It's now near the end of October. And Thanksgiving cannot get here soon enough. Yet another night of less than three hours of sleep in preparation for a pharmaceutics exam. Why not start studying earlier? Well, when you have a biochem exam, followed by an immunology exam, followed by a case studies report, followed by a med terms exam, intermixed with calculations and lab practical exams, finally leading to a pharmaceutics exam, all in succession, there is no such thing as studying ahead of time. Sleep? Oh how I miss thee. One too many days of studying until midnight, sleeping until 3am, and then waking up to hit the books again. Shows like Scrubs that dramatize the amount of work and limited sleep health care students face aren't too far off. You have to want
to be a health care professional to get through these conditions. And sometimes it feels like a younger man's game.
My closest friends have been coffee and beer. Coffee during weeks of unmanageable exams followed by weekends of drinking to restore some semblance of sanity. Lather, rinse, repeat. The most interesting development is I have been rushing a professional pharmacy fraternity, Kappa Psi. I never did the fraternity thing in undergrad, so this is been a fun and welcoming experience. Because only pharmacy students can be brothers, all understand the rigors of pharmacy education, and while there's limited time for fun, when there is
time a LOT of fun is had. Brothers have also been amazing in providing study sessions, guidance, tips, and even general support when times get tough, so I'd be far worse off having not discovered the many benefits of pharmacy fraternity brotherhood.
Overall I'd say pharmacy school is enlightening, exciting, rigorous, but also unforgiving, humbling, and exhausting. I used to think I was pretty damn smart, but in a room full of 99 of the top pharmacy students? Let's say it has been humbling more than anything, at least academically. However, my focus has been more on leadership than just academics as I feel it will benefit me more professionally. I'm already serving as class president for the class of 2016, and I'm considering running for president elect for either APhA or Kappa Psi. I may hold off on adding another leadership position until next year, but participating in leadership roles should also hopefully qualify me for Phi Lambda Sigma, the national pharmacy leadership society. Rho Chi, the pharmacy honors fraternity, has become a distance memory, but PLS is a very real and worthy possibility.
Back to pharmaceutics. Oh how I despise pharmaceutics. Not necessarily the material, but the manner in which it is tested. I wish that someday an instructor will ask a straight question to test our knowledge. But we're instead asked questions we've never seen before, in a manner meant to challenge and confuse, to qualify just how well we know the material. Imagine working through 15 practice exams from the last 10 years, only to arrive at your current exam to find that you might as well have been practicing for a basketball game all week and when you arrive at the stadium you learn you're about to play a game of cricket.
Ultimately this will obviously benefit the patient, but right now it's like being kicked in the word-hole over and over again without any time to breathe.
I mainly just needed to get a bit of that out. Being away from my wife, dogs, close friends, home, and general support system back in Phoenix has only made this experience even more challenging. You don't realize just how important close people are (especially your spouse or even two loving dogs to greet you after a particularly taxing day), until they're gone (even if only temporarily). On top of that my wife leaves for South Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand for the next month in about five hours, arriving back in the states the day before Thanksgiving, so I won't be able to see or even speak with her until I return home for the holiday, and I am unable to see her off due to having a pharmaceutics exam in three hours.
You ever feel like you're facing an insurmountable challenge all by yourself, even if you might not be entirely alone? Yeah, I think it's time for another cup of coffee. And after finishing my two-hour pharmaceutics exam I can start thinking about my creatinine clearance quiz in calculations.