrived at 16th Street, where the parade festivities began. Dressed in our decked out rainbow attire, we entered a vibrant crowd of flag wielding, self-loving having, beautiful people. Pride is something the LGBTQIA+ community knows how to celebrate well. Lesbihonest, I think its safe to say that the LGBTQ+ community essentially created loving yourself, along with embracing those around you, whether you know them or not. While at Pride, I learned a few things about myself, about how to love others, and what it means to be apart of a community.

1. Love thy neighbor

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Because pride is such an important event to the LGBTQIA+ community, the number of people that attend each year is increasing by the thousands. There were an expected 48,000 people this year and when you're amerced in such a large crowd keeping your cool is super important. I learned that in most cases, giving love will result in receiving it, especially in 84-degree weather. So when I was making my way through energetic crowds, I used my p's and q's and was met with the same energy from strangers.

2. At pride, the dress code is no dress code

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If you're in the mood to wear your birthday suit, glitter, or witty t-shirt and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community as a member or as an ally, pride is the place to be! The extravagant outfits and expression of self-pride through clothes and even lack of clothes made me feel extremely comfortable in my own outfit. I think we all have had our share of being uncomfortable in our skin or clothes, but being around thousands of people dressed in whatever made them most comfortable that day was a beautiful experience.

3. Pride is not solely about the LGBTIA+ community

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Heritage of Pride, the nonprofit organization that organizes New York City's LGBT pride events each year, strives to work towards creating a future that consists of equal rights for all under the law. The march is an annual civil rights demonstration that brings awareness to the fight against aids, the Black Lives Matter movement and memorializes those who have lost their lives to illness, violence and neglect. This year over 450 different organizations participated in the march and about 110 floats were shown, each float bringing awareness to different organizations.

As an Afro-Latina, lesbian, I felt very represented and extremely grateful to participate in a civil rights event such as pride. The opportunity to educate myself and even feel more comfortable in my own skin, and enjoy myself with the people I love most, is something I will truly cherish. Hopefully, my experiences and knowledge will expand next year at the 2019 NYC pride!

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