The beginning of a school year is an exciting time. Whether you are just beginning your pharmacy school journey or hoping to make changes to be more successful in the program, a new year school is always a chance to get a fresh start. Here are four tips to help ensure a successful school year:
Be organized. Whether you are “old-school” and use a physical planner or prefer more modern technology,and use apps, such as Google® Calendar and Evernote®, finding a tool to organize your daily tasks and goals can help you manage your time more effectively. Planning out your day to day as much as you can now will only help you when unforeseen circumstances should come up. Here are some examples of things you can enter into your calendar even before the school year starts:
- Class and work schedules
- Local and national meetings of pharmacy organizations
- Activities outside of school (e.g. gym, personal time, appointments)
- Holidays and breaks
Study smart. This includes finding a good space, creating study groups, and most importantly carving out the the time to study.
- A good space should be quiet, have the least amount distractions, and preferably with the option to hold review sessions with your study group.
- Find study groups that have a mix of learning styles. This may come in handy with remembering and reinforcing obscure concepts or memorizing a certain class of drugs.
- When studying, make sure you can unplug for a few hours. A lot of us can admit that five minutes on social media or online shopping can turn into hours. Unplugging for a few hours will increase your productivity. Try the app Offtime®; it helps by blocking apps such as Facebook as well as games for a certain amount of time. You can also create and save modes, such as Work and School.
Discover your learning style. One can be a mix of learning styles including visual, aural, reading/writing, and kinesthetic, but we often tend to lean towards one more than the others. If you are unsure, take the VARK® Questionnaire and find out! Since there are only so many hours in the day, discovering how you learn best will maximize your study time.
Be involved. There will many opportunities to get involved while in pharmacy school, from research, community service, tutoring, and pharmacy organizations. The opportunity to get more involved and foster your professional development is one of the most rewarding aspects of being in a professional program. These worthwhile experiences serve as a great way to develop unique skillsets, engage in areas of pharmacy that interest you, serve the community, and network locally and nationally.
Remember, when you graduate, you and your classmates will carry the same PharmD degree; what will separate you from the crowd is the experiences you gained while in school, and a lot of those experiences will come from your involvement. Select a few extracurricular activities that truly interest you because you will be investing a good amount of time and energy, and we cannot forget that school is our top priority.
by: Annabelle Dorion, PharmD. Dr. Dorion is a staff writer for The Package Insert.