why pharmacy part 1: get excited

Confession: when I chose to major in pharmacy I didn’t have a good reason for choosing it.  Sure, I had an answer for everyone who asked why I wanted to spend seven years taking some of the hardest science classes offered.  I told them that it fit with my talents in math and science and my goals for the future.  In reality, though, I picked pharmacy because I couldn’t find anything else that fit better.  It was my Plan B and I didn’t have a Plan A.  I didn’t even come up with it myself–a few other people suggested it and I agreed to look into it.

After I decided that pharmacy was going to be my declared major, I began telling people.  After receiving my rather lackluster answer to their “why did you pick pharmacy?”, their response was almost always, “Well, you’ll be making good money.”  Honestly, at that point, I didn’t care about the money.  I didn’t even realize how nice of a salary pharmacists can get.  I just knew I needed to pick something and that worked.  It was a pretty good Plan B.

As time went on and I worked through my freshman year, I grew unsure of my decision.  Is this really what I want to do?  I’m hating Gen Chem and everyone makes it seem like that’s a pretty important thing for pharmacy.  I considered switching my major–even had a meeting with an advisor in the education department about which classes would transfer over and how far I would be behind.  After a lot of stress I decided to stick it out through the end of the year and shadow some pharmacists.  I figured if I hated that, I could look at switching again.  I didn’t hate it.  I went to Nationwide Children’s Hospital and fell in love with the idea of pediatric pharmacy.  I got excited about my major for the first time.

Then, partway through last semester, I was talking with my friend about what we are going to do when we get out of college.  I told him I think I want to do pediatric pharmacy and maybe own my own pharmacy someday.  His response was a simple question: “And that makes you excited?”  It took me by surprise and I gave a halfhearted “yeah” as I began to think about his question.  In fact, it’s been running around in my head ever since.  Most people give me a skeptical look when I tell them I’m excited to be a pharmacist and in pharmacy school so I’m used to that but, for some reason, his question was different.

I won’t go into what the next several months contributed to my thought process because that’ll make this way too long.  I will say that there were a lot of different factors that went into it.  One of the critical factors is my job as a pharmacy technician.  I figure that, since I love this job, I should love my future job.  One other big factor is my classes.  I made it through the annoying introductory science classes and am in the ones that have something to do with pharmacy.  Turns out Gen Chem isn’t that important.  The fact that my favorite class this semester is Immunology is a confirmation that I’m on the right path.  As I said, a lot of other things have gone into this thought process but now I can confidently say, “Yes, it does make me excited to be a pharmacist.”  Now, when people ask me “why pharmacy?” I have a real answer to give them.

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2013 in review

It’s Christmas eve and for the last few weeks we’ve been getting the yearly Christmas cards in the mail.  It’s fun to get cards from everyone and I love looking at the photo cards that are becoming more and more popular.  But my favorite cards are the ones that contain a yearly letter.  Though our family has never done one of these letters, I love reading how our friends are doing and what is new with them–especially the families we don’t get to see more than once or twice each year.  So I thought that, since I enjoy reading others’ letters so much, I would write my own version here.

January:  Christmas break is over and it’s time to begin the second half of my freshman year.  New classes, new profs, but I’ve done this once before so I’m starting to get the hang of it.  One of the classes I’m taking this semester is “Physical Education and the Christian Life” (PACL).  It’s basically a health class and one requirement is half an hour of cardio three days of every week.  I decided to run for my cardio and to officially begin working towards a goal I’ve had most of my life: run a marathon with my dad.

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Though I didn’t make it to every game, I was able to go to a few of the basketball games with some of the girls I lived with.

February:  This month was packed.  I remember writing down my big assignments on my dry-erase calender at the end of January and wanting to sleep through the month.  In the midst of all the assignments, however, was some fun.  The Superbowl was at the beginning of the month and I got to watch it with a bunch of friends.  The following weekend was “Lil’ Sibs” and my siblings stayed the night on campus.

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All of the girls in my unit went out to dinner on Valentine’s Day.

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My intramural soccer team won the outdoor championship in the fall and the indoor championship in the spring

March:  I started off the month with heading to Chicago for spring break.  During fall semester we received an email describing the various spring break mission trips we could go on through the school.  This trip to Chicago immediately caught my eye and I was thrilled when I was accepted.  We went to Inner City Impact (http://innercityimpact.org/) where we helped with their ministry to inner city kids in the evenings and helped out at a local Christian school during the days.  It was an incredible experience that helped to reinforce my love for inner city kids.  The other highlight of the month was surprising my brother on his birthday.  His squeal when he saw me was so sweet.

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my crazy, goofy, awesome team

 

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obligatory picture at the Bean

April:  April was another month that was stuffed full.  I’m flipping through my planner and actually saw a note to myself on one day that says, “relax a little.”  It wasn’t all boring homework, though.  I went camping with a bunch of friends and we sang worship songs around the fire while one guy played guitar.  The next morning I ran a 5k (my first in a couple years).  A couple weeks later, all of the girls I lived with went to Columbus to surprise one of our friends for her birthday.  The next day I had a farewell party for another friend who was leading the ministry I was involved in.  At the end of the month I had another busy weekend.  On Saturday I drove home to watch my sister’s play then stayed for part of her 16th (?!) birthday party.  After she blew out her candles I got in the car and headed back to school for Elliv, one of the biggest yearly events on campus.  The next day I got to hang out with my cousin at her dance competition then I headed back to campus for finals week.

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This crazy group of kids stole my heart the first night I met them. Most people would write them off or not want to deal with them but I look forward to spending every Monday night with them.

May:  This was my month to relax and unwind a little.  I took about a week off then headed down to Columbus for a couple days to shadow at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  This was an incredible experience that opened me up to the idea of pediatric pharmacy.  Though I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do, it is something I’m considering.  At the end of the month, the city schools ended for the year and I began my babysitting job.  I spent the summer with three kids who were 11, 9 & 6 years old, taking them to swim practice, soccer camps, the pool and friends’ houses.

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I was so blessed by the girls I lived with my freshman year!

June:  June was another month of work (sitting by the pool while the kids are swimming is tough work).  At the end of the month I packed up and headed back to campus for a week to be a student leader at pharmacy camp.  Yes, it sounds super nerdy and I suppose that’s exactly what it is.  But I had a great week and got to meet some pretty incredible high schoolers.  And some of the may be coming to campus next fall!

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I went to this camp as a high schooler so it was fun to be on the other side as a student leader. I’m sure I’ll do it again this summer!

July: This month contained the highlight of my summer: our family trip to Colorado.  I’ve always wanted to go west and I know my parents have as well. We spent three days driving out, stayed in a cabin on the side of a mountain, hiked every day until we were exhausted then crashed in the hot tub to sooth our tired muscles.  Throughout our trip we saw some interesting people and places.  One of my favorites was a saloon we stopped at in a little town on the way home.  When we walked through the door I looked to the back of the large room and saw a pool table in the center with a small, round bar table off to the side.  Leaning against the table were two cowboys, straight out of the movies, with boots on their feet, white stetsons on their heads, pool cues in their hands and beers on the table.  If I remember right, I could hear spurs clinking on the hardwood floor as they played their game of pool.

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On our second day of driving, one of our rear tires blew and we decided to get all four changed. Since it was going to be two hours, we bought a movie and set up our computer and speaker in the auto section of Walmart.

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This was our biggest hike. I don’t remember the name of the mountain nor do I recall the altitude. I do know we walked 11 miles that day and it was the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen.

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By the time we were done with that hike, however, we were a mess. You’d be amazed how quickly a crowd parts when someone is holding a tissue to their nose.

August:  August came all too quickly.  We had our yearly Mud Hens baseball outing with my mom’s side of the family.  With all 30+ of us in the two boxes, it was a great time, although the ice cream disappeared quickly.  The following week was my final week working then I packed up and headed back to campus for my sophomore year.  I went a few days early because I was helping with the Getting Started weekend for the freshmen.  Besides helping move them in and helping everyone begin to decipher all of the acronyms we have on campus, I also got to get a small group leader.  My co-leader and I had a group of 10 freshmen who we’ve stayed in contact with throughout the year.  Once the crazy move-in week was over, I was right back into the swing of things.  New classes, new profs, same routine.

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Contrary to popular belief, my RA (Bethany) and I are not twins nor are we related.

September:  Now that we’ve all settled in, the fun begins.  I’m living with all new girls this year so we’re just getting to know each other.  At the beginning of the month, SGA puts on an event called Mission Impossible, where students begin at one end of the campus and try to make their way, hidden in the dark, to the opposite end without getting caught by “secret agents” with flashlights.  I also ran my first 10k this month at the Hocking Hills Indian Run.  It rained all day so Dad and I were slipping through mud for half of it but it was a lot of fun.  Eventually I’ll make it to a marathon.  The 25th was my 20th birthday.  It happened to be the same day as Printy Wars, a competition in my dorm between all of the different units.  The girls in my unit told me they would win for my birthday and, sure enough, we won!  That weekend was a full one that highlights how blessed I am.  On Friday I had a bonfire party with the leaders of the ministry I’m involved in, Club 517.  After that, we all headed to the new student talent show where we saw some very gifted students.  Saturday I watched some of my friends win the intramural softball championship, went to a chili cook-off at my church then headed back to campus to watch the Buckeye’s game with a friend.

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This girl was brave enough to sign up to be my roommate without knowing a thing about me. Neither of us have regretted that for a second.

October:  I’m finally getting my schedule figured out which means my friends and I can start up knitting club again.  Yes, it’s a thing.  A group of us meets once each week and heads down the street to a coffee shop where we do homework, chat and knit.  We get a few weird looks but we have a great time.  October 7th was the kick-off of Club 517, the highlight of each week for me.  We have middle school kids from the area come to the church and we hang out with them, play games and share the most important thing in the world to us: our faith.  I love those kids and I can’t imagine my college experience without 517.  October contained two other highlights.  The first: I got a job as a pharmacy technician.  Though some people would find pharmacy boring and don’t understand why I’m majoring in it, I love my job and it’s made me more excited for my future job.  The second highlight was getting to take two friends to see Ted Dekker, our favorite author, in Columbus.  It was a free event but there was a drawing for a backstage pass and a free book.  Somehow I won.  Although I didn’t get to head over early for the backstage pass, after the event I found his manager to ask for the book I had won.  While he was getting the book, Ted walked in and, ignoring the huge line of people waiting for him to sign their books, he breaks into a huge smile, hugs me and asks how I’m doing.  This was the 5th time I’ve seen him and, for whatever reason, he always remembers me.  He let me and my friends skip the huge line and took pictures with us.
One final thing from October (I know this is realllllly long):  My intramural soccer team won the championship!  This was our third season some of us have played together and we’ve won all three seasons.

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We celebrated Lorrin & Jordan’s birthday at the skate rink

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Few things are more exciting than your hero recognizing you. My friends and I went to take a picture with him and he put his arm around me and kind of pushed them away saying, “No, I want a picture with just her first.”

November:  The cold finally came and with it, the disappearance of everyone from warmer states.  Ohioans broke out their jackets while Californians broke out their hats, scarves and gloves.  Thus began my scarf business.  It started as a half joke and I’ve ended up knitting nine scarves for people in my spare time.  This month didn’t have any huge events.  I spent a lot of time with friends, developing some incredible friendships that are major blessings.

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pharmacy students are allowed to be a little nerdy, right? Wearing nerdy shirts and taking pictures in organic chemistry lab is totally acceptable.

December:  Thanksgiving break ended and we all headed back to school for one week of classes, a week of finals, then Christmas break.  Between tests, projects, papers and the added work of decorating for Campus Christmas, everyone was counting down the hours to Christmas break.  It was a tough two weeks for me but I got it all done and somehow ended up with better grades than I expected.  These two weeks reminded me once again how thankful I am for the close friends I have at school.

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all 19 cousins on my mom’s side

 

Now I am home.  I’ve been to Christmas parties, I’ve done last minute Christmas shopping, I’ve been poked by the allergist 90 times (turns out I was right when I said I’m allergic to everything in the air), but most importantly, I’m home with my family.

Merry Christmas!

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the first few miles

My dad has run seven marathons and has always been trying to get the rest of my family to run.  Like normal people, none of us have ever wanted to run.  There have been a few times, however, when I’ve taken up his offer to run with me.  I remember being about 12 and training for a 5k or wanting to be more fit for soccer so I would tie up my shoes and head outside with my dad.  It was hard.  I couldn’t find a rhythm and his legs were so much longer than mine that I couldn’t fall into step with him.  My dad noticed me struggling and said something that I’ve never forgotten: “It gets easier after the first couple miles.”  I remember looking at him skeptically saying, “I’m only going a couple miles!”

In the following years I would run off and on but never found it any easier.  I wasn’t sure if that was because I never made it past the “first couple miles” or if he was crazy.  Then this year I started running regularly and one day I broke my PR of 4 miles when I ran 6.5 miles.  It turns out he was right–it did get easier.

As cheesy as this may sound, my dad’s advice applies to nearly every area of life.  When I’m drowning in organic chemistry or am staring at my planner, wondering how I’m going to get everything done, I find my dad’s words echoing in my head.  “It gets easier after the first couple miles.”  And you know what?  It’s true.  Going into college I thought high GPAs were for geniuses or people with easy majors.  But after those first few semesters–the first few miles–I’ve gotten into a rhythm.  I won’t say it’s easier because it’s not.  My classes just keep getting harder.  But I’ve made it past the first few miles and now I’m experiencing the academic equivalent of runner’s high.

So whatever it is that you’re trying to push through, keep going.  If you decide you can do it, nothing can stop you.  And remember that it’ll get easier after the first couple miles.

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home for the holidays: the side of college no one told me about

When I started college last fall there were a lot of people offering me words of advice on how to succeed.

“Don’t party.”  “No boyfriends.”  “Always do the reading.”  “You can’t possibly do all the reading.”  “Try not to buy textbooks from the bookstore.”  “Never sell textbooks to the bookstore.”  “Get to know your profs; it could affect your grade.”

The one thing nobody said anything about was what it’d be like to go home.  I didn’t expect it to be weird.  I figured everything would be normal–just like when I’d gone to summer camps in the past.  I leave for a week and everything’s weird but, after I come home, everything goes back to normal.  Only with college I’d be gone for a few months before coming home.  I guess I never thought about it much or I would have seen it coming.  I just assumed it would all keep going on as before.

I suppose, in a way, I was right.  After my family helped me move into my dorm and they said their tearful goodbyes and headed home, things did keep going on as before.  They just kept going without me.  My mom took a leaf out of the table so they wouldn’t be so far apart, my siblings slowly took over my room for homework (though it’s still mine when I come home), my sister has my spot in the garage this winter.  While I was off at school having new adventures, they were at home experiencing life as they had been.

I didn’t notice it at first.  Everything seemed normal when I came home for fall then Thanksgiving break my freshman year.  Even Christmas and Easter break didn’t seem too different.  I first noticed it at church.  I go to a small church with under 200 people so it was weird that there were a number of people there who I had never seen before.  But it wasn’t just that.  I felt out of the loop.  Being at such a small church, everyone was involved in everything and my family was no exception.  Everyone in my youth group knew what was going on in each others’ lives because we all had practically the same schedule.  But now that I’m not there for two thirds of the year, I feel disconnected.

This year, though, the disconnect has extended beyond my church and into my home.  It’s still my home, yes, but I don’t know my family like I did when I lived here.  I hesitate to say that because, since moving out, I’ve grown much closer to my family.  But, because I don’t live here, I don’t know what goes on in their daily lives.  I don’t know about the practices and dance recitals; I didn’t know my brother was playing basketball at the YMCA.  I don’t get to hear about their days at school or my sister’s plans for college because I’m not here.  Coming home for break, I feel like a visitor–a familiar visitor who is well-known but a visitor nonetheless.  I am part of their lives, but not in the way I used to be.  My life is different and I’m realizing it’s not going to go back.

This separation is especially evident each night I’m home.  I’ve been home for Christmas break for almost a week now.  It’s 11:00 on Wednesday night and I’m sitting in the basement writing this.  The rest of my family has gone to bed or will be soon.  I won’t be ready to sleep for a couple more hours.  I suppose I could wake up a little earlier so I was ready to sleep around 11 but it seems pointless.  Once I get back to school I’ll be back in the dorm where there’s no chance of falling asleep before midnight.  That’s my life right now: mostly there and intersecting with my family’s here every couple of months.

I’m not complaining about this nor would I call it a ‘necessary evil’.  It’s just the way it is.  I know I’m not the only one who’s noticed it.  I’ve seen tweets from friends while on break mentioning that their family members are out doing various daily activities and they’re at home watching tv.  I guess it’s just a part of growing up that no one warned us about.

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