Student Pharmacist

Written by student pharmacists for student pharmacists, Student Pharmacist magazine provides the latest on career preparation, leadership, legislative activities and advocacy efforts, patient care projects, APhA–ASP Chapter innovations, life on rotation, tips from new practitioners, and more.

Online Exclusive: Next steps
Jamila Negatu
/ Categories: Student Magazine

Online Exclusive: Next steps

By “Ami”

As I left off before the holidays, I had just wrapped up my last pharmaceutical industry fellowship program interviews at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting & Exposition. A silent cloud fell over the life of “Ami” as employers regrouped to discuss the next steps for their candidates. I was walking along Santa Monica pier when I received my fourth and final onsite interview offer. Who? Me? Are you sure? I was astonished that different groups and partner companies were willing to give me the opportunity to meet their teams onsite and interview with them. This was an incredibly humbling moment to realize that my hard work and dedication over the past 5 and half years were coming to fruition.

As the holidays picked up, I mellowed out and placed the preparation on the back burner to spend some well-deserved quality time with my family. Come the second day of 2019, and I was off like a rocket ship. East Coast to West Coast to the barren lands of the Midwest, the journey of onsite interviews was amazing! The hospitality of current fellows and program preceptors combined with the fresh conversations with senior staff members were so inspiring. I was humbled by the sheer number of individuals who had taken the time out of their schedules to meet with me and answer so many of my questions.

You know how people always talk about the “fit”? Well, I never understood what that meant or if it was real until my onsite interviews. As I met unfamiliar but like-minded individuals, strolled around various different campuses, and traveled to new cities, I started to daydream. I wondered, hmm, what will my life look like here 1 year from now?

Decisions, decisions
The fellowship process is somewhat different from the residency process. After onsites, no official ranking has to be completed, except the one in your heart and your head. You do not have to wait in anticipation for Match Day. When you find out, the ball is in your court.

I was blessed with a choice—a choice of where and with whom I would kick-start my career and begin contributing to the profession and patients as a pharmacist. The freedom to choose is accompanied by a lot of thinking, more thinking, and overthinking. So, I did what I do best—I made a list of priorities. Check it out. 

1. Manager. Which preceptor will go above and beyond for my growth and development as an individual and professional? Who will be my advocate, my confidant?
2. Team/Company culture. Do your values and passion align with those of the individuals on your team? Do you find yourself drawn to the organization’s style? Are you able to envision yourself here after your program concludes?
3. Role/Position. Are you up for the challenge? Are you being challenged? Does your position or role incorporate programs and projects that will not only build your skill set but also put you in the growth mindset?
4. Geography. How far am I willing to go from home?
5. Salary. Usually when you have signed on to apply for postgraduate programs, you have accepted that sometimes, it is more about the experience. Definitely consider the prospects upon completion of your program, but overall, go for the experience.
This might be easier for me to say, compared with my peers and friends who are currently interviewing for residency programs or full-time jobs. When you look at your postgraduate plans, I hope you keep all these things in mind and be truly honest with yourself. What did I do? I confided in my mentors, talked to my advisors, chatted with my parents, sought advice from my elder sisters, and asked myself: “Where do you honestly see yourself?”

The best advice I got from one of my most respected mentors regarding my choice: Make it. Stick by it. Don’t look back. And guess what? I made my choice, and I cannot wait to start this new chapter.

Seeking sage advice
To my always-helpful preceptor feedback author, I learned from this experience that the decision to choose the first job after graduation is the first of many decisions. What advice do you give to your mentees as they undergo this process? How did you reach your decision while you were a final-year student pharmacist? What other pivotal decisions have you made in your life, aside from the first job decision?

Until next time, friends. Hope you enjoyed APhA2019 in Seattle as much as I did ... maybe we passed by each other in the Convention Center?

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