Preparing for and starting a Doctor of Pharmacy program can be both nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time. To help you get acclimated, we asked current Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) student Lauren Harris what advice she would give to incoming South College Pharmacy students. Here are the key tips she shared.
- Figure out your motivation.
“I would tell [new students] to find their reason. Why do you want this? Why do you want to go to a professional pharmacy school?” says Harris. “Graduate programs are hard. In every way that you can be challenged, they’re going to challenge you. There are going to be times where you’re going to have to encourage yourself. If you can’t be that for yourself, then you need to reevaluate. You can surround yourself with classmates and with the faculty, but if you yourself are not convinced that this is what you need be doing, then you won’t excel.”
- Get to know the faculty members.
“The faculty members are going to be your keys to success here. When you’re going through a hard time and you need some extra help, they’re the ones that are going to be able to help you the most,” says Harris. “They do mean what they say when they say we’re going to be here for you through thick and thin. They really are.”
- Find a friend to be a study buddy and accountability partner.
“Find a classmate or two who have similar goals as you grade-wise, because when you are not motivated, you’re going to need them to say, Hey, let’s go!” says Harris. “You need to find somebody that you are like-minded with and who you can study with and who can help hold you accountable because that’s going to be really important.”
- Don’t be afraid to ask faculty or staff for help.
“It’s embarrassing sometimes to say I’m going through a really hard time right now or this is happening in my family. Or, I really don’t understand what you’re talking about in class,” says Harris. “Some of those are kind of embarrassing things to go up to a professor and ask, but anytime that I’ve ever had to do that, I have never felt ashamed. I’ve always walked away feeling happy that I went and told them that. Because they’ve seen years of pharmacy students, they know how to handle those types of situations and they do so with grace.”
- Allow yourself to take breaks from schoolwork.
“Never underestimate what a night off can do. Take a night off if you need it,” Harris shares. “I don’t think that you have to [study 24/7] to be successful. There are some nights where you just really need to eat a whole cake and watch a movie and that’s okay.”