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What should I do during the summer before I go to college and start my pharmacy major??

I am a senior, 17 years old in New York City. I want to build a better foundation for myself during the summer since I couldn't do much in highschool for pharmacy. I want to know what I can do to better prepare for this and how I can build a foundation for myself to get a good job after my years at college.

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Jim’s Answer

Hi Faiza,
I have 5 Pharmacists in my family. They started working as Pharmacy Technicians at CVS and Walgreens. They worked in the hospitals. They joined and completed the internships at Pharmaceutical companies. These types of work provided them great foundations. You can do the same and select a specific work (industry) you like. If you know any Pharmacists, you can reach out and discuss your interest with them. Your school counselor can help you too.
Good luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you for your advice! I'll ask my school counselor and see if my family knows any pharmacists. Faiza
Thank you comment icon You are welcome. I am glad that I was able to give you some ideas. Good luck!!! Jim Nguyen
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Brianna’s Answer

There is much you can do while in college to prepare for obtaining the right job after college. Learn about the different areas a pharmacist can work and what type of training (residency? fellowship?) is needed for them. Get a job working in a pharmacy. I worked in retail for a time while in college and then moved to a long-term care pharmacy so I gained experience in both and learned neither were right for me after earning my degree. Don't burn yourself out working (unless you truly need the money) while in college or even this summer but focus on being active on/off campus and excelling in your courses. Shadow some of these different areas of pharmacy- this is something you can possibly do this summer before college starts. With that said, RELAX and ENJOY your last summer before officially becoming an adult!! Have fun being a "kid" still. Spend time with your friends and family! Exercise! Get outside! You'll have plenty of time to be busy and stressed in college so don't do that now. If you have already made it into a school with a pharmacy program, you are set for a few months so just take a deep breath and relax.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much Brianna! I do plan on applying for an internship at CVS to start it off but don't worry I fully intend to enjoy my summer and I will be relaxing as much as possible at the beach!! Faiza
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Faiza !

The advice that Brianna gives you is really on target. You can get experience this summer, however your foundation for your future career in pharmacy will start in college.

The way to get some experience for the summer months would be to seek part time work or volunteer work. It will keep you busy and be a good teaching tool for you until you start college. When you apply for financial aid for college, select the Work Study option and once you receive work study go to your on-campus clinic and see if there may be a work study position there. You can also see if there are any work study positions in the science department connected to chemistry. Your college Student Services and Career Center could help out with this, too.

To get a head start before college, though, look through employment websites for pharmacies that may be hiring deliverers. In some parts of your state, people have jobs driving and delivering medication orders to patients. I am not sure if this exists in the city, but you can start asking around.

Class Central offers free courses in Pharmacology as well as Drug Development and I have left the links below. Do not be discouraged if you cannot find anything for this summer. The Fall will begin sooner than we think. You can do things online or read subjects from books you can borrow from the Library. Also, you can consider visiting (and inquiring about volunteer work) the New York Academy of Medicine which has a museum that I think you'd find interesting. Also visit The Columbia University Health Sciences Library and Archives which has archives pertaining to the history of medicine and pharmacy. There is also an Introduction to Pharma on the website Slide Share for which I have left the link for you below.

There is the New York City Summer Youth Employment Program which could have placed you in a medical setting but they are filled. When you plan for programs or other experiences for summer, my advice is to plan and apply in March or April in New York City because the various programs fill up very fast.

The important phase of your preparation for your career will definitely be while you are in college. Use the resources on campus to find opportunities. You have about a month more of high school left, the summer is two months, and September rolls around fast. That is where your journey will begin. You will feel it. Do not hesitate to return here and ask more questions as you proceed with your college experience. We are always happy to help !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

LEARN ABOUT MEDICATION CLASSIFICATION https://www.verywellhealth.com/drug-classes-1123991
FREE PHARMACOLOGY CLASS ONLINE FROM CLASS CENTRAL https://www.classcentral.com/classroom/youtube-pharmacology-80239
FREE COURSE IN DRUG DEVELOPMENT https://www.classcentral.com/course/drug-development-7254
INTRODUCTION TO PHARMA SLIDE SHOW TRAINING https://www.slideshare.net/diptisorte/introduction-to-pharma
Thank you comment icon Thank you for all these resources, I'll keep these in mind during the summer! Faiza
Thank you comment icon You are very welcome, Faiza ! Michelle M.
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Martin’s Answer

Have a blast this summer because once it's over, you'll be diving headfirst into your studies. While it's admirable to want to get a head start, remember there's plenty of time to finish your coursework in the years to come. If the chance arises, consider a summer job where you can work alongside pharmacists, researchers, or pharmaceutical representatives. This could give you a taste of the exciting opportunities that lie ahead. But remember, while being a student is your current role and becoming a pharmacist is your goal, it's equally important to find joy in other activities. Pursue your passions this summer and throughout your education. Not only will this enrich your life, but it will also make you a better pharmacist and a well-rounded individual.
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Hailey’s Answer

My suggestion for anyone interested in the pharmacology field would be to apply and try to obtain employment within a pharmacy. You could start with deliveries, or see if they’d be willing to train you to be a pharmacy tech.
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Amanda’s Answer

The answers above are terrific - one additional item I might add is to give some thought as to if you have any areas that you are not as strong in or didn't get the classwork experience in, and consider taking a community college class over the summer. You could reach out to your school's career office to understand what courses other students like you might have taken in high school, and see if there is any area you didn't take that you could benefit from (e.g. a specific math or science specialty).
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