Written by: Mutshidzi Kwinda
If you are reading this article right now, you are probably considering applying for Pharmacy school or have already received an acceptance letter. If this is you, I assume that you are nervous, excited, or both for the road ahead. Nonetheless, Congratulations Sis! You are now a step forward to making your career dreams come true.
Now, let’s talk about some of the things I wish I knew before enrolling in Pharmacy school. I hope these few points will help prepare for your journey as a Pharmacy student. If not that, I hope it gives you a clear insight into the career choice you are about to make.
- Please do not underestimate the need to do job shadowing in your local retail or hospital Pharmacy
It’s been two years since I completed my four-year degree in Pharmacy, and I still wish I had done job shadowing or volunteer work in a practical Pharmacy setting before I even applied for the course.
Not that it would have made me choose different career paths, but I think it would have at least prepared me for the uphill road ahead.
As someone from rural villages where you hardly see the reflection of your aspirations in real life, it was 10-times harder for me to understand the theoretical contexts of simple things such as cough syrup.
In retrospect, I think that prior exposure to the environment you want to work in is essential. It will not only boost your confidence and make you stand out from your peers, but it will also help you better understand where your passions lie.
- Pharmacy school is not a walk in the park
Not to scare you, but Pharmacy school is not easy. Of course, I knew it would be hard, but I did not think it would be that hard. It is better to be aware of the truth and prepare for the worst than diving into the deep end of a pool and basically drowning. So be prepared to dedicate your four years to a committed relationship with Pharmacy.
In addition to the previous point, be ready to learn and memorize thousands of drug names, chemical structures, and properties to remember only five of them for an exam.
Again, this is not to scare you but to help you prepare yourself for the four years journey ahead. If you are not good at remembering difficult names, maybe Pharmacy is not really for you. Not only is it important for your exams, but for your whole career as a pharmacist because that’s what you will be dealing with every day.
- The market is getting more and more saturated.
Seven years ago, when I was applying to study Pharmacy, I remember being confident about how fast I was guaranteed to find a job as soon as I graduated with my bachelor’s degree. I am not sure if this is only an issue in South Africa (comment below if it is happening in your country as well), but with each passing year, it seems like the industry is becoming oversaturated.
Although it was not an obvious thing seven years ago, I wish someone had warned me that by the time I finished my studies, it wouldn’t be as easy to find a job as I thought it would be.
Now that you know things I wish I knew, I hope your experience will be much more transparent and manageable. If you would like to ask me more Pharmacy school-related questions, you can comment below, and I will be honoured to answer all your questions. For now, All The Best.