Student pharmacist to PharmD: Now what?
This past summer I made the cross-country move from Phoenix, AZ, to Washington DC, for the APhA Postgraduate Executive Training Program. I have always lived no more than 100 miles away from my loved ones, so moving 2,000 miles away felt daunting. I am fortunate enough to have 7 other postgraduate trainees with me in the process, but not many others can say the same. Each one of us has plopped right into the workforce as a real-world professional with different routines and responsibilities.
The transition period from graduation to the workforce is often abrupt and unexpected. There is not a class, seminar, or rotation that can prepare you for the new lifestyle that is about to become your everyday. It also does not prepare you for the loneliness of moving to a new city for a job or postgrad training program. Some of us may be afflicted with loneliness and others may find themselves struggling with boredom without the busyness of extracurricular activities and studying.
Since I began this new chapter, I have learned a few things I wanted to share.
Connecting past LinkedIn
It is so important to build and foster interpersonal relationships and connections. Building genuine relationships in and out of the workplace will take some time, but do not give up, you will create your own community. Take a chance and ask a potential work friend to go get coffee or lunch. If you would rather make friends outside of the office, attend a fitness class or local community event to spark friendships. Bumble BFF or local Facebook groups are other great ways to connect with people with similar interests.
Take the time to explore yourself and your interests
This could be the time to pick up that hobby or activity that you have always wanted to try. Discover and form your identity outside of being a pharmacist. Finding these opportunities can also lead to friendships and connections.
Be your own hype man
Now the hard part is getting yourself excited and ready to actually go do these things. Meeting new people can be nerve-wrecking and getting the urge to stay in can emerge. One of my favorite things to do is to create a playlist that energizes me while I am getting ready. It helps calms my nerves and boosts my confidence.
If you find it difficult to leave the house, set a timer and commit to 30 to 45 minutes. This will make it low-commitment and help build your social battery.
Change is the only thing that is constant in life. While navigating the transition from graduation to real world can be a scary, lonely experience, and I hope this brings comfort in knowing that you are not alone.
Brooke Whittington, PharmD, is an executive resident in the APhA Education Department in Washington, DC. She has a passion for learning and creating education for pharmacists and technicians to use in their day-to-day practices. In her free time, she likes to attend spin class, try new foods, and spend time with her loved ones.