How I Became a Pharmacist

In recognition of American Pharmacists Month, Mel Seabright, PharmD, MBA, shares how he became a pharmacist.

In recognition of American Pharmacists Month, I’d like to share a little about how I got to be where I am today.

During my freshman year in high school, my science teacher assigned us to interview people in the community about how they use science in their careers. Although I don’t remember most of the people I spoke with, I can tell you that I spent meaningful time with a local community pharmacist who changed my life.

What I saw was a man who loved his career and truly cared for his patients. In an instant, I knew that I wanted to become a pharmacist, and I never wavered from that goal throughout high school.

Knowing what you want to be when you grow up at age 14 is unusual, but it is very liberating. I simply had to work backwards to figure out how to achieve my goal of becoming a pharmacist.

After high school, I chose to attend Ohio Northern University (ONU) because it had a unique pharmacy program. Rather than attending college for 2 years and then applying to the pharmacy program, ONU students were admitted to the College of Pharmacy from day one.

Although it was expensive, being in pharmacy school from day one and avoiding the risk of rejection made it worthwhile for me.

In college, I spent a lot of time in the library. Although the classwork was difficult, I did well with one exception: organic chemistry.

I did fail organic chemistry—a notorious “weed out” course—but I successfully retook the class over the summer and graduated on time with the rest of my classmates. Failing a course is a difficult stumbling block, but I stood strong and persevered.

Today, I’m thankful for the wonderful pharmacy profession for so many reasons.

First, I’m thankful that community pharmacists are the health care professionals most accessible to the public. If my local pharmacist wasn’t accessible to me, then I likely would have taken a different career path.

Second, I’m proud of the work we pharmacists do, the diversity of our career options, and the relationships we share with our patients and fellow health care providers.

Pharmacy is a profession that makes a real difference in people’s lives. It certainly has made all the difference in mine.

Take a moment this month to #ThankAPharmacist through social media.