So I Applied To Pharmacy School

I actually did it! I applied to 4 pharmacy schools in my state!

Here is some back story…

As a child, I’ve always been interested in the health science field. Both of my parents were nurses, my grandmother was in charge of a health care building in Nigeria, and science had always been my favorite subject. I remember begging my mother to tell me stories about her patients when she would come back from work, and marveling at the fact that everyday, my mom was changing someone’s life.

In high school, I joined the health care professions track and took classes such as Medical Terminology and Intro to Health Care. These classes expanded with world of health science to me, and I knew that this was the field that I wanted to be in.

It was great, I was in the right building, but I couldn’t seem to find the right room. I had it in my mind that I wanted to do something in health care, but I didn’t really know what. I haphazardly fell into the lap of becoming a doctor. I watched House religiously, and the thought of working in scrubs, and talking to patients everyday excited me.

Then, something happened. My mom decided to go back to school to pursue her Pharm.D degree and suddenly a whole other world was opened. I saw her memorizing facts about prescriptions and their interactions with the body, talking to me about the medications I was already taking, there was a spark in her that I hadn’t seen before and I found myself wandering away from the doctor route.

Fast-forward to my freshman year of college, and I’m still on the doctor train. Thoughts of becoming the next Meredith Grey (but a little less whiny and a lot less drama) filled my mind. I started researching medical schools and preparing myself to sell my soul to student loans and the next ten years of schooling. My mom still tells me about her work as a new pharmacist, and I’m still intrigued.

Then I got sick and was in the hospital for quite some time. And while I was bedridden and unable to do much except for watch daytime television and adjust the incline of my hospital bed, I started thinking about the medications that were being administered to me everyday. I thought about what they looked like as molecules, how they were made, the process of making them and how many different medications there were for the same ailments.

It was at that moment that I knew that pharmacy was the room in the building of health care that I was looking for. I was so moved by the power that medication has to heal lives, and to give opportunities to people, who in any other situation, would not be able to live in a manner that is fulfilling. Medicine gives me the life that I am living right now, and I want to be able to do that for others as well. To help others is the greatest thing that one can do with their lives, and it is all I want to do with mine.

So, now here I am, two years later with my foot in the door to accomplishing my wildest dreams. As I went through the application process, stress, doubt and sadness were my constant companions. I felt disappointed in myself because many things hadn’t gone according to my life plan, and it felt like I was in a free-fall with my life shattering to pieces all around me.

There was a certain component of vulnerability that I wasn’t expecting to feel while going through the process. As I asked for letters of recommendation, and as I wrote my personal essay, I had to expose myself to the people around me in a way that I wasn’t used to.  I also had to grapple with my self doubt, thinking about whether my application was competitive enough to even submit to schools.

Then I visited the University of Texas and walked the halls of their pharmacy buildings. I imagined my mother walking the same halls before me, scurrying to class as thoughts of her education, her job, and her children bounced around in her brain. I thought of the motivation and persistence that she had to have had to go to school as a single mother, support me and my sister, and still keep her life together.

I thought about my life and how early it would have ended if advances in medicine hadn’t been made. I thought about the pains that I have been able to endure because of the prescriptions provided to me. I saw myself feasting on knowledge, scavenging for information, searching for ways to change the world one person at a time. And I knew in that instant, that it was worth it.

I knew that this was the calling of my life.

Pharmacy.

I can almost feel the white coat against my skin and I can hear the chiming of hospital equipment. I feel the urgency to start helping and to start healing. My love for this field has increased exponentially in the days since my campus visit, and I am so thankful for that. I know that I’m not out of the woods yet, I still need to get an interview, and also getting accepted is kind of necessity before I can be out in the real world of science. I still have four years of schooling to get through and a whole lot of experience to gain.

But I’m ready for it. I’m ready for the challenges and the triumphs for the struggles and the gains. Applying to pharmacy school as really tested me, but I think that I have come out with a new outlook on life. Hopefully I will get accepted into my dream school, but even if I don’t with future is still bright, and hope still exists.

I’m ready for this next adventure!

xo

Chid

 

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Third First Day of College

Good news! I survived the first day of college for the third time! As I walked up the hills to my class, I felt a sense of nostalgia for some reason. I realized that I was a junior in college, and it kind of hit me that I never actually planned for this part of my life. When I thought about being a “grown up” and being twenty, I didn’t really think about the fact that there was this in-between stage where I’m not where I want to be, but I’m also not in a bad place. I just hopped from graduating high school to graduating pharmacy school, and glossed over the middle part.

I also felt some sadness, because by now I thought I would’ve accomplished more in my life than I have already. I feel like I have ambitious thoughts, yet because of my fear of failure, I rarely pursue them. So then I’m left with a hollowness where a memory could have been.

Anyway, moving on from the sad part.

I knew that today was going to be a rough day because the night before, I slipped on my ottoman and scrapped/bruised my leg and hand right before I went to bed. As I laid stunned on the ground, I was overwhelmed with the feeling of loneliness. I didn’t have a roommate to ask me if  I was alright, or to laugh at my struggle, and it really made me miss my freshman year of college. Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s nice to have a room to myself, but thinking about all the memories that I made with Jeni, stirs up some feelings of longing. Just the knowledge that there is someone there at night to talk to, or to come back from class and see a familiar face  is something you don’t think about missing when you become an RA.

Okay, now seriously moving on to the happy part.

I woke up on time for my 8 am Microbiology lab all the way across campus. I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not. My hall is one of the most southern halls on campus, and the building where my class is held is located on the far side, it’s about a 15 or 20 minute walk uphill, depending on which direction the wind is blowing. I also got to talk to my mom on the phone while I walked, which helped pass the time. In my Microbiology lab, we dove right in and started with a simple lab of collecting samples, dyeing slides, and identifying structures of bacteria. I was really proud of myself because somehow I made it to my junior year of college without being proficient with a microscope, ( I can use one, obviously, but I always needed help finding exactly what I was looking for because I would over-adjust the coarse tuners) but today, I found the microbes all by myself! It was a small victory for me, and it just revamped my love for biology and the sciences in general.

Right after lab, I have Microbiology Lecture, and to my surprise a knew a lot of people in that class! A handful of my old residents from last year are in the class with me, and they still like me and were excited to see me! I also share the class with some people who where in my Organic Chemistry class with me last semester, and with one of my fellow RA friends who worked at the hall next to mine the year before. My professor is wonderful, and  I know that I will like her. She has a wonderful sense of humor, and I think I’ll be able to get an A in that class.

From the edge of campus, I had to basically run back towards center of campus for my Psych class. As I sped up the stairs, I tripped and fell on the stairs in front of about 30 people, how embarrassing! But it’s okay because I just got up and ran the rest of the way into my classroom. When I got there, I was a little bummed because I wanted to sit in the front, but because I was only 3 minutes early instead of 10, all of the front seats were taken, so I had to sit all the way in the back. But on the plus side, I got to sit next to a really nice girl who introduced herself to me, also two of my friends were also in that class! Since we only went over the syllabus, we  got out of class an hour early, which gave me time to eat lunch. Note: Don’t schedule a 3 hour lab, and 3 one and a half hour classes back to back with no lunch break. Anyway, since we got out of class early,  I got to eat!

During lunch, I ran into two of my friends who used to be RA’s and one friend who used to be an RA at the hall I currently reside in, who is at another hall. We talked about classes, training (the good and the bad), how things have changed, and on-call scheduling. This made me feel better about my life, because I began to realize how many connections that I had made through the RA position, and how it has positively affected my life. I’m an awkward person, and it is hard for me to make friends, but with position I’m kind of forced to meet new people. I keep bumping into them, training, in-service, and hall projects are mechanisms for forcing RA’s to know each other (in a nice, I have new friends way). I left my friends to head back to class and this is where it gets funny.

The building where my next class is, is located right next door to where my Microbiology lab + lecture is located, and where I’ve had my biology labs for the past three years. So my brain kind of went into autopilot as I headed down a familiar path and I ended up going to the right classroom number. I realized this with only three or so minutes left until my next lecture started, and I was panicking because I had awkwardly waited for an elevator to get to the third floor, and a hallway of people were watching me scramble and turn around.  I went down the stairs because I couldn’t face having the people who saw me exit the elevator go back into the elevator. I dashed into the right building and almost found my way to class when I got lost again!  As I looked for my classroom, a professor came up to me and asked me what I was looking for. I told her the room number and she replied, “Perfect, you’re with me! That’s where I’m going.” So I met my Physics professor that way.

Side Note: My Physics professor is THE COOLEST! I was thinking about switching lectures to Tuesday and Thursday lecture at a different time when she wouldn’t be teaching, but then I listened to her explain her passion and love for physics and her excitement motivated me! So I’m staying in the class! She has so much energy, and is so funny, I can’ wait to see how the semester goes. Regardless of the fact that she stressed the need to spend at least 15 hours a week studying for her one class, I’m still excited for the class.

After Physics, I was done for the day, so I went back downhill to my hall. I took some pictures with my first day of college banner that I made for my residents. I also went to my staff meeting, talked to my Cozy-Co about our LC calendar and talked to one of our LC residents about programs! All and all, it was a great first day!

xo

Chid

Staying Motivated In Hard Classes

Up until recently, school has never been too hard for me. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but in general I never had to worry about whether I would be getting the grade that I wanted  a class.

That however has changed since I started my freshman year. Now that I am taking harder Chemistry classes for my major, I have lost many countless hours of sleep, spent even more hours in my professor’s office hours and done piles and piles of homework.

It stinks to struggle in classes, and the burnout struggle is so real. As tempting as it is to call it quits, I’ve had to push through and kick myself in the butt to continue on in my classes.

 

  • Ask for help.

I am in my professor’s office every Monday and Wednesday to ask for help and clarifications. Honestly, I think he’s sick of me (and I have him for Organic Chemistry 2, so we’re going to be spending a lot of time together). But at the end of the day, I leave with a better understanding and I feel more comfortable with the material. Office Hours were created so that you can go ask questions, and the only one who loses by not going to office hours is you. Sometimes I go without any questions, but to listen to him re-explain things to other students. Building a relationship with the professor can help you stay motivated in your difficult class because they can make the class more bearable, and offer help.

One of the reasons why people lose motivation is because they feel like they are alone in their struggling. Study groups are a great way to get help and motivation. Knowing that you are not the only one struggling in the subject is totally reassuring. I know that in my O-Chem study group, we bonded over the fact that we were all completely lost in class, and that we all were not happy about the grades we got on the first exam, and it makes class more manageable. Sometimes it takes a peer to explain things, and study groups are also good for trading insider secrets such as mnemonics  or tricks to remember important concepts.

  • Find a way to make it fun.

Unless you are a mathematician, Calculus isn’t very appealing. But knowing how to optimize the volume of your closet you can have more clothes is cool.If you can find a way to relate the class into something you actually care about, whether it pertains to your major or an interest you have, then you’ll be more likely to study and get motivated to understand the concepts. I know that whenever I can relate a specific thing that I learn in chemistry to pharmacy, I get super excited and I want to know more.

  • Surround yourself with motivators.

Having intrinsic motivation is awesome, but we all need someone to tell us that we’re going to do alright. Having people who understand what you are going through and can push you to do better is super important. If they can’t help you with the course, they can listen to you rant about the subject, or be a Guinea pig that you “teach”.

 

  • Do the best you can.

At the end of the day, if you know that you did everything you can possibly do in the class, then no matter the grade, you’ve succeeded. Now, I know this is hard to believe, and when this was told to me, I didn’t believe it one bit. Sometimes it’s more about the effort that you put in, and not about the grade that you get. Letters are arbitrary, effort is not.

Knowing how you study and making sure you are honest with yourself about the amount of time you are studying is important. I know whenever I am studying for Organic Chemistry, every minute felt like an hour. Being persistent and making good habits won’t make the class any easier, but it will make you feel more like you are climbing a small hill, rather than scaling Mount Everest.

Good luck and happy studying! Don’t let the course bring you down!

xo

Chidi