Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Real Point of Pharmacy School

Time is elusive... an almost mythical component of life. Often it seems as if it is plentiful, yet quickly it evaporates. Confused, you scramble around attempting to make up for it, but often it is too late.

Such is the life of a pharmacy student. Walls routinely collapse around you and part of the test is being able to survive and climb out of it. All the while you chase time... more and more time.

It seems as if we're being tested on our mental toughness as much as the material. And this makes sense, in the real world you do not work within nicely defined borders. Being adaptive and able to cope with stress in the face of adversity is one of the best skills you can develop.

Often I tell people the best thing you can ever learn is that you are can be wrong. For many it is a hard fact to accept as in order to reach this level of education you have to be egotistical and believe, to an extent, that you are mentally infallible.

Yet the opposite is true, we're all mentally infallible and in fact we may be more prone to it. Over confidence is predominate among myself and many of my classmates as a byproduct of the process in arriving here.

This makes it very, very hard to look yourself in the mirror and admit your faults.

I argued during my interviews that I was apt to not only be an excellent pharmacy student, but an excellent pharmacist because I have failed numerous times. Due to those experiences, I know how to control my emotions and develop a train of rational thought to overcome that failure. It is, at least in my mind, one of the best skills I possess.

Pharmacy school is about failure, whether they want to admit that or not. It's about not having enough time or struggling with material or actually failing an exam. We are not only learning mountains of material, but we are developing a mental toughness and agility which will be essential in our daily professional lives.

I wish there was someway to adequately explain this to many of my classmates. I know, and see, so many who are overly stressed out to the point where I wonder sometimes if they'll survive the next few years. Ironically enough I am almost certain one of my classmates regularly reads this little blog, so at least one person may be aware of it.

One test does not make a person any more than it breaks one. The light at the end of the tunnel, however faint, will eventually arrive, probably more quickly than we imagine.

So to all of you fellow first year pharmacy students who find them struggling throughout this initial year, heed this advice. Learn from your mistakes, but don't dwell on them.

Lastly you're not alone. We're all struggling in our own ways, even if we don't outwardly show it.

I will gladly crack a beer for anyone who needs to have a drink after this semester. Trust me on that.


Disaster Ch1ck said...

Right on, Phat.

It took me going to grad school to figure that part out - by watching the difference between a graduate science education (with its self-confidence-destroying onslaught of questions - how do you know? are you SURE? what about what this person published 10 minutes ago?) vs medical students with their multiple choice tests that they come in to argue for half a point for 2 hours...because they're confident, sure of themselves. But you need to be sure of yourself if you're going to cut someone open & rearrange their insides.

Or, to quote my mother's short assessment: "you can't know everything, but you know where to look it up."

You will be a great pharmacist.

Anonymous said...

By the way, Phat, are you taking the extra class you asked us to vote on or are you going to use the extra time to play with the new baby? Do you know if your having a boy or a girl? Best of luck!

pharmacy chick said...

hey,,,you gotta baby yet??? we are all dying to know!