by Olakemi Komolafe, MPharm student, RPS Intern 2020
As a student rapidly approaching my 4th year of pharmacy study, I’ve learnt a lot along the way. These are things that as a pharmacy student, we should be doing - if you haven’t already done so. I found that these may not have been necessarily told to students and I wish I had been told or encouraged earlier! Sometimes, we tend to assume that pharmacy is just about memorising books - here is a list of things you could be doing alongside your pharmacy studies!
1. Attend events online by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS)! The RPS hold numerous events and conferences for pharmacists, pharmacy students and various health care professionals. This is the number 1 place to keep up to date with the pharmacy profession, network with others and learn about different opportunities for yourself. I recently attended the annual RPS convention and met so many inspiring colleagues and learnt about many opportunities pharmacists have. I really enjoy meeting people who are as passionate about pharmacy as me! Sign up to the RPS and start attending some online events (due to COVID-19 there are no face-to-face events but there are webinars etc.) www.rpharms.com/events
2.Attend British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA) events; the BPSA are the official student body of the RPS, dedicated to its members and their development. Attend their events to meet other students like you and find ways to enhance your career.
3. During university to teach you skills outside of your course and set you apart in the future from other candidates. Try working in a community pharmacy!
4. Travel! There’s many study abroad opportunities whether it is the pharmacy exchange programme by IPSF or just any university exchange in the world- this might be a bit more difficult to do due to COVID-19. If travelling is not feasible for you, perhaps start researching about how pharmacists can do work abroad (I.e. through research or volunteering).
5. Take advantage of your clinical placements- ask as many questions as possible, collect contact emails, shadow the pharmacists etc. Personally, I have contacted many pharmacists and pre-registration students from my placements to ask for help and information and to aid my research into the pharmacy profession. If you really need help, I recommend joining the RPS (it’s free!) and accessing the Mentoring Platform to find mentors from different sectors.
There’s plenty of things you could be doing right now as a pharmacy student outside of your studies. If you find yourself with lots of spare time, I advise you to get started on this list. Good luck with your studies and pharmacy career!