Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps pharmacists create an inspiring career, break free from the mundane “pill-flipping” life. He is a Full-time Pharmacist, Media Company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He's also the Founder of Pharmacy School HQ, which helps students get into pharmacy school and become residents.

A Letter to My Pre-Pharmacy School Self

AUGUST 26, 2015
What if it were possible to time travel and prevent yourself from making awful mistakes? What advice would you offer the younger you?
 
In honor of the new academic year, I decided to write a letter to my pre-pharmacy school self about the personal and professional growth I experienced throughout my academic journey.

Dear Pre-Pharmacy School Self,
 
You have your work cut out for you. Pharmacy school will be your toughest challenge yet, but your self-improvement journey will be even tougher.
 
You will deal with demons, both inside and outside of yourself. You will also experience academic disappointments, personal failures, and mental scarring from academic stress. Even through those moments of defeat, there is so much to be learned.
 
On Grades
Grades matter very little after graduation. Think of grades as having a lot of value to academics, and little value to anyone else.

Interestingly, studies have found that the average college GPA of an American millionaire was 2.9 on a 4.0 scale. So, grades do not necessarily determine your career’s future success.

Pursue what interests you and become an expert in that area. Employers will pay for your knowledge, and care little about your grade in Chemotherapeutic Agents. (Heads up: you won’t do well in that class.)
 
On Mentors
Continuously seek your mentors' advice on both academic and personal matters. Their advice will sting at times, but that’s a good sign. The “good” life isn’t easy. Anything worth fighting for will be a struggle.
 
There will be times when you feel unsure about your career path, unsure about your decision to attend pharmacy school, unsure about your ability to pay back your pharmacy school debt, unsure about your personal relationships and unsure about your ability to study for 1 more hour. As you learn to trust yourself, these feelings will eventually pass.
 
Failure will happen. You will fail exams, fail to get into the residency program you have your heart set on, and fail to land your dream job after graduation. When this happens, trust the silver lining. You won’t understand why in the moment of “failure,” but you’ll see how your journey progresses for the better.
 
Focus on learning from your past mistakes and move on. Don’t let failure shake your confidence. Use your mistakes as feedback in this experiment called life, rather than allowing your failures to define you.

On Friends
Do not hang out with friends who bring you down. You’ll know the kind of people you should avoid once I explain how  they make you feel.

After an encounter with this “friend,” you’ll feel like complaining more, blaming others for your problems, or criticizing others. Your thoughts will be destructive, rather than constructive. If you notice a change in your demeanor around these people, choose different friends.

On a positive note, you will meet some amazing people, including your future wife. You will connect with an amazing circle of friends and exceptional mentors who will help guide your career and personal development for years to come.
 
You will develop some new healthy habits and kick some nasty habits to the curb. You will learn not to procrastinate. You will learn the importance of good communication. You will learn how to be methodical and meticulous, and you will come to understand that the devil is in the details.
 
Most importantly, you will learn the value of honesty and integrity on both a professional and personal level. And throughout the whole experience, you are going to grow every day.
 
Don't worry, you’ll come out on the other side of pharmacy school ready to tackle all of life’s personal and professional challenges.
 
Sincerely,
 
Post-Pharmacy School Self



SHARE THIS SHARE THIS
0
Pharmacy Times Strategic Alliance
 

Pharmacist Education
Clinical features with downloadable PDFs


Next-Generation Pharmacist® Awards


SIGN UP FOR THE PHARMACY TIMES NEWSLETTER
Personalize the information you receive by selecting targeted content and special offers.