Asking yourself the tough questions
Hello again, “Kelsea” here! I am optimistic about my future as a pharmacist as I begin my fifth rotation of the year and start thinking critically about post-graduation career options, but I can’t help feeling uncertain at times.
For final-year student pharmacists, the fall semester can bring some unanticipated stressors. Mine have included preparing for virtual residency webinars and interviews, making every effort to perform well on clinical rotations, and trying not to get distracted by the overwhelming speed at which life keeps moving forward. During pharmacy school, I seldom had to think past the next therapeutics exam or Friday night out with my friends. This shift in perspective has resulted in mixed emotions, primarily dominated by excitement and a slight fear of making the wrong decision. Over the last few weeks, I have been working to reframe a mindset of ambiguity to one of gratitude for the vast array of opportunities I am blessed to have as I prepare for my next chapter in life.
Here are two daily reminders that help me along the way.
Your future is on the line
I am interested in pursuing a residency program after pharmacy school, but this is a great reminder for all—your future is on the line. I am lucky to have had many friends go through the residency process before me and I find it interesting that they all have slightly different advice to offer me.
Some individuals placed high value on the caliber of rotations offered at various institutions and others found it invaluable to be geographically close to family and friends. The things they valued most led them to their current residency programs. A beautiful (and terrifying) fact is that there’s a perfect job out there for you. It’s not the same job your best friend or top student from your pharmacy class will have, but it’s the one that will make you feel professionally fulfilled and happy. To find it, you must ask yourself the tough questions about what you value most and what type of environment will set you up for success. This is easier said than done, but will pay off leaps and bounds in a few years’ time when you are in a fabulous job and enjoying being a pharmacist every day.
Live in the moment
Some days I feel preoccupied with the approaching decisions I will have to make, and I forget to pay attention to the work and people right in front of me. I have been very lucky to have some amazing APPE rotations with the most caring and intelligent preceptors, and I want to soak up every possible minute with them caring for patients! While it’s important to think about what next year holds, try not to let it take away from your APPE experiences. Student pharmacists are so lucky that pharmacy schools dedicate an entire year to hands-on learning to develop real-life skills before becoming licensed.
Here are my questions for the Preceptor Feedback author: What advice do you have for final-year student pharmacists preparing for their first job? How can they make the best decisions for their future?