A year of telling stories
FROM YOUR NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
March in San Francisco was warmer than I expected, being used to the chill back home in Ohio. As the 2017 APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition was nearing its last day, I could feel spring coming and a rejuvenation of our community. As I finished the last line of my speech during the final session of the APhA–ASP House of Delegates, I watched the ripple move over the crowd as my fellow student pharmacists stood. We felt the energy in the room that day and knew that movement would be the spark igniting our passion during this year.
It has been a year of ups and downs for our community across this country, but I truly believe that this year has been focused on hope: hope for what we can personally become someday and hope for where we will drive the profession in the future.
Over the past year, steps have been taken in the right direction, but thinking about more than just this year, it is easy to see how far we have truly come. When APhA was founded more than 160 years ago, pharmacists could not practice at half of what can be today, but the great leaders that came before saw the potential that the profession could grow into. Then, nearly 50 years ago, the Student American Pharmaceutical Association (now APhA–ASP) was formed because they could see that careers don’t begin at graduation, they begin the moment we become student pharmacists. And this year, that legacy of advancement has continued as we each began our individual stories.
Inspiration not a one-way street
It has been a year of telling stories. Stories of dreams and aspirations and how we are taking steps to reach them, and stories of where we have come from and the people who left a lasting legacy in us. Student pharmacists have told me many stories about who has inspired them throughout this year, including parents, grandparents, mentors, professors, and even fellow student pharmacists from their chapters. But inspiration is not a one-way street. Every day through the work that we do in our careers and in our communities, we inspire those around us.
We may think of a legacy as one grand moment that defines our lives, but I don’t think it’s that simple. We have seen this year that a legacy is made up of the millions of moments in our everyday life and what we choose to do with those moments.
Making the right choice
Even though it may have been difficult in the moment, student pharmacists made the right choice this year as they rose up as the leaders their communities needed them to be. This was evident across the country, especially at APhA–ASP chapters in Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Marie.
As destruction savaged these regions, student pharmacists stood strong, organizing events to provide care and resources to those who needed it. Even months later, when some of our peers still did not have electricity, they continued to devote themselves to the care of their communities. That is servant leadership. That is the character that makes up our community. That is what makes me proud to be a member of this APhA family.
Student pharmacists may not have been thinking about their legacy when they did what they have done this past year, but because of the choices they made every day to better those around them, they have left a legacy in the lives that they have touched. That story does not end with this year.
Continue your legacy
This year we have taken a step toward our dreams for the future, but we must continue this journey. Know that you always have a place in this APhA family and that we will always support each other as we reach for personal and professional goals. Continue to be inspired by the passion that your peers have shown this year as they dreamed the big dreams and took advantage of this moment.
To have been a part of this Academy this year has been the great honor of my life thus far, and if I could leave one message, it would be this: You are brilliant and strong, and can make whatever dream you have a reality. You can accomplish anything with your APhA family by your side. So, stay involved. Stay inspired. Stay committed to this fight. Keep this hope alive in your hearts and continue to live your legacy each and every day.
E. Michael Murphy is a final-year PharmD candidate at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy and the 2017–18 APhA–ASP National President.