Dear Incoming P3 Student,
Congratulations on completing your first two years of pharmacy school! The transition from the P2 to P3 year was the most exciting for me as a pharmacy student. It’s the point where I began to feel confident in my knowledge of the material I learned and the ability to counsel patients. It’s also the point that I realized that I was really going to graduate pharmacy school and have a career as a pharmacist. This may sound silly to some, but for me it was a turning point.
Prior to pharmacy school, I questioned my ability to be able to complete the coursework. I still questioned it even throughout the first year and some of the second. By year three, after two years of classes under my belt, it really sunk in that I would indeed be graduating with my Pharm D in two years. Four years of school was suddenly down to two and the first two seemed to fly by.
The third year of school in our curriculum is very exciting. After the end of the first semester, you will complete all of your pharmacotherapy classes. The day of the last pharmacotherapy final will feel amazing. I felt so full of knowledge and ready to use it. For this reason, I welcomed the opportunity to complete a third year rotation. It was incredibly nerve wracking to go into an actual rotation as a third year student. I realized, though, that I was prepared (knowledge-wise) for the rotation once I got into it. It was just a matter of learning how to utilize the knowledge I had learned in an appropriate way with preceptors and patients. The real-world experience in this rotation was fantastic and excited me even more for fourth year rotations. The second part of the third year that is exciting is the Capstone course that occurs after the third year rotation. For our class, it was ominous and overwhelming at first. It was the class that I was worried about the most because it encompasses most of what we have learned over the last three years. I think the entire class realized once we got into it that it was not as scary as we all thought. In fact, it was a great review, and the patient cases really helped with fourth year rotations as well. The curriculum completely prepares students for the Capstone course. Exams are very similar to previous exams. The only real difference is that the range of content is wider than in previous exams.
As a fourth year student, I have reflected on a number of things from my third year of school. The first are the experiences that I had with classes and instructors. The third year is a chance to explore areas of interest in pharmacy by way of elective courses. I would encourage students to explore multiple electives if schedules permit. It’s a great way to determine if a particular area of pharmacy is of interest to you. One of my regrets of my third year is that I took the minimum elective credits required. This is fine if you know exactly what you want to do for your career, but if you are on the fence at all, take this opportunity to delve into new material for specific areas of pharmacy. It may help you determine if residency in a specific area of pharmacy is something that interests you.
Another thing that I have reflected upon from my third year of pharmacy school is my relationship with my classmates and friends. This may sound odd so some, but nearing the end of pharmacy school is bitter-sweet for me. This is because, although I am excited to move on with my pharmacy career, I realized that all of my friends and classmates are doing the same as well. I have spent the last four years getting to know some really great people, both professors and peers. My peers and friends were essential for getting me to the point that I am today. Through group work and study groups, I am thankful to have met such amazing people throughout my pharmacy school journey. I encourage third year students to embrace this year with friends, peers, and professors. This is the last year that you will all be together for long periods. It will help in your fourth year as a student, and in your career as a pharmacist.
So enjoy this year as much as possible. Learn as much as you can from your classmates, preceptors and professors. I have so many great memories from this year and all the others, and I feel I have learned what it takes to be a great pharmacist. Good luck with your third year and future rotations. I know you will have a blast!
Sara Maichle, Doctor of Pharmacy Class of 2016