Why I’m returning for my second annual meeting
As I reflect on the 2017 APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition in San Francisco, I can vividly recall experiencing a variety of emotions before, during, and after attending. During the months leading up to the meeting, my thoughts had become speculative in nature as I had attempted to imagine the ambience within the Moscone Convention Center: the sights, the sounds, the experiences. As a first-year student pharmacist attending my first APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition: Would I be able to network with others? Would I be able to share my ideas to others? Would I be able to learn from others?
Inspired and informed
Throughout the meeting, I was truly inspired by those who were passionate about helping individuals within their community and those that were eager to share their experiences in order to encourage fellow student pharmacists. During the APhA–ASP Opening Ceremony, Keynote Speaker Alex Sheen had emotionally moved the audience with personal stories and remarks about keeping promises. I was also able to watch Daniel Hussar, PhD, a professor at my school, receive the Remington Honor Medal.
During the next several days, I attended various workshops that aligned with my interests. As the 2016–17 Operation Heart Coordinator of my APhA–ASP Chapter, I shared my ideas with other students and additionally gained novel perspectives on organizing events at the patient care workshop. In fact, a fellow Operation Heart Coordinator had encouraged me to create educational brochures with information about secondary causes of hypertension, in addition to primary causes, for patients at health fairs. It is highly recommended to attend one of these leadership workshops if you are interested in applying for or interested in learning about APhA–ASP leadership positions.
Don’t be shy
As I walked through the APhA Exposition, I was awestruck by the number of pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and community pharmacies that were in attendance. By attending the exposition, student pharmacists have an extraordinary opportunity to find potential employment, residencies, fellowships, internships, and even engage in an enlightening conversation.
You should not be shy to engage in conversation with these representatives, as they ultimately want to help further your development as a student pharmacist.
It is essential to also note the importance of attending your university’s alumni reception. Throughout these receptions, you will have the opportunity to interact with professors and notable alumni, all of whom have been successful in their careers. The alumni that I had interacted with were pleased to hear about updates regarding newly constructed lecture halls and were able to share their experiences and fond memories while attending the university. It also is an ideal opportunity to reflect on the successes of your APhA–ASP Chapter and seek recommendations from alumni on potential events or initiatives.
During the plane ride home to Philadelphia, I reflected on all of the memories that had been made and friendships that had been formed. I felt very fortunate to have had the opportunity to explore a new city, but also, explore my professional interests as a future pharmacist. All student pharmacists have the opportunity to grow in order to deliver the highest level of care to patients in the future, and the APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition is a fantastic training ground in which to prepare.
Ready to reconnect
Throughout APhA2018, I am looking forward to reconnecting with many of the student pharmacists who I had interacted with during last year’s meeting and am excited to hear about the ways in which student pharmacists have had an impact on their communities.
Define your role. Find your “why.” And Begin Your Legacy at APhA annual meetings!
Eric Simpson is a second-year PharmD candidate at the University of the Sciences Philadelphia College of Pharmacy.