APhA Student Leadership Award recipient: Olivia Waters
Interview with: Olivia Waters, Union University College of Pharmacy
1. As you reflect on your student pharmacist experience thus far, what are some of your favorite memories?
So many good memories come to mind when I reflect on my experience thus far. I remember the joy I experienced when I was nominated for my first leadership position; when our APhA–ASP Chapter Advisor saw my passion and encouraged me to attend APhA’s Annual Meeting in Seattle; when I got the phone call informing me that I had been appointed to the Awards National Standing Committee. I remember the relief I felt after submitting the chapter’s annual report.
However, my most cherished memories revolve around the relationships I have formed along the way, especially at the Summer Leadership Institute (SLI). SLI brought together students from different places, with different perspectives and experiences, and bonded us all through our love for APhA–ASP and the pharmacy profession. We were able to learn and grow together throughout that week. We shared thoughts, ideas, passions, hopes, and dreams. We made deep, lasting connections. My memories of this experience and the individuals I met continue to inspire me daily.
2. Pharmacy school is demanding, especially when you add other activities. How do you manage all your responsibilities?
When I first started pharmacy school, time management was not one of my strengths! My first semester saw many failures when it came to keeping things on track. I had to develop my own way of staying organized, and I continue to cultivate this skill daily. Now my life revolves around my Calendar app and to-do lists. I write everything down on a sticky note or immediately enter an event or note in my Calendar app.
With the app, no matter what electronic device I’m on, I’ll always have access to my calendar or be able to receive a notification about an activity or event! On a day-to-day basis, sticky note to-do lists tend to keep my life organized and help me manage my time more efficiently. I usually just attach the sticky note on my computer or whatever I’m currently working on. Checking off a task is always so satisfying!
3. What are some of your favorite leadership tools and/or resources?
I love a good TedTalk! They can be so inspiring and motivational. One that has stuck with me is “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable” by Luvvie Ajayi Jones. It talks about being a domino, being a troublemaker, and being fearless. I also love Myers-Briggs and Clifton StrengthFinders. These provide insight into not only my own strengths as a leader but also those I serve alongside.
Ultimately, my favorite resource is the leaders who surround me: advisors, pharmacists, student pharmacists. All influence me as a leader, and I am forever thankful for the impact they have had on my life and leadership.
4. What does being a leader, and being selected for this award, mean to you?
Being a leader means being a servant. I have come to realize that the best leaders serve the people they lead. Being a leader also means setting an example, not being afraid to take action, and continuously growing.
Being selected for this award means the world to me. I am humbled. I look at the leaders who previously received this award and am in awe because I do not feel as though I compare. And I am thankful. Having the opportunity to serve APhA–ASP has helped me grow beyond what I could have imagined. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for my advisors, mentors, friends, and family helping me along the way.
5. What’s next for you?
Next up are APPEs. I was able to begin my APPE rotations in February of 2021 and am very excited to learn from some phenomenal pharmacists. I am honored to also be serving on the Awards National Standing Committee this coming year and can’t wait to continue my involvement in APhA–ASP!