Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A little bit about my pharmacy school experience thus far....


 Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy
White Coat Ceremony
September 2011

It is midnight and I've decided to call it a night as far as homework/studying goes. I am still behind in most of my classes because I barely touched any books over my very short 13-day winter break. Luckily, I don't have any exams this week, but starting next week, I will be having 2 exams every single week for the remainder of the quarter (until spring break in March)! So this week I'm going to catch up on going over my immunology, biochemistry, physiology, and pharmaceutics lectures, so that I could actually start fulfilling one of my new year's resolutions starting next week. This is my second quarter of my first year of pharmacy school. Last quarter was tough, but I would say that I expected worse. I was prepared for the workload and I was used to the workload, as my 2 years of pre-pharmacy courses were a challenge too. Well, I tackled my very first quarter of pharmacy school with straight A's! And it wasn't even that hard. Time management and willpower was all it took. Oh, and lots of prayers to keep me sane and on the right track, too! The material is not challenging just yet. They tell us "wait til you get to 2nd and 3rd year when you have Therapeutics." But I'm not worried about it at all!

 I hear people complaining of our science courses being hard and the exams questions being unfair. I hear about them staying up nights and weekends to study. I guess I understand where their frustration is coming from. We're taking 3 hard core science courses all at once now. We have 2 exams EACH and EVERY week, all at 7AM. Each of these exams requires you to look through more or less 100 pages of lecture notes (which are already a condensed form of the textbook). Not only read 100+ pages of lecture notes before each exam, but memorize fine details; such as different molecules, enzymes, hormones, diseases, anatomical structures and their functions.

Crazy, huh?

Yet I don't think I have gotten seriously frustrated over this stuff at all yet. I've been stressed and a little worried with the little amount of time we have for preparation, but never frustrated with the material. It's not because I'm some genius. I'm just motivated, well-organized, and most importantly, I'M LIKING WHAT I'M DOING. I really, truly enjoy school and learning about medicine and pharmacy, so I find a way to organize the material in such as way that makes it easy for me to study it. I keep up with the material by regularly taking my own hand-written notes from the dense lecture notes that we were required to buy. This way, I condense down the material to fewer pages of most important concepts and details. Also,  I learn through writing. Writing is an actual learning style. And it works for me! I can't just motionlessly sit in one spot and review material over and over again--I have to DO something with the material. So I write it down in my own words. When the exam comes, all I have to do is review my own notes once or twice, and I'm good to go. I don't have to freak out the day before the exam that I have to memorize 100+ pages worth of material. But, anyways, enough about that. I should probably head to bed, as I need to get up early tomorrow to drive to my rotation site. Every Wednesday, I shadow a pharmacist at Dominick's to get hands-on experience about what we are learning in the classroom :-)

I already have close to 2 years of pharmacy experience, as I've been volunteering since April 2010 at the pharmacy of this one Chicago clinic that provides free health-care and prescriptions to the poor/uninsured. I've also been working as a pharmacy technician for a little over a year at a huge chain merchandise/grocery store. Throughout those last 2 years, I've been testing my calling to become a pharmacist....And??? ...Well,  I found out that I really enjoy interacting with the patients that come to the pharmacy, answering their questions and concerns, and helping them re-solve certain issues...But more about my calling (vocation) in the future. That topic deserves a whole another post.

For now, goodnight!


Some more recent posts on pharmacy school: 

·      9/25/13 Here is a link to my follow-up post on my pharmacy school experience thus far as a 3rd year (P3) 
·      10/2/13 Medicinal Chemistry (aka Drug Structure) - the hardest course in pharmacy school
·      3/19/14 My post as I'm nearing the END of my pharmacy school experience: The End is Near: CPR/Immunization Training, Rotations, and other Pharmacy School Updates 
·      4/25/14 Diary of a PharmD Student

Posts about Pharmacy School Rotations  (4th year)

  • You can also click on the Pharmacy School label and read all the various posts which are sprinkled throughout with my pharmacy school experience!

Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy IV Sterile Lab
Downers Grove, IL

Let me know if you have any questions!



  1. i also want to be a pharmacist and i just started college yesterday. as of now, im going to a cuny college to do my perquisites for pharmacy school im prayin and hoping that i can make the straight As n get accepted to pharmacy school. it is also my prayer that pharmacy school does not break me down but keep going and also get good grades in pharmacy school. this information was helpful because it boosted up my confidence and spirit, thanks for sharing your experienced

  2. it is awesome to find someone else with the same study method, i also like to write my own notes in an effort to condense 100+ pages of notes, i can just have one sheet of hand written notes for 20+ pages of notes, it is much easier to study this way systematically. and i agree with u that willpower is such an important thing to have when taking heavy workloads, and time management is something that i am trying to improve. however, i am still lacking pharmacy experiences, was it difficult for you to find a pharmacy technician job? how did you go about find one? any tips? Thank you!

    1. My friend recommended me to her Pharmacy Manager and that is how I got my foot in the door. I am now a 3rd year pharmacy intern, so I am counseling patients!! It's fun!

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