Ask A Student Diplomat: What I Learned In My First Semester

Question: What was it like transitioning from the professional phase of the program from the pre-professional phase?

Elizabeth Nguyen: My first semester as a professional student at the Mylan Schoo of Pharmacy was a wild ride. I remember not doing so well on my first exam. It was as if I had never taken an exam before, which forced me to rethink my study habits. For my first two years, I never liked studying in groups. I usually studied on my own, and it worked. However, this year I found myself forming a little study group with other pharmacy students, and I cannot tell you how incredibly helpful it was.

We learned from each other and made sure each of us spent enough time studying. For me, the most helpful part wasn't having a peer teach me something I didn't understand, but the support that came with it. There were so many times I wanted to give up on studying when one of them would cheer me on and tell me that I could do it and that they believed in me. This sort of encouragement is something you don't realize you need until you hear it. Call me dramatic, but the support from my friends got me through this first semester.

In class we're taught that collaborative work between health professionals is the best way to provide good patient care. No one can know everything there is to know about a disease state. That's why we have specialties across the health field, which are all equally important. Why shouldn't this collaborative nature be practiced among students as well? There have been instances where I have seen pharmacy students be a little too competitivewith other pharmacy students. It doesn't happen a lot, but personally it angers me when I see it happen. Competition is good-it keeps everyone on their toes¬-but there is no reason not to support other students. Now, I'm not saying we should let other students cheat off our work, but if someone comes up to you for help, why not help? After all, the best way to check your understanding on a subject is to explain it to someone else.

Pharmacy is a challenging program, and it's nice to know that you're not going through it alone. If we support each other now as student pharmacists, it will become second nature to us when we have to work with other health professionals. So by collaborating with other health professionals, we provide the best patient care possible, and isn't that what it's all about?

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University’s academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

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