Hi, everyone. My name is Caleb, and I am a rising P2 at PCSP. Our first year of pharmacy school is officially finished, and it went by more quickly than I thought it would! It was a wonderful year, and though I am ready for a break this summer, I am excited to return in the fall and continue on this great journey.
I remember that I was a little anxious about starting pharmacy school this time last year. I didn’t know if there was something I should do over the summer to prepare, if I should try to find a job as soon as I got to school, how much studying I would be doing every day once school started, etc. For the most part, all of the answers to these questions will vary based on the individual, but I did want to offer my perspective on them.
In retrospect, I honestly don’t feel as though there was anything I could have done over the summer to prepare for pharmacy school. You will build on the prerequisite courses which you have already taken and learn how those concepts apply to pharmacy. One thing that I think could be mastered over the summer to help lighten the load of your first semester would be to learn the trade and generic names for the top 200 drugs. If you get this knowledge down over the summer, it will free up some of your study time for your tougher conceptual classes like biochemistry or immunology.
With regards to working, I did not have a job during my first semester of pharmacy school. I wanted to be free to devote myself to studying as much as I needed to be successful as I adjusted to the rigors of pharmacy school, and it worked for me. I finished the semester quite successfully and had a grasp on how I needed to study. So, I took an internship position with Walgreen’s during the second semester when I knew that I would be able to handle it on top of school. The pharmacists at work are always considerate of my schedule and willing to work with me so that I can work when I have the time available, which is typically weekends and school breaks.
With regards to studying, the best strategy is to study a little bit each day. I typically spent two hours going over notes every day after class. While this may seem like a big time investment initially, it really pays off when exam time comes around because I didn’t have to try to cram for tests, which is stressful and inefficient.
I hope these tips help you as you prepare to start your first year of pharmacy school!