The first year of pharmacy school could be very overwhelming at first. Remember, this isn’t the typical undergraduate program. This is a professional graduate program, and the career path to becoming an legitimate pharmacist in this country. With course after course, the first year students may be inundated with class projects, group activities, club/organization activities, class assignments, and even early exams depending on the professor. Many students may even have part-time jobs or internships in addition to their school work. So how does one manage their time in a way that they could best be in a position to succeed? Well, first of all you could be assured that you are not alone, and that all of your peers are going through the same pressures and struggles as anyone else. Upperclassmen have also gone through the same course loads and I’m sure are doing fine. Here are some tips or strategies to better manage your time.
For those that have part-time jobs, you may want to consider adjusting your work hours to allow enough time for you to succeed in your coursework or have time to rest. There are obviously many of you that know how to do everything well even with much school work and long work hours. But for those that need time to study and partake in group activities at school, may want to consider looking at their work hours if it is getting in the way of scoring a good grade on an exam or a project. You could always ask to readjust your hours once you are able to manage the rigors of pharmacy school life.
Set a schedule and time to preview and review your study materials in order to best prepare for classes and to avoid ‘cramming’ for an exam at the last minute. You may have more than four or five classes at a time, so set some time within each day, or days within a week to study each of the subjects. Previewing the material before the lecture will allow quicker understanding of the material when it is presented by the lecturer. Reviewing the material will allow better retention of the material.
For those that participate in so many activities that it is almost impossible to have enough allotted time to study or spend time on projects may want to consider whether the benefits of partaking in those activities outweigh the risks of performing substandard on an exam or a project.
If the struggles of pharmacy school life are affecting you emotionally or mentally, you should take some time to relax or even schedule an appointment with your school mentor or counselor who could offer suggestions on how to cope with those struggles.
For those that need help with understanding the complex material presented in class, perhaps you should join a study group or seek tutoring services on those subjects. Study groups are a great way to meet and get to know your peers, and who could also offer study tips that you may not be aware of. Many schools also offer tutoring centers, matching you with upperclassmen who are well versed in the subject matter. If these services are offered, taking advantage of them are great bonus for you and your success.
After a few weeks or maybe months, most people will become well adjusted to the often hectic life of the pharmacy school student. As you learn more and gain experience, you may develop your own system to gauge when you should study, how much time you need to study, as well as when and how much you are able to participate in extracurricular activities and set some time to relax and rest.