By Jeremy Obordo
Ever since elementary school, you have been in pursuit of your calling. You have learned a range of skills and acquired various traits that have gotten you where you are today. Your decisions turned into actions; your actions set you on your own distinct path to success. But the road is not always clear and sometimes you are forced to proceed in directions unknown. No matter the path, however, you always end up at your unique destination.
A setback yields opportunity
Coming into pharmacy school, I had no plans of holding leadership positions in organizations. I was so focused on getting into pharmacy school, I had not given any thought to leadership opportunities. I joined APhA–ASP because it seemed like an established organization that I could use as a platform to make an impact on the Jacksonville community. Through health fairs, community screenings, an unforgettable experience at a Midyear Regional Meeting, and building relationships with colleagues, I became enthralled with the organization. Eager and full of inspiration, I decided to run for president of our chapter.
The results of the election came in and I had lost. Although disappointing, I had lost to an amazing candidate and an even better friend. But I had also come to terms with the outcome because I decided this was not where my role in APhA–ASP ended. In fact, it had just begun. I had the honor of serving as a local operation co-chair for the next year. I helped create new events and extend the University of Florida College of Pharmacy’s influence in the Jacksonville area. I then went on to hold the role of the chapter’s APhA Annual Meeting Coordinator, where I helped plan the itinerary and was the point of contact for the trip to APhA 2018 in Nashville. Soon after, I was elected as our chapter’s Membership Vice President.
I hope to continue building my role in APhA–ASP because it has helped me focus on the kind of pharmacist I want to become. I never intended on holding these positions in APhA–ASP, but each time I faced a wind in the road, I figured out another way to get where I am now.
So no matter what challenges you face, always continue your pursuit of becoming the best pharmacist you can be. Here is some advice I would like to pass on.
1. Recognize your current position
You have made it to pharmacy school and it is easy to take for granted the hard work it took to get here. I often reflect on the barriers I had to overcome. Expectations of others, academic performance, and maintaining a social life, just to name a few. These kinds of things create blockades in the path to success. Each time you overcome one of these blockades, it builds a certain grit in your character that makes it easier to deal with the next time. Appreciate your current position as a young, ambitious student pharmacist. Knowing where you currently stand can help you work toward a greater calling.
2. The profession requires leadership
Great leaders are those who handle adversity the best. On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American man to play in the major leagues for the Brooklyn Dodgers. To accomplish this feat before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is incomparable. He is now an international symbol of equality and is celebrated by major league baseball with every player wearing his number, 42, on April 15. Robinson embraced the situation firm in his purpose because he knew what kind of impact his success would have on future generations. When you envision the kind of pharmacist you want to be, keep focused on that image. When the hard times come, know that your perseverance will keep you on track of becoming that image.
3. Don’t go at it alone
Build a team around you that can help you push through adversity. In tennis star Andre Agassi’s autobiography Open, he describes his battles with depression, drug abuse, and temperament that often got him in trouble on and off the tennis court. But this is Andre Agassi I am talking about. He has won every men’s singles major and he is an Olympic gold medalist. How can he accomplish so much while dealing with his adversity? He surrounded himself with people that loved him and wanted him to succeed—his best friend and trainer, his wife, his coach, and his kids all provided him with endless inspiration to be better.
Building a strong support group can push you through the toughest of challenges and help you hear your calling.