Meet Vivian! She loves shopping, had to re-learn how to study to be successful in pharmacy school, and is still trying to figure out what type of pharmacist she wants to be.
Vivian Cheng, Class of 2018, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Boston, MA
Prior Education: 3 years, Bachelor’s degree, UNC Chapel Hill
If you could have an endless supply of any one type of food, what would you choose?
Without a doubt I would eat sushi for the rest of my life. You can basically satisfy all the major food groups with sushi, there are so many different kinds that will keep you from getting bored, its pretty to look at, and its just plain tasty.
If you had one extra hour each day, how would you use it?
If I had one extra hour each day I’d use it to go shopping. I love shopping. A lot. After sleeping and studying and its probably the next thing I spend most of my time on. If I could do anything in the world I think I’d be a personal shopper, especially because I’m already doing it for my friends!
What would you change about your undergraduate studies and/or preparing for pharmacy school?
I wish I was more flexible going into pharmacy school with my studying habits. I did well in my undergraduate classes, and I got used to the techniques I used to study then. However, those techniques were not the best for pharmacy school. I did not have many classes where the professor used the flipped-classroom technique, so I was used to just having the professor tell me what I had to know, and then doing the homework problems on my own. In pharmacy school, many of my professors utilize the flipped-classroom technique. This required a lot more initiative and responsibility on my part to really read/watch the material before class, so that I could be prepared to participate in the in-class case discussions. At first, I thought I could get away with minimal effort in the pre-class work, but I learned quickly that I had to adjust my studying style in order to succeed in pharmacy school. There is a lot of material to learn, and it becomes harder and harder to catch up once you get behind.
What advice would you give a prospective students interested in pharmacy?
Go shadow as many pharmacists as you can! It is so critical to go out and spend a few hours in a pharmacist’s shoes to really help you figure out if pharmacy is right for you. Pharmacy school is long and demanding, so you want to make sure you’re really invested in spending at least 4 more years in school for something you are truly passionate about. Shadowing will give you a chance to see what being a pharmacist is like, and to see all the various types of pharmacists there are.
What has been the most challenging part of pharmacy school?
For me, the most challenging part of pharmacy school is not knowing what kind of pharmacist I want to be yet while some of my friends already know what they want to do. With all the student organizations, shadowing opportunities, and rotations, I’ve been exposed to so many fields within pharmacy and they all sound interesting to me. Thus, remaining patient and knowing that I will eventually find what I really want to do has been quite challenging.
What area of pharmacy is most interesting to you?
Currently I am very interested in ambulatory care pharmacy. I like that it incorporates the clinical knowledge required in a hospital setting as well as the longitudinal patient aspect that retail pharmacies provide. I look forward to the idea of being able to regularly see my patients in a clinic and really get to know them, while managing their medications to make sure their disease states are controlled and that they are comfortable.
What makes for a successful pharmacy student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
A successful pharmacy student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy has to be driven, adaptable, and passionate. The academics are rigorous and require a lot of proactive work, so a successful student needs to be able to know how to best utilize his/her resources to succeed in class. Additionally, there will be many obstacles to overcome while in school. Many students pick up part-time jobs and leadership opportunities, but will still want to do well in school and hang out with friends. Also, there will always be an exam or assignment you don’t do as well on as you would have liked, or other challenges along the way. So, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy students need to be adaptable and be able to adjust to the dynamic, volatile environment that is graduate school. Finally, successful students need to be passionate. There are so many opportunities to learn and grow as a future pharmacist both while you’re in school and when you graduate, so one really needs to be able to take the initiative and seek out those chances in order to succeed.
Have more questions for Vivian? Feel free to send her an email: firstname.lastname@example.org