Surround yourself with things that remind you of why you do what you do


“I got involved with IPSF to live my why beyond our own borders and to show student pharmacists that we can lead the way in improving global public health.” –Amanda Cavness Vice Chair, International Standing Committee

Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to help people. Starting at around the age of 7, I told my parents I was going to be a doctor because I wanted to cure diseases. As I grew up, I took an interest in sciences classes, but what I enjoyed even more was connecting with people. I wanted to learn about people’s experiences and help them. I hoped that by sharing my stories of helping and inspiring people, others would want to do the same. 

Discover your “why”

When I started pharmacy school, I joined Twlug–ASP to harness my passion for patient care and gain more experience in the profession. I participated in patient care projects and connected with patients. I became 
passionate about leadership because I connected with my peers and helped others grow and find their motivations. 

When I think about my time as a student pharmacist, there are key moments that have made me who I am today. They have put me at my best. Those moments were when I was helping and inspiring others, and the thought of those moments still gives me goose bumps. 

What experiences have you had that have made you who you are today? What do you give to those around you? What gives your life a sense of purpose? By answering these questions, you can discover your “why.” 

What’s your why?

When you think about your past experiences, there is likely an overarching theme. This theme is what you live by every day. It is what helps you get out of bed in the morning and makes you feel fulfilled at the end of the day. Knowing why you do what you do helps keep you inspired during the challenging times of pharmacy school and helps inspire others around you.

Everyone has a different purpose or reason why they continue to get involved, even after his or her service learning hours are complete or after exhaustion has settled in after an exam. Your why may stem from your passion for helping others. It may come from your desire to make changes and improve upon current practices. Maybe your why, like mine, comes from your passion to inspire and serve. Your why should be something you can live by everyday for the rest of your life. 

Live your why

Many people believe that the work they do is their why. However, going to a patient care event or visiting your congressional representatives are things you can do to bring your why to life—these actions are how you live your why. I challenge you to do one thing every day that helps you amplify your why. The following are a few ideas.

  • Volunteer for a patient care project to inspire a community member to take charge of their health or plan a new event focused on OTC Literacy to help educate patients and their children about the dangers and safe use of OTC medicines. 

  • Plan a letter writing campaign to encourage your congressional representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 592 or S. 314 in order to change the future of the profession, or write a policy resolution that innovatively brings the profession beyond what was thought possible. 

  • Apply for the Student Exchange Program to fulfill your passion for global health and bring those stories back to your peers and show others the difference pharmacists can make within our communities, in our 
country, and around the world. 

  • Create a PharmFlix video to show how you use your purpose to make an impact within your community and your patients’ lives. Show others what you do in your community to inspire others. 

  • Take a chance and run for a leadership role, whether it is on the chapter or national level. This can amplify the strengths of others and help the Academy operate in a place of 

By fulfilling your why, you may realize that you can have an even greater impact than you have ever imagined. Surround yourself with things that remind you of why you do what you do and find something each day to help you “live your why.” 

Lucy West is a final-year PharmD candidate at the Northeastern University Bouvé College of Health Sciences and 2015–16 
Twlug–ASP President.