In eighth grade, I remember sitting in my guidance counselor’s office to pick my schedule for high school. My counselor had asked me if I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I boldly said, “A pharmacist.” At the time, my only knowledge of a pharmacist was the one in a community setting. Now, in pharmacy school, I quickly learned that the beauty of pharmacy is that there are so many places the career can take you.
If you have been following along with my On Rotation Diary entries, you may know that I have had my eyes set on pursuing a fellowship. I thought that a career in pharmaceutical industry would be a place where I could flourish and give back to my profession. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as though a fellowship is in my future. It has been disheartening to see this position I have wanted so badly and worked toward disappear. But if I have learned one thing from speaking to seasoned pharmacists, it is that you never know where one career path may take you and that there is more than one way to find your dream job.
I want to stay positive and proactive about my current predicament. I am a firm believer that “everything happens for a reason,” so I like to think that something better is waiting for me. Networking is a valuable tool that I often tell other student pharmacists that they need to invest in. While I would consider myself a person who never likes to ask for help, this seemed like a situation where I would need some advice.
Some of the first people I reached out to were the individuals who helped write my letters of recommendation. After all, they know me well and understand my professional goals. They offered words of comfort and suggested other potential routes to pursue. My preceptors also showed a genuine interest in helping me consider alternative job opportunities. I also turned to past issues of Student Pharmacist for help. Articles like “You didn’t match…now what?,” a September–October 2016 story written by Valerie Budinger, PharmD, addressed some of my concerns and offered advice on how to pursue a new path. Although it felt as if my entire pharmacy career had fallen apart before it even began, this article helped reassure me that it had not.
When I think about my pharmacy role models, I remind myself that they didn’t build their pharmacy career overnight, so I shouldn’t expect that my pharmacy career to be established the moment I graduate. During my off block this past month, I have been working on numerous paintings, which has allowed me to reflect on my pharmacy goals. When I look at the paintings, I realize how far I have come from my very first one. I hope that if I continue to work hard and persevere that I too will have a fulfilling career.
As lucky as I am to be able to ask my letter of recommendation writers for advice, I am happy that I have a new practitioner mentor as well! So, I ask of the Preceptor Feedback column author: were you ever faced with an obstacle on your journey to your current career path? If so, how were you able to overcome it? I have also been taking the time to look at job listings to see what is available. Do you have any advice on applying for entry-level positions?
And finally, now that I feel a bit lost on how to proceed with my future plans: do you think that sticking to jobs within pharma would be the best approach, or should I broaden my horizons and start discovering other areas?
Hopefully you will be attending APhA2017 in San Francisco. Yours truly will be there!
Until next time.