Amanda Searls, Class of 2020, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Green Brook, NJ
Prior Education: Bachelor’s degree – Pharmaceutical Sciences , University of Michigan
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
If I could go anywhere in the world I would go to Japan. My grandmother is from Japan and I would love to go and meet some of my relatives!
When you were younger – what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was younger I wanted to be a chef! I still enjoy cooking and trying out new recipes. I like to use cooking as a stress reliever when I need a study break:)
How did you get interested in pharmacy?
I became interested in pharmacy after my grandfather was diagnosed with dementia. He also battles several other illnesses and balancing his medications was a challenge at first. I soon realized how important medication management is to the treatment process and became fascinated by the field of pharmacy. I began shadowing and talking with pharmacists, and ultimately decided that pharmacy was the right fit for me!
What experience/class/activity from undergrad best prepared you for pharmacy school?
I think the prerequisite science coursework helped prepare me for pharmacy school. These classes forced me to develop good study habits that are crucial for pharmacy school. Student organization leadership positions and research also prepared me well. Both of these experiences improved my communication and management skills. At research, I had lab meetings twice a month where I had to present my data. This gave me the confidence to converse with higher level students and faculty which has transferred to pharmacy school. This also taught me to time manage and balance activities outside of my school work.
What advice would you give a prospective students interested in pharmacy?
I would advise students to talk to as many student pharmacists and pharmacists as they can before applying. I would strongly advise looking for shadowing opportunities by reaching out to those at a local pharmacy school or pharmacy. I was not a pharm tech during undergrad, but I shadowed and talked with pharmacists to learn as much as I could about the opportunities within the field. I would also advise students to look up the prerequisite courses required by different pharmacy schools and make a list of them. Many schools have slightly different requirements and it can get confusing if you are applying to many schools!
Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
One major aspect that impressed me was the new curriculum. The PharmD curriculum at UNC is distinct from any other college of pharmacy. The flipped classroom approach is unique in that it facilitates active learning and problem solving. This method of teaching stimulates higher-level thinking and discussion. I also loved the opportunity for early immersion experiences after the first year. This curriculum provides up to seventeen months of patient care experience, which was more than any other program I was considering. The focus on innovation and the encouragement to answer questions without answers are unique aspects to this PharmD program. It is an indication of a program that is trying to make a difference in the world.
What’s been one of your favorite experiences at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy so far?
One of my favorite experiences at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy so far has been my participation in the Recruitment Ambassadors Program. Being able to give back to the school and inspire interest in the profession of pharmacy is very personally and professionally rewarding to me. Also, the group of ambassadors and faculty make this organization fun!
What has been the most challenging part of pharmacy school?
The most challenging part of pharmacy school has been balancing time. School work and student organizations are vitally important and should come first. However, it is important to leave some time for activities outside of school that are important to you.
Have more questions for Amanda? Feel free to send her an email: firstname.lastname@example.org