Summer break is coming to an end, and for most PharmD students who are about to enter pharmacy school for the first time, much anticipation and preparation are about to begin. For most, unless the school provides an accelerated program, students have maybe a few weeks before they begin a new adventure in their lives, something they are unlikely to forget for the rest of their lives. For the next three or four years, the training, education, and experience one receives may the biggest influence in their future pharmacy careers, and the this experience may produce lasting friendships, and even marriages! Although the first day or week of school could give the sense of anxiety or jitters, it may be the beginning of a new and fun adventure, albeit hard work.
It is common to feel uneasy and anxious on the first day of school. Most people may not know anyone in their class, except for some who have applied and enrolled together. This goes even more so more out of state or out of the country students who know absolutely no one and can be frightening. For those that fit this criteria, do not fret! This is completely normal as it is when a young student attends a new school for the first time after moving to a new city or foreign place. The bright side is, most people are older and professional. There probably is no school lunch cafeteria, the same you would see in a high school. There is most likely ‘a’ cafeteria for graduate students but this is not the same. It is okay to eat by yourself as you are a grown-up now and who cares? Although making an effort to eat with others is recommended as this may enhance your joy and comfort in the new setting.
The first day of pharmacy school is usually filled with orientation materials, photos, introductions from pharmacy school leadership as well as administration, ice-breaker activities, free lunches, receptions, presentations from various organizations, etc. Enjoy this time and try to meet others. Most people feel the same way as you and are afraid to introduce themselves. Try to take this opportunity to be brave, and introduce yourself to others as most would be willing to have someone come over and talk to them. The person you meet may be your new best friend, study partner, spring vacation buddy, future job referral, or even your future spouse! Be kind and courteous to everyone and try not to talk negatively about others, especially behind their back!
Yes, on the first day you may observe a lot of people are on their ‘A’ game and may display type ‘A’ characteristics. They have to appear intelligent, ambitious, driven, and serious. That is fine, and it is important to act professionally. But remember to relax, as this is a three or four year commitment. In the first day, week, or even month you may observe uneasy classmates who ‘size’ up others and are difficult to work with. That is fine as some people take time to get used to; but after months and years of tough exams and long study hours, they may lighten up to the fact that it is a long road ahead and it is in their best interest to get along with others. In actuality, pharmacy school goes by quicker than most think. After graduation, you will be off to your post-pharmacy careers and that is when life comes at you really fast. The friends and teachers you meet will not be available to assist you, and for some you may never see again for a long time. Therefore, relax and enjoy this time while working hard in school. Take every opportunity to meet others and attend meetings and receptions. A PharmD degree may be the goal of every student, but meeting and networking with others should be a secondary goal. How well your experience will be for the next few years is in your hands, and you have the power to make it exciting and new.