The Mixed Emotions Approaching Graduation

DECEMBER 27, 2016
Pharmacy school can be a long and difficult journey, but as I approach graduation, I think about just how quickly it all flew by. I don’t think I will ever forget the long nights staying up before each and every exam, the days I left the exam room in an absolute panic, and the times I recall asking myself “why on earth did I sign up for this?" I have no regrets as I am now on my way to success and have gained a great deal of knowledge, but I can’t help to think about what is next.

If you are like me and are approaching graduation, I’m sure you are starting to feel a bit overwhelmed and are experiencing a mix of emotions. I’ve expressed concern to several pharmacists I work with and I just wanted to reassure you all that the feelings we are having are normal and that we will be okay!

Of course there’s the feeling of excitement: you made it!! Finally all of this headache is over and you’re going to be a pharmacist. All the weeks of working for free and now you get to start making the big bucks! Not only that but you are the boss, your employees and patients will look to you for answers as you now possess that doctor of pharmacy degree and are the new head honcho. All of your hard work has finally paid off! Then I’m sure you have experienced a great deal of nerves.

I found myself questioning: “What if I have done this all for nothing and I don’t pass the NAPLEX?" Of course it’s a scary thought but after much reassurance and studying I realized that I, along with any of you readers who may be having these same thoughts, should not think like that. We have spent these last several years in preparation for the exam as well as being fully prepared to deliver the best patient care and be the best pharmacists that we can possibly be. It is time to have confidence in ourselves, study our butts off, and kill the boards.

The emotions don’t stop after the boards because we then think about what happens after. I’m referring to the first day on the job, some of us may be relocating, and even just the responsibility in general! We are now on our own. No preceptors to ask, no other pharmacists supervising our every move. It can be a scary thought at times that a mistake you can make can potentially kill someone. Patients come to you and it’s no longer a question on an exam that if you get wrong part of your percentage goes down and you can make it up on the final.

This is now real life, and your wrong answers have an actual impact. It is important to remember that and to not rely so heavily on technology and just cramming for the boards just so you can forget it all because one wrong decision can make you lose your license depending on the severity, harm individuals, and you could even potentially end up behind bars.

The realization is accepting the role as a pharmacist is a great responsibility and we should all make sure we know our information before making decisions regarding patient’s health. In no way am I trying to scare you, I’m just trying to emphasize on the importance of actually studying the information not just for the sake of the exam but the sake of your patients.

As May approaches, I plan to continue to study and be the best that I can be. Pharmacy is a changing world and the learning never stops! I want to personally wish you all the best in the future and with your boards. Keep in mind that we have earned this! Confidence is key and much preparation is required. We officially made it!

Shelby Leheny, Pharm D, B.S
Shelby Leheny, Pharm D, B.S
Shelby Leheny received her Doctor of Pharmacy Degree from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) and her Bachelor's of Science degree at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a pharmacist at CVS.
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