Maximize your career as a student pharmacist


Kelsea Gallegos (far left) with some of her “pharm-ily,” the Twlug–ASP National Executive Committee: Lucy West, Jeffrey Van Liew, Lauren Bode, and Stephanie Garza.

Life is all about taking small, positive risks. When you try something new, you are taking a risk. Risks are inherently unpredictable and can end in failure, vulnerability, or embarrassment—all of which are feelings most people spend their lives avoiding. But, why? If we lived in a world where no one ventured outside their comfort zone, then nothing would ever change. Although you might be afraid at first, taking small, calculated, positive risks only creates possibilities for you. 

If someone had told me where my first small, positive risk of joining Twlug–ASP would take me, I wouldn’t have believed it. Yet, here I am less than 3 years later, serving an organization and profession that I love. Do yourself a favor and stop shying away from what scares you. The next time an opportunity arises and you feel a calling tap on your shoulder, act on it. Embrace these callings and embrace the small, positive risks. You never know where they might take you. 

Live your why

Your Twlug–ASP National Executive Committee challenges each of you to discover and live your why every day. Find and acknowledge that passion that drives you, that makes you who you are, and try not to lose it. With the hustle and bustle of curriculum and other stressors in life, it can be easy to lose sight of what matters most: your why. It is at these times that it is most important to think back and remember why you do what you do. Your why will be what keeps you going. 

Yes, pharmacy school is stressful and sometimes there are not enough hours in the day. This is your opportunity to develop time management skills. Write a list of three things you need to accomplish every day, but remember to keep it short and realistic! These items can be as simple as finishing a homework assignment or as consuming as completing residency applications. If you get these three things done, then count your day as a success and appreciate what you have done. If you do not complete your list, then make peace with what you did accomplish and look forward to accomplishing more tomorrow. The most important thing is to give your best effort each day and keep moving forward.

Have fun!

You only spend a few years of your life in pharmacy school. In the big picture, this is only around 5% of your life. Enjoy them! This is not a crazy concept. Too often, student pharmacists take a negative view and focus on the list of tasks in front of them that never seem to get completed. Why not focus on the positive, the friends you have in pharmacy school? 

Your friends are those who fight the same battles, bring you coffee to class when you have a bad day, and laugh at the same nerdy jokes. You celebrate together as a “pharm-ily.” Don’t forget that these individuals are sometimes only in your life for 3 to 4 years. Once school is over and you get that diploma, it is time to enter the profession as a new practitioner. This might mean your best friends are living in opposite corners of the country and those coffee dates will be a cherished but distant memory. 

A beautiful journey

Do not take your career as a student pharmacist for granted. It is a beautiful journey, full of personal and professional growth. People tend to focus so much on the stress that they forget to live in the present. Time is precious and so are those relationships you make on this journey. 

Yes, there are weeks that feel endless, but in a blink of an eye, someone will be handing you the keys to the pharmacy and your life as a pharmacist will begin. Make sure that when the time comes, you are ready to say goodbye to your career as a student pharmacist with no regrets and a handful of memories from those small, positive risks in your pocket.