My College Admissions Essays

Dear Readers,

On this rather mundane and rainy Sunday I thought I’d put out a throwback to my pre-STLCOP days. The days before Friday night studying and short nights filled with caffeine and a complementary box of Kleenex in case my emotions got to the best of me.:)

Lately I have been seeing many updates on my feed from kids who I last remembered riding tricycles that are now well on their way to college. The excitement and overwhelming feelings of applying, waiting, and deciding what college to attend is a feeling that I can still remember all too well. The feelings of uncertainty, doubt, possible regret and determination are what I remember the most from three years ago when I was deciding where I would go to fulfill my dreams in my career path of choice.

What I remember the most is writing my college essays. Needless to say, there were many hours I had spent just thinking about what to write. How I could stand out from the rest and really bring out my personality. Days I had spent wondering if I had even done anything special with my life at all. Countless hours were spent perfecting, tweaking, and re-reading my essays in hopes that they would be perfect and ready to go.  In particular, the essay I remember spending the most time on was the one I had written when I first applied to STLCOP.

Looking back a this piece that I haven’t touched since I had sent it years ago, I sure wish I could have made a few edits. However, I would say this was definitely a good reflection I was feeling at the time I had applied. I was nervous, scared, and anxious about the possibility of not being accepted into the program. Regardless, there’s a lot that I’ve learned from the application process and my overall experience in college in general.

Read below:)

 

Being X

            Any crisis life throws at us is like an algebraic equation. The components? At least two variables and numbers which can be anything from integers, non-integers, to rational, or worse, irrational. These numbers can also have negative and positive signs, can be hidden in parenthesis, or embedded in square roots that only make it all the more complicated, seemingly impossible. As far as my philosophy goes, we are always metaphorically grappling our life equations, each differing in their individual complexity. However, what makes all of our life’s equations universal is that they all have an equal sign, an indication that no matter how difficult our problems are, they are indeed, solvable.  What we don’t understand is that while we only see the solution to our problem, we struggle to figure out how to get there. The key to solving our problems is to solve for X, the variable that we need to get to Y, our solution. The only way I was able to change my life as an overweight child was by solving for my X so I could ultimately achieve my Y, something I had wanted for years but didn’t know how to grasp.

            My issue with my weight was not unfamiliar to me; in fact, it’s something I’ve struggled with since I was 8 years old. For years, I faced verbal insults from classmates who noticed how I was always the last one to finish the 100 meter dash, and the usual lecture from my pediatrician about how the needle on the weighing scale was tipping too far. Relatives had no other piece of advice except to poke my chubby cheeks and tell me to “ease on the Twinkies”.  Other than my size, my untamed, frizzy curls and giant silver glasses were of no help when I entered middle school, along with what I dreaded the most: the formation of cliques. After being labeled a “nobody” for almost two years, I decided to quit pouting and ditch the Doritos once and for all.  I joined the track team, not knowing what to expect, but realizing that if I wasn’t going to force myself to lose weight, my trophy hungry coach would. During the next three months of grueling practices and exhausting track meets, the pounds were shed, replaced by stamina and a boost of self confidence. While I didn’t become the fastest runner on the team, I learned was that if I want to achieve anything, I have to do what it takes to get there, not just hope that my goals would be met.

            I want to be a pharmacist because as a child, I always questioned how doctors knew how to prescribe the right medication, let alone knew the usages and properties of every drug known.  It wasn’t until I googled “pharmacist” that I understood that if there was one person whom my pediatrician would turn to about what medication to recommend, it was a pharmacist, the answer to my lingering question. After losing weight, I’ve realized that what I want in my life is to help others solve their own equations. Likewise, a pharmacist’s job is just that; they are the X variable in their patients’ recovery, leading patients towards the right drug that will help them achieve their Y, not just the people that count the pills needed in the bottle.

I’ve applied to STLCOP not only for the chance to get an early hands on experience, but an experience that will better prepare me to achieve my goals. At STLCOP, I don’t just see myself as the girl who overcame her weight problem.  Nor do I just see myself as the girl who wants to be a clinical pharmacist, volunteer abroad, and cure Autism using a pharmaceutical approach. At STLCOP, I don’t just see myself wanting to contribute to further advancing pharmacy nationally and overseas, because I see myself being X.

 

Until my next blog post,

 

AZ:)

PCCA Bootcamp

Dear Readers,

What is industrial pharmacy? As a not-so-famous path for pharmacists, compounding and personalized medicine in general is definitely making its way into the world of pharmacy. I, along with other STLCOP students were lucky enough to learn more about the field this past weekend at PCCA’s Introductory Compounding Boot Camp.

Needless to say, it was an amazing weekend in the lab. We made a total of 11 products in the lab which included foams, solutions, suspensions, troches, capsules, suppositories, lollipops, chap stick, and more! Scroll below to see more pics.:)

So here’s what I made this weekend:

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We used a mold, flavoring, and dye to make lollipops.

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The final product: chocolate cheesecake lollipops. They tasted awesome!

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For anyone in Pharmaceutics or has taken the class, this should be familiar! (PLO gel)

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Foam and a classic suspension. When the instructor mentioned geometric dilution, I knew this would be a piece of cake:)

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Suppositories…to keep as a souvenir only.

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Capsules made with a capsule machine

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Marshmallow flavored troches

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Cinnamon flavored chap stick!

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Here’s a pic of me pouring the mixture used to make the troches into the box.

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Methocel solution and Carbomer gel (another Pharmaceutics reference!)

 

 

 

Until my next blog post,

 

AZ😉

 

Body Language 101

Dear Readers,

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to know how to decipher something as tedious as a person’s eye movement? Let’s backtrack a bit–do you know it’s even possible to do that? Until recently, I didn’t know that was even possible. There’s a name for it: it’s called body language.

My interest with body language has been present since I was almost 10 years old. I was always told to fix that horrible slump in my shoulders, to walk less like a robot and more like a normal child, to give better eye contact, and to always smile when spoken to as opposed to having a blank look on my fact that clearly projected more fear than normalcy. And so, I stumbled upon the concept of body language. From learning what I know now, I’ve been able to use my newly found skills and have been able to apply them to a variety of settings, not just work and school. Learning more about body language has allowed me to be more prepared as I study to become a pharmacist.

In fact, I’ve come up with some helpful body language videos on Youtube. Have no fear, I’ve put some descriptions for each video based on what I learned.

One of my favorite body language experts is Vanessa Van Edwards. Her videos are very easy to follow and she gives some pretty amazing advice on how to appear “powerful.”

-Use an authoritative tone (Instead of saying “Hi, this is Vanessa?” say “Hi, this is Vanessa.” without sounding high pitched at the end.

-Utilizing a “triple nod” makes the person you’re talking to speak more. A helpful tip for those in law enforcement.:)

Body language of leaders:

-Leaders smile less and interrupt more

-Leaders give good eye contact when they are speaking to you; they have a wandering eye when you are speaking to them.

-Leaders tend to stand still, hold their shoulders back, and observe

Many people use the popular application LinkedIn. .Watch this video to know how your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/LinkedIn profile pic can make a huge change in how many followers/connections you have.

 

Until my next blog post,

 

AZ:)

 

 

A Word About Failure

Dear Readers,

Read below:

It’s often that pre-test anxiety can cause us to feel, well, anxious. For some it’s the feeling as if they’re about to jump off a cliff and land on a floor of bricks. For others it may mean feeling as if your heart will beat right out of your chest while your face turns a not-so-attractive shade of red all over. Being nervous out of your wits, being afraid of failure in general is something all of us has endured at one point in our lives. It’s normal. But dealing with it is still remains a challenge.

This semester has been one of many difficulties and one of many shortcomings indeed. There have been many times in my career where my expectations had exceeded many times over my results. I have had to go back countless times and retrace my footsteps with frustration, trying to find a way to improve myself when I could have sworn that I had done everything in my power to do my best. While this process can be frustrating and quite frankly tear-jerking itself, I’ve learned the following things in the process:

Take it one day at a time.

We have always been taught to plan ahead, to get tasks done for the next week done today because that will ultimately make our lives easier. We make lists and create notifications on our phones and laptops daily. There are assignments to be done, quizzes and exams to study for, events to attend, events to plan, and most importantly, studying to do. Lots, and lots of studying. #PharmSchool

I’ve learned that while I don’t always complete everything on my list. I have learned to take on one task at a time and remain optimistic that I will get everything done.

 

Accept failure as it is, but also accept it as a learning opportunity

Failure is not pleasant. It’s not something that makes us deserve a pat on the back. But it serves as a template for a new plan, a Plan B. But be aware that failure may have you retracing your footsteps many, many times. It’s okay. Refer to #1.

 

Taking out some personal “Me” time is a must.

Working hard excessively, non-stop can cause burnout. To avoid that, I’ve been recommended to take a good hour  (more or less)  of “me-time” every day. That’s usually when I take time to blog, go on Netflix, or just lay on my bed and not think for a good hour. That’s usually time for me to forget about work or school. Plus, it helps me recharge and get back to work.

Some people prefer to meditate or take a nap. Whatever works for you.:)

 

Take on every day with a smile and a bit of optimism

One of my classmates did a presentation about how to be happier. One of her tips was to start off the day with a smile. While this seems cheesy, research has shown that it works. Writing down positive notes for yourself is also a good thing, too. Consider trying it and see for yourself:)

 

Celebrate every achievement.

Always remember to treat yo’self with some “me” time or literally just treat yourself. For me, it’s a Frozen Caramel from Bread & Co.:)

 

Until my next blog post,

 

AZ:)

 

Law School Post-PharmD?

Dear Readers,

Do you find yourself doing at least one of the following?

  1. Questioning your life’s decisions and any achievements or lack of achievements in your life.
  2. Arguing with your classmates often on matter related/not related to pharmacy.
  3. Watching Law and Order SVU instead of studying Pathophysiology
  4. Reading articles about controversial court cases that have been all over the media
  5. Finding more interest in the scandal by Big Pharma instead of focusing on Pharmaceutics.

Then you may want to consider going in a JD route…of course after you finish pharmacy school. *JD stands for Juris Doctor*

I had always heard from a distance that some pharmacists, often called “the crazy ones” decide to pursue law school after enduring many years of pharmacy school. So why do people go to law school and what’s in it for anyone who decides to go this way?

Many people who go this way can go into jobs such as:

  1. Corporate attorneys for pharmaceutical companies
  2. Patient law specialists
  3. Managed care lawyers

If this is something that interests you, feel free to check it out!

 

So here’s what I know.

Law school is 3 years long. Not too bad, huh? However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is difficult.

Getting into law school requires taking the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test). And of course, that means studying a lot beforehand. Luckily your STLCOP experience will help you in that department.

Getting into law school also means getting good grades. From my research, law schools like rigorous majors. Hopefully a 6 year direct program is impressive enough.:)

So let’s say you already took the LSAT, applied, and got into a law school. Sweet, here’s what to expect:

Studying. Lots of studying. Keep in mind, you’re competing on a bell curve for your grades. Expect the first two years at least to be nothing short of intense.

On the bright side, it’s only 3 years.:)

Until my next blog post,

AZ:)

 

 

 

“So What Have You Been Up To?”

Dear Readers,

On this fine lazy Sunday, I thought I would give an update on what I’ve been up to.

1. Research Symposium

I’m currently on a committee with students to plan the annual Research Symposium on April 16th. It’s an event for faculty and students to showcase their research. While it has certainly kept me busy, I look forward to the event in the next few weeks. Be sure to check it out if you’re free that Saturday.:)

2. I’ve been reading Mindy Kaling’s “Why Not Me?”

And it’s pretty hilarious. As an avid reader (when I have the time) I usually go for memoirs. Hers is by far one of the funniest I’ve read. More updates on that soon.

3. I’ve rekindled my relationship with House of Cards

I’m the type of person to start on Season 3 when Season 4 finally makes its debut. No worries, I will catch up sooner or later.

4. I’ve learned that taking an hour out for myself each day (against my will, sometimes) can be a good thing. I would definitely recommend it.

5. I’ve in the process of creating a countdown until the semester is over.:)

 

Until my next blog post,

 

AZ:)