I make time for the things I enjoy
Student pharmacist Michael Braud balances studies with creative writing.
I remember first being interested in writing as early as the 3rd grade. While my friends enjoyed playing the popular Pokémon card games of the time, I was writing my first 8-page book called Tubamon. Although they were childish beginnings, my interest in writing only grew.
Each year, I wrote something new. I eventually wrote 20-page books, 200-page books, book series, poetry, and eventually managed to write an 800-page book when I was 14 years old called The Enchanter: Saga. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I began to write for the stage.
During my freshman year I wrote my first musical, The Seven, a musical about a homeless man who is left on the New York City subway system as a child and grows up too afraid to venture into the city above. This musical was produced three times.
Today, I am a first-year student pharmacist at The University of Tennessee (UT) College Of Pharmacy. I recently graduated with a BS in Biology from Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, where the premiere of my new musical, One Thousand Words, took place from January 8–11.
One Thousand Words tells the story of two men who fall in love with one another in the 1940s and must struggle to exist amidst the backdrop of the Great Depression and World War II. My composer, Curran Latas, and I had a completed book and score in 4 months, and we presented the show to our first audience at a staged-reading series at LSU. Shortly after, we began moving toward a production of the show to premiere at Theatre Baton Rouge in the local community.
My first semester at UT kept me busy so I met with my production team via weekly Skype meetings on Sunday nights, sometimes before exams. It all paid off when the show opened on January 8 and ran six performances to nearly 400 audience members. Because lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender-related issues are currently prevalent in Louisiana politics, newspapers wrote stories about the show. Even state and local organizations, such as Equality Louisiana and Capital City Alliance, threw support behind the project. I could not have been happier to see such support and success come from something I wrote and to know that I had directly impacted 400 people made me understand how powerful a story can be. Doors were opened for us; we are currently looking to expand the project.
Find a hobby
People often cannot believe that I am both a student pharmacist and a writer. Professors, teachers, and friends all ask, “How do you do it?” My response is always the same: “I make time for the things I enjoy.”
Michael Braud (2nd row, 4th from right) is joined by the cast of his latest musical, One Thousand Words, which premiered in January.
My time spent writing is the same time anyone else would spend on a hobby. It is almost therapeutic. I know that if I study vigorously for an exam, then I can spend some time writing the next few pages of plot in my show. In a way, it is what gets me through pharmacy school! Student pharmacists understand the importance of time management, and writing keeps me balancing my time efficiently, whether it is choosing a therapeutic medication for a patient or what one of my characters is going to do next.
The best way to enjoy school is to find yourself a hobby. I love pharmacy and I love the fact that what I am learning in school right now will directly impact my future patients, but sifting through hundreds of lectures of medicinal chemistry and pharmacology will quickly make you ask for an anti-psychotic. You need to do something else. You need to live a little bit while in school. Whether you like to draw, play sports, or make music, you need to find an outlet and you need to never confine yourself into one mold.
I am a student pharmacist, but I am also a writer among many other things. A lyric from One Thousand Words says, “The future is yours to take, if you have enough strength, and a heart that won’t break.” I strongly believe you define your future and do what makes you happy as long as you put in effort and set your heart toward your dreams.