10 Things to Prepare You for Pharmacy School: A Fourth-Year Student's Perspective

Once you enter pharmacy school, you'll quickly learn that being professional is essential.

1. Professionalism

Once you enter pharmacy school, you’ll quickly learn that being professional is essential. The moment you receive your white coat, you become a pharmacy professional. It will be your duty to stay cool, calm, and collected at all times.

Many pharmacy programs also require students to dress professionally every day as a way of getting prepared for the real world. That means no jeans or sweatpants. Once you graduate, it will be your responsibility to dress accordingly as a pharmacist.

2. Lifetime Service

During your white coat ceremony, you’ll be required to sign the Oath of a Pharmacist, in which you’ll promise to devote yourself to a lifetime of service to others through the pharmacy profession. After all, your job will be to manage your patients’ medications, essentially putting their lives in your hands. So, get to know your community members, as you may serve as their pharmacist one day.

3. Reputation

You’ll be surprised how quickly word gets around in the pharmacy world. If a preceptor wants information on you, all it takes is a phone call. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and always stay professional.

4. Shadow/Intern/Tech Experience

Being involved in your community or hospital pharmacy before school is a great way to determine whether you really want to become a pharmacist. Often times, shadowing or working alongside a pharmacist is the only way you’ll truly know if it’s the right profession for you.

5. Leadership Skills

Being a leader in pharmacy school is a big deal. You’ll most likely be involved in at least 1 large organization, so do some research prior to starting pharmacy school to find out which ones best fit your interests.

Some large pharmacy organizations with student chapters include the American Pharmacists Association, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, Christian Pharmacist Fellowship International, and Student National Pharmaceutical Association.

6. Healthy Studying Habits

The transition from undergraduate to graduate studies isn’t easy for many students, so you may have a difficult time catching up on work. It’s common to have 10 things going on at the same time in pharmacy school. Pace yourself in completing one thing at a time and then moving to the next task.

7. Organization

Every day of pharmacy school will be filled with things for you to do, which can quickly get overwhelming. Marking your calendar or keeping a planner can help you stay organized and allow you to keep track of what needs to get done when.

8. Communication Skills

Learn how to speak with your peers, mentors, professors, and advisors, as they’re the ones who will stick around throughout your pharmacy school journey. They’ll also be the ones who you’ll consult when you need help.

9. Networking

No matter what pharmacy school you attend, you’ll be required to go to at least 1 professional meeting where you’ll meet many different pharmacy students from around the world. These meetings will allow you to use your networking skills to discover opportunities outside of school.

10. Sleep

Pharmacy school is probably one of the most challenging things you’ll ever endure in your life. Someday, you may begin to have second thoughts about entering the profession, but you’re not alone. Instead of giving up, sleep on it. You’ll be surprised how much this helps.