What activities were you involved in during your time in college? (clubs, sports, extra-curriculars, volunteering, etc)
Having other things to do while in school is very important to me. It is very easy to crash and burn if your whole year is solely spent reading and studying. Getting involved is one way to make the year more engaging and exciting. I was very much involved in the Student National Pharmaceutical Association which focused on the under-served. Whether it was setting up health screening clinics or raising money for a cause, it was an excellent way to incorporate knowledge gained in school into real life. I also participated in a medical mission trip to help the underserved. I believe mission trips are a great way for students and pharmacists to help out the community while using skills and knowledge obtained from college. Throughout my pharmacy curriculum, I also made sure to stay and keep healthy. Not all activities have to be pharmacy related. I enjoyed going to the gym to keep healthy and to relieve any stress!
What would you consider the “perfect balance” for studying, work, sleep, and a social life?
Honestly, everyone’s “perfect balance” will be different. You may have to try a few things out to see what works right for you. Personally, I believe working as a technician or pharmacy intern while in school is a good experience and can help you retain and understand the content taught in class better. Some people do better with weekend jobs only, some can fit in days throughout the week, and some prefer not working at all. It all depends on the person but remember to not stress yourself out too much! Like I said before, being burned out during pharmacy school is something to avoid. Make sure to take some time off even if it means taking one or two days off a week to hang out with friends or to do the things you enjoy. Most importantly, sleep is necessary. Try to get 7 hours of sleep. With sleep deprivation, studying becomes inefficient, your sleep schedule becomes erratic, and your social life becomes harder to manage. I believe studying ahead of time and sleeping an adequate amount makes the balance a lot easier.
Did you ever have to sacrifice one of the things above to maintain such good grades?
I did not ever have to sacrifice any of the things above to maintain good grades. Sacrifice implies entirely giving up which I believe is unnecessary. Reducing or rearranging time for certain activities may happen but a complete sacrifice is not needed. I had to shift a few things around and maybe reorganize or prioritize activities in my life. Time management and pre-planning were important to me in maintaining grades. Maintaining good grades can be difficult, but if you put in the effort to plan in advance, it is attainable. No sacrifices need to be made if you effectively balance your life.
What advice would you give your sisters about managing the stress that comes with trying to live a “balanced” life in pharmacy school?
The most important advice I can give is to not stress about stress! Often times stressing about stress can lead to time wasted that could have been used on things you enjoyed or studying. Pharmacy school is a journey and it can be a very rewarding and fun experience if you make it so. Always take time to relax and enjoy the time you spend in school. Balancing your life in pharmacy school does not mean giving up your entire life to studying. Incorporate pharmacy school into your life and make this school experience something you do not regret!