Take that leap
Kennedy M. Erickson is a third-year PharmD candidate at the Washington State University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the 2021–22 APhA–ASP National President-elect.
As we head back to school or continue through rotations, I would like to share my journey and the leaps I have taken with APhA–ASP in the hope it will inspire you to start thinking about how you would like to challenge yourself during your own journey this year.
On my first day of pharmacy school, I saw the advertisement for an APhA–ASP Policy Committee meeting, and I decided to take a leap and attend. Looking back now, I cannot express how pivotal this meeting was to me and how it has impacted my pharmacy school experience. At this meeting, I learned about the APhA–ASP Policy Capsule, leadership opportunities within the Academy, and how we as student pharmacists can work together to shape the future of our profession. I remember the awe and inspiration I felt when learning about the various platforms APhA–ASP offers for student pharmacists to have a voice, and the strong desire I felt to help students connect and advocate for our patients and profession.
Beyond the comfort zone
My eagerness to get involved did not go unnoticed. Through the support of leaders within our chapter, I decided to push myself beyond my comfort zone and made a goal to speak at the Open Hearing of Proposed Resolutions as well as run for Regional Member-at-large.
In preparation for the Open Hearing of Proposed Resolutions and the elections, I studied former resolutions, researched information pertaining to the current resolutions, reviewed the APhA–ASP Policy Capsule, and developed a platform that I was passionate to share with other student pharmacists. My enthusiasm for APhA–ASP and pharmacy deepened as I learned about how far the profession has come since the association was established and how we as students can grow it even further. Upon arriving to the conference, I was amazed to see the community that presented itself and was touched by how quickly I was brought in and shown the utmost support throughout the election process.
I learned even more about the different niches of pharmacy by attending professional development workshops, and I became more confident in public speaking after presenting my ideas at the Open Hearing of Proposed Resolutions. Prior to this conference, public speaking had always scared me. I could hardly believe the growth I saw within myself in the span of one weekend.
Although I did not win the election, I am grateful I had the opportunity to grow as a person, as a professional, and as a leader. This experience showed me how valuable it is to our growth to take risks, and it inspired me to take even more! The following semester, I ran for the chapter President-elect position… and I got it! Through this position, I fell in love with the Academy, especially after being able to provide care to underserved communities and witnessing how we as student pharmacists worked locally to dismantle racism and social inequalities within our country.
Try something new
After witnessing acts of hatred and seeing how this pandemic has only exacerbated social inequalities within the health care system and our communities at large, I decided to take another leap and run for National President-elect. I ran with the platform of creating a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee for student pharmacists if elected, with the hope that it will create another platform for students to have a voice: to listen, learn, and advocate for equity and justice in all aspects of our lives.
With that story in mind, I challenge you to try something new this fall and reflect on how it changes you! Attend a meeting you know nothing about, run for a leadership position, host an event your chapter has never done before… you never know how much you might get out of the experience if you don’t take the leap.