Amy Thurston, Class of 2020, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Prior Education: Bachelor’s degree – Chemistry, Virginia Commonwealth University
If you could have any superhero power, what would it be and why?
I would have to choose the ability to be in more than one place at once. Not only would it help my productivity by being able to truly multi-task, but it would also help with my FOMO (fear of missing out)! I hate having to choose between two activities and events when both are ones that I would like to go to!
What three words best describe you?
Sporty, fun-loving, perfectionist
When you were younger – what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was younger I always wanted to be an elementary school teacher! I was a very practical youngster apparently since most young kids aspire to be things like firefighters or astronauts.
How did you get interested in pharmacy?
I originally became interested, or fascinated is more like it, with medications and how they worked when I was in middle school. I thought, how can this tiny thing have an effect on my body? That was a pretty amazing concept for a 12-year-old. And instead of my curiosity decreasing, it continued to grow. After really enjoying and excelling in biology and chemistry classes in high school, I committed fully to wanting to pursue pharmacy as a career with the knowledge that I could do it.
What experience/class/activity from undergrad best prepared you for pharmacy school?
I think what best prepared me for pharmacy school wasn’t just one particular class or experience, but a combination of things. The number one thing was having a rigorous and busy schedule. I tried to be involved in multiple organizations, worked 2 part-time jobs, and took a full course load. This taught me how to manage my time well and have a good work-school-social balance. Having these time management skills mastered has proven to be invaluable in handling my pharmacy workload!
What advice would you give a prospective students interested in pharmacy?
Use all of the resources available to you! There are so many current students, admissions representatives, and practicing pharmacists that are willing to give advice if you just ask. And another piece of advice would be to not compare yourself to others; don’t be discouraged from applying to a school just because your GPA isn’t as good as someone else’s or you feel you don’t have as much pharmacy experience as someone else. Just be confident in what YOU can do and what YOU have accomplished because everyone is different and has varying strengths and weaknesses.
Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
When I came to interview for Candidate’s Day in November, I was completely blown away by all that the school had to offer and how smoothly the whole day went. I learned so much about the new curriculum and the various opportunities available to students at all levels. The early immersion opportunities offered after the PY1 year and throughout the PY2 and PY3 years set UNC apart from all other pharmacy programs in the country. The global aspect and alliance UNC has with programs in London and Australia was also appealing, as the prospect of doing a rotation abroad and seeing how pharmacy works in a different country would be very eye-opening. The sessions that demonstrated how a flipped classroom worked were also very informative and I liked the unique teaching methods demonstrated. In addition to that, everyone from the school that I met and interacted with was incredibly nice and so enthusiastic about the school. Plus, UNC is the best (literally) pharmacy school to attend! .
What has been the most challenging part of pharmacy school?
The most challenging part thus far in my first year has been getting used to the amount of pre-class work required for the flipped classroom design. There are always readings or assignments or lecture videos to watch and complete before class and that is very different from undergraduate courses. However the flipped classroom format is very beneficial because then in class we can spend time focusing on problem areas from the pre-class work and then applications of the knowledge.
What makes for a successful pharmacy student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
A successful student here would be one that knows how to adapt to a given situation. Classes here are different than from undergrad so it may be necessary to employ some new study strategies, take notes differently, or put some extra time into re-watching lectures. A successful student also knows their limits and chooses to invest their time in organizations that really speak to them instead of getting involved in everything but only on a surface level. Balance is key- be sure to get enough sleep, be social, exercise, and get all your work done so it is important to manage time well and stay organized.
Have more questions for Amy? Feel free to send her an email: email@example.com