Be the Change You Wish to See In Pharmacy

AUGUST 14, 2017
I love where I went to school! Not because of the sports teams or the parties, but because of the quality of education and superb support system that the school offers their students.
Now, there are many pharmacy schools across the United States, and many of them are good, but for me the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy is unmatched in the complete quality of education that they offer to their student body. The curriculum is well organized, diverse, and paired with a solid support system of both faculty and pharmacy students; it is CLEAR that the goal is for you to learn, succeed, and grow as a leader in the pharmacy profession.

 I could write a book about why the school is so unique in helping students succeed in developing leadership qualities that business owners and corporations dream about hiring, but even that would not do a justice to the school. Regardless, that is not the focus of this article; recognizing where you came from, and all the people in your life that helped you to get where you are today, should lead you to a question that I would like help in answering: how can I do the same? How can I help those who are starting from day one on a career path similar to mine? The answer, I say, is simple: give back.
Money, of course, is your first intuitive realization but I would argue that there are much more MEANINGFUL ways to give back and make a lasting impression and a difference to help others advance in their endeavors.

Mentorship is something I would define as priceless to someone pursuing a career. It provides guidance, confidence, and a 2-way learning relationship. Yes, the teacher DOES become the student! You took the path that student is now taking. You experienced the difficulties, the setbacks, the joys, and epiphanies along the way, so why not share those with someone just starting out? Yes, everyone has different experiences, and yes, not everyone has EXACTLY the same targeted career destination, but words of wisdom and experiences can prove invaluable.

I have always enjoyed organizing and planning projects and events (yes, I may be crazy but I love it!) ever since I became an Eagle Scout at the age of 14. Once I decided I wanted to become a pharmacist, I joined a pharmacy organization that paired pre-pharmacy students with students enrolled in the school of pharmacy to offer mentorship in assisting aspiring undergraduates to successfully meet the requirements for earning admittance into the school of pharmacy.

While attending the meetings, I noticed how good the president was at conducting the meetings, delivering information, and communicating with his co-chairs, so I took the initiative to introduce myself, and soon enough he became my mentor and good friend, still to this day.

When I was a student in pharmacy school, I started to realize that I really loved teaching (I still do, now even more so!), so I approached my favorite teacher in pharmacy school and formed a mentorship so that she could impart all her years of wisdom and experiences in how I could best develop my teaching abilities.

I tell you these stories to offer advice from my own experiences, to hopefully help you in your own endeavors:
   1.Take the initiative. Don’t just go through the motions and follow the syllabus! Yes, grades are important, but what you do outside of the classroom has more pull in your future than you’d think.

   2. Don’t be afraid. Nothing good is easy, and there are no free lunches (except for the samples at Cosco). So step up! The only thing holding you back is you. Take that leap and reap the rewards!

   3. Do it NOW. If you don’t seize the opportunity, someone else will. Then you will apply for a job and guess what- there’s only one job opening, and guess who the other person applying will be?
If you have reached a point in your career where you believe you have something valuable that students could learn from, I BEG YOU to please give back. It is likely that someone once gave you that privilege and took you under their wing, so return the favor to the future generations! Perhaps you were not so lucky and did not have anyone to offer you guidance- why not change the precedent, and pay it forward?

Make a difference in someone’s life! Be the change you wish to see in the world! And lead by example- others will follow by your footsteps, so leave a legacy and lasting change for the better.

Adam Martin, PharmD, ACSM-CPT
Adam Martin, PharmD, ACSM-CPT
Dr. Martin is a licensed pharmacist, having earned his doctorate of pharmacy degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in 2012. He is the founder of TheFitPharmacist movement, which strives to empower pharmacists and pharmacy students to thrive in their careers by overcoming stress and unhealthy habits using science-based principles and unmatched support. His passion for helping those in pharmacy led to TheFitPharmacist Podcast on the PharmacyPodcast network, where he provides practical tips for staying healthy while working at the pharmacy, along with interviewing professionals in the top of their respective fields to bring their knowledge right to your earbuds. He merges his passion of pharmacy with the experts in nutrition through being the owner and nutrition consultant at The Diet Doc Pittsburgh North, with the company having over 25 years of success. Learn more and join TheFitPharmacist movement at
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