Enjoy the ride
Evan Young, PharmD, BC-ADM, is an academic and ambulatory care fellow at the Purdue University College of Pharmacy, and a proud graduate of the Belmont University College of Pharmacy.
Hi “Grace.” I’m excited to hear that rotations are going well! This is certainly an exciting time of year. Whether you are approaching residency, fellowship, or job applications, or are about to start a new semester, my biggest piece of advice is to enjoy the ride—even when it seems stressful or overwhelming. Here’s some additional advice based on my experiences.
On the new semester
Start strong. It can be tough to transition from the holiday break back to the classroom, but the importance of setting yourself up for success early on can’t be understated. Every lecture, lab, or activity is designed to prepare you to take care of patients—and that time is coming sooner than you might think.
Make the most of every opportunity, get involved, and be a sponge. You never know when inspiration might hit, and you could find a topic you really love and want to pursue.
On the job hunt
Hopefully you are having a wonderful rotation experience, just like “Grace” seems to be having. With each rotation you have grown your knowledge, served patients, and prepared yourself for your next steps—whatever those may be. This season is especially busy for students entering the residency and fellowship process. You have likely spent much of your “free time” researching programs, attending showcases, polishing your CV, and taking care of the numerous other steps required for postgraduate applications.
Now that we are approaching the time for the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting, I would encourage you to focus on program fit. A year is a long time, so as you meet with programs during Midyear and interviews, make sure you are assessing if you would be happy with their workplace culture. Don’t forget to ask the current residents about how they feel about the program.
It is also important to know what experiences you want to be a part of your training, and which of those “wants” you really consider a “must-have.” It can be easy to become infatuated with a program because of an existing connection, location, or name of the institution; however, if you have a strong interest in pursuing oncology, for example, make sure you are looking at all of your options that could help you meet your goals.
My last piece of advice for the residency process is to never sell yourself short. Each of you has persevered through many trials and hurdles throughout your pharmacy journey to get to this point. If you are interested in a program, go for it. Don’t be intimidated by names, histories, or anything else that may dissuade you from pursuing your goals—you might be exactly what that program is looking for.
You have all worked so hard to get to here, and I can’t wait to see everything you accomplish. You will inevitably have days when you feel tired, stressed, or overwhelmed, but even in those times, don’t forget why you are pursuing this profession and the impact you can make on patients!