Starting university is a new and exciting but nerve-racking experience, even without the current COVID-19 pandemic. My main piece of advice for those starting a pharmacy degree this month is to get involved in as much as possible and try to meet as many people as you can.
Although the options for meeting people has been limited due to COVID-19, that does not mean you will be excluded or unable to make those connections. Thankfully, many universities, societies and groups are using online platforms to reach out and connect students.
In my first year, the main thing I struggled with was having the confidence in lectures and seminars to ask questions. I came to university without studying biology and found some lectures challenging at first, made worse by me staying quiet.
When you start asking questions, either in lectures or one-to-one with the lecturer, it makes things so much easier. Another thing I found was that everyone is on the same level no matter what they studied before. The material is new to everyone and you will soon start understanding it.
The British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA) is an organisation with members across the United Kingdom, who study on the MPharm course or the Overseas Pharmacists Assessments Programmes or are pre-registration pharmacists.
Throughout the year, we run events for all of our members across the country, although some of these may be virtual for some time. We also have team members dedicated to our work who are involved with international organisations. These individuals provide students with opportunities such as travelling and working abroad via the Student Exchange Programme.
I would definitely recommend joining the BPSA to help you get the most from your course and to help shape the future of the profession you are entering into.
My main points to take away for new pharmacy students:
- Try not to worry about everyone else’s knowledge or experience
- Ask loads of questions, it will help you to learn
- Meet as many people as possible – they will make your university time incredible
- Enjoy every second and make the most of your time
- Get involved in the wider profession through the BPSA
- Do not let the current circumstances dampen your drive, opportunities are still out there.
Alex Scarbro is BPSA engagement officer and a third-year pharmacy student at De Montfort University in Leicester