Written by Hadeeqa, currently a pre-registration pharmacist who has successfully graduated with an MPharm degree. In this article she reflects on her experiences as a final year pharmacy student, providing valuable insight and advice for others.
Final year of studying pharmacy at degree level can be daunting,especially because first year only seemed like it was yesterday!
But it is important to keep calm and not be overwhelmed with what is to come. Remember you are not alone, those on your course will feel the same or similar to some extent. The difference is that everyone will respond and manage their feelings in their own ways. You will make it to the final line, but only with patience and perseverance.
Below are my suggestions on how to tackle the final year, all of which is transferable and applicable for when you transition into your pre-registration pharmacy training year.
What to expect
My lecturer advised ‘this year is going to prepare you for the working world, it will give you independence and help you realise your limitations’ – this is exactly what final year did for me. I felt as though I grew as an individual. It was my responsibility to prepare myself for the year ahead, nobody else was going to do it for me. Do not expect to be spoon-fed, rather be prepared to venture out and explore different ways of learning to find what works for you.
Take advantage of the opportunities provided by your university, pursue interests in other places too. At my university, I participated in inter-professional education sessions with other healthcare professionals. We were able to brush up on our patient counselling skills and learnt how to manage customers, which improved our communication skills. Although at the time many of us did not see the wisdom behind such opportunities they were of great help. Like my lecturer said ‘it is a safe environment to make and learn from mistakes, so make the most of opportunities like this’
Be proactive and engage with your peers. Working with like-minded individuals is a great way to keep your enthusiasm going and the morale up. Group study is a good way of sharing ideas and learning new things. You may find others have strengths where your weaknesses lie and vice versa.
Focus and plan ahead
Planning ahead is very important, once you have settled in and are familiar with the structure of the academic year it is necessary to have a plan in place. As long as you study SMART and efficiently your year will work out to be less stressful.
Work on your limitations
In order to be a better version of yourself, self-reflection is key in being able to understand and work on your limitations. Identify any gaps in your knowledge, work on bridging those areas. Think about your studying and revision tactics and make necessary improvements. It is equally important to not overlook your strengths. Be realistic and try your best to maintain a balance; be confident in your abilities but do not be over confident where it hinders your growth.
Think positive and manage your time wisely
Optimism is key! There may be times when you will feel like giving up. Having the right mind set and thinking positively will help you overcome difficult situations. Give yourself plenty of time to work to meet deadlines, pace yourself by managing your time efficiently. There is also support available within your university if you feel the need to speak to someone for support.
More importantly try to enjoy the year, for many of you it will be the last time to be a part of such a large cohort which you will miss later on.
“The world is your oyster. It’s up to you to find the pearls” (1)
1. Gardner, CG. The Pursuit of Happyness. United States: Harper Collins Publisher 2006.