So, I’m sitting in the faculty break room, looking at a group of high school students. They are a part of the Junior Acheivement program that allows them to choose fields of occupation that they think they might enjoy and give them some “hands on” experiences to see if they really like it. We taught them to make Captopril suspensions and experience all the joys of compounding. Hearing them say “I never knew these opportunities were even available”, makes me realize how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learned since high school. It also makes me appreciate the opportunities I had as a high school student to discover that I wanted to be a pharmacist. And I’m sure that’s a question many of you have asked me or have wanted to ask me. So I will answer it for you now…
When I was a little girl, I always wanted to play “school” with my mom b/c she was a teacher and she had all the cool teacher stuff (grade book, red pens, etc). It was more fun to teach my cabbage patch dolls out of a Geometry book than Little Red Riding Hood. So, as I grew up, I wanted to be a teacher like my mom. Took the SAT in the 10th grade and put Education as my major.
In the 11th grade, I took chemistry. My chemistry teacher was a short, Yankee, Jewish man who had one leg longer than the other. His name was Mr. Engle. He kept me after school one day to talk to me about my grades. He looked me in the eye and said “you are way too good at this to spend your life being a teacher! Have you ever thought about majoring in something that has to do with medicine?” I said no. The only thing I knew about the medicine was you take it when you’re sick and medical professionals were doctors and nurses and dentists. None of that sounded fun. He explained to me that the medical field also consists of vets, surgeons, technicians (all those weird machines they use at the hospital require a special degree or certification to use) and , pharmacists. So I said I’d think about it.
My friend, Shelley, told me her mom worked for a professor at UGA’s Pharmacy School. So, my dad and I headed to Athens to visit Shelley’s mom and meet the professor. His name was Dr. Tackett and he specialized in cardiology (what does being a heart expert have to do with medicine?) He gave us a tour, treated us as special guests, and answered all our questions. I fell in love with the idea! I had never noticed the people behind the counter at Rite Aid before… never knew they were such experts! I wanted to be like that!
My senior year, as I filled out college applications, I wrote that my major was “Pre-pharmacy”. I went to North Ga. College & State U. in Dahlonega and took all the appropriate classes (as a Chem/Pre-Pharm major).
And here I am – 5 months, 3 rotations, 2 ceremonies, and 1 BIG test away from becoming the expert that I dreamed of being when I was 17 years old. That dream has expanded greatly since then and I can see a clear picture of what I want to do and be in my community (but that’s another blog).
So – that’s my story (and I’m stickin’ to it)!