For the new pharmacy school students who are about to enjoy their last summer before embarking on a long journey, here are some tips you could use to prepare yourself before and throughout pharmacy school. In prior days, pharmacy school students were seen lugging around book bags or even luggages of thick, heavy textbooks to classes and between classes. Needless to say, these books are taxing to the body due to the ever-expanding and changing material found in them. Books are also expensive, and those that prefer to read and hold in their hands (or arms) the pages of a book could probably be better served by checking to see if those same books are available at some used book repository online or asking upperclassmen if they are available for purchase from them. Keep in mind the publication year and editions of the textbook, as they tend to be updated frequently. As new drugs are continually being added to the pharmacy shelves, their information will also need to be updated in textbooks as well. Therefore, buying textbooks each year may seem like a waste of money, as older editions will quickly be obsolete. Fortunately in these modern times, online versions of these textbooks may be available. They have the advantage of being readily updated as opposed to lag time associated with book publications, as well as improved availability online which is accessible with a student’s laptop, or other mobile devices. They also have improved search capabilities compared to the time wasted searching the index for the page numbers of relevant keywords in a textbook. Therefore, it may be a good idea in saving time and money for utilizing online versions of textbooks if available. For those that prefer the actual hand-held textbooks, look to used versions to cut costs. Keep in mind that certain editions may be updated frequency.
Pharmacy schools are filled with courses that may require much memorization in order to succeed. There are many drugs to learn about, and new drugs that are being added each year. Knowing the particulars of each and every drug could be a great hurdle for some, which is why working in a retail pharmacy setting may assist students without making it seem like what one would call ‘studying’. Students who regularly dispense the drug and can see the product with their own eyes, and handle the order entry of the drug’s dosages, instructions, insurance claims into the computer system will greatly enhance one’s experience and exposure with new and common medications. Reading the patient handouts that accompany the drug product, as well as listening to patient counseling from the pharmacists will also assist with the retention of information through repetition. This may make some aspects of actual schoolwork easier, and will allow quicker understanding of the concepts taught in their courses. For those that do not have any retail experience prior to pharmacy school, it may be a good idea to consider applying for a retail pharmacy position.
Lastly, networking with other pharmacy students and partaking in club activities will help one to progress smoothly during the years in pharmacy school. Forming study groups will benefit each individual from the perspectives of others. Seeking a mentor in a professor or upperclassmen will allow one to have private one-on-one access to someone who has more experience and tips for success. Joining pharmacy associations and attending meetings will allow access to important resources and support not otherwise had without membership. More importantly, it will enable one to immediately network with scores of others, which may bode well in their future endeavors with job referrals, internships, residencies, and fellowships.