Being accepted into pharmacy school is a great milestone, and the journey was likely filled with hard work and dedication.
Being accepted into pharmacy school is a great milestone, and the journey was likely filled with hard work and dedication. The undergraduate coursework has helped to lay the foundation to the didactic and clinical experiences that the next 4 years of pharmacy school provides. As you prepare for this next chapter in your life, it is important to plan ahead to ensure that your experience is all that you envision.
Here are 7 things you should do before starting pharmacy school:
Have a plan in place for relaxation. Before starting pharmacy school, make it a point to create time for yourself. Spend time with family, vacation to a new destination, or a read a book for pleasure. During pharmacy school, make sure to relax and take breaks as this will enhance productivity. Also, make sure to get enough sleep each night.
Create professional social media accounts. Creating LinkedIn and Twitter professional accounts can be a great stepping stone into the pharmacy profession. These are free social media platforms that can enable you to connect with other pharmacy students and pharmacists, discover future career opportunities, and stay up-to-date. Always ensure that everything posted is professional.
Review course materials prior to the first class. It is extremely important to start out on the right foot by being prepared. Professors may send out email communications and post course materials (eg lecture handouts) prior to the first class. Pharmacy schools use various platforms (eg Blackboard) for class so it is important to complete any tutorials. Reviewing the class syllabus and course objectives will ensure that you are ready to learn on the first day. Make a list of any questions you have and ask the professors in person or through email.
Visit the financial aid office. Whether you are taking out loans or seeking scholarships, consulting with the financial aid office can assist with payment options for pharmacy school. This can also be done during the orientation process.
Find out about parking options. If you are parking on campus, it is important to learn about the options. Some schools require parking decals that are either free of charge or have a fee. Many schools also have shuttle busses that can bring you directly to the campus from the dorm or apartment complex.
Decide how to keep track of lecture handouts. With all the classes and course material, it can be easy to lose track of paperwork. There is no right or wrong way to keep track of everything, it is what works best for you. If you are a binder person, then purchase a large one with tabs for all the classes. If technology is your preferred method, then use a tablet such as an iPad to store lecture handouts electronically.
Sign up for drug information updates and download apps. Many pharmacy schools have drug information resource subscriptions that are available free of charge to students. Additionally, various reputable resources such as the FDA and CDC websites have free apps and email alerts for new medications, safety alerts, and drug recalls. The National Institutes of Health created a new free app called HerbList, which provides evidence based information on the safety and efficacy of over 50 herbal products.1 This is a great resource for pharmacy students, as many drug information questions arise regarding herbal products.
The best of luck in pharmacy school!