Jul 29, 2010
108
1
Status
Pre-Pharmacy
I have a couple of interviews coming up and I'm worried about if they ask me why I don't have a lot of pharmacy experience. The rest of my application is very strong, and I have over 375 hours logged volunteering in a hospital setting, just not in a pharmacy.

When it comes to why I did not pursue a pharmacy technician job, that is an easier answer: the job I hold now and have held since freshman year is extremely flexible and pays very well compared to a tech job, and since I am a self-supporting student, I cannot afford the pay cut.

What I'm afraid of, though, is if they then ask "Okay, but why didn't you shadow more?"

I have one shadowing instance that took place back in high school. Since then I haven't really done any shadowing. The real reason: I do a lot of research on the profession, and I don't feel like shadowing is going to give me much more perspective than I already have. I know with 100% certainty from my research that I want this career. But, telling them that would be really dumb, I think.

I have interviewed a couple of pharmacist faculty members about their individual projects, and I do a lot of research on the profession and keep up with the journals pretty well. I'm also realizing that I do need some shadowing simply because it looks good, so I'm pursuing some opportunities, but I'm also very shy, and cold-calling pharmacies and asking if I can shadow is very hard for me.

I don't know how to work this so I don't "shoot myself in the foot" so to speak. I want to tell them I realize shadowing is important (because that's what they want to hear, and for some people it is), and that I'm trying to get more experience in, but at the same time I want to assure them that I know what I'm doing and I'm sure that I want this.

Help!
 
Aug 19, 2010
206
1
Chapel Hill, NC
Status
Pharmacy Student
I have a couple of interviews coming up and I'm worried about if they ask me why I don't have a lot of pharmacy experience. The rest of my application is very strong, and I have over 375 hours logged volunteering in a hospital setting, just not in a pharmacy.

When it comes to why I did not pursue a pharmacy technician job, that is an easier answer: the job I hold now and have held since freshman year is extremely flexible and pays very well compared to a tech job, and since I am a self-supporting student, I cannot afford the pay cut.

What I'm afraid of, though, is if they then ask "Okay, but why didn't you shadow more?"

I have one shadowing instance that took place back in high school. Since then I haven't really done any shadowing. The real reason: I do a lot of research on the profession, and I don't feel like shadowing is going to give me much more perspective than I already have. I know with 100% certainty from my research that I want this career. But, telling them that would be really dumb, I think.

I have interviewed a couple of pharmacist faculty members about their individual projects, and I do a lot of research on the profession and keep up with the journals pretty well. I'm also realizing that I do need some shadowing simply because it looks good, so I'm pursuing some opportunities, but I'm also very shy, and cold-calling pharmacies and asking if I can shadow is very hard for me.

I don't know how to work this so I don't "shoot myself in the foot" so to speak. I want to tell them I realize shadowing is important (because that's what they want to hear, and for some people it is), and that I'm trying to get more experience in, but at the same time I want to assure them that I know what I'm doing and I'm sure that I want this.

Help!
I think that your points are valid. Not everyone has time to do everything, especially with a job. I have a job as a pharm tech but that prevented me from having time to do volunteering things.

As long as you have knowledge of the field, it shows that you are dedicated and that you are willing to make the effort.

If they ask you why you didn't shadow more, you can shift the conversation to the things you DID do to prepare yourself, and what skills you acquired in other aspects of your involvement that can apply to the field of pharmacy.
 

SparkLy09

7+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2009
372
14
Denver!
Status
Pharmacist
I only have 4 months experience working in a pharmacy and the rest of my volunteering wasn't really even health related besides hospital volunteering. I was never really questioned about it, just make sure that even if you don't have much pharmacy experience, there's still a strong reason in why you want to pursue being a pharmacist. Then connect how the rest of your volunteering has impacted that decision and how that will make you a better pharmacist in the future.

For example, I played girls football for a charity event as one of my extra curriculars. Notably nothing to do with the health field... But it turned out to be one of those ah-ha moments for me, I suppose like an enlightenment moment? I realized how much exercise impacted the body and how I began to change my sad college diet to a much healthier one. That led me to become more interested in health and the body and how each food/vitamin/drug like caffeine and such affected my body.

Just learn to twist what you have to show that it impacted who you are in a positive way and how those skills acquired will make you a better pharmacist. I think most interviewers understand that not everyone can get direct pharmacy related experience for 38749495 hours. You just need to make SURE to show that not having those hours doesn't make you a weaker applicant.
 

meimei29

You're as sweet as TT
10+ Year Member
Mar 22, 2009
33
0
Chicago
Status
Pharmacy Student
It definitely sounds like you have really reached out and done your research, which is fantastic. I don't think it the fact that you haven't shadowed a pharmacist will count against you, because ultimately, there are many many many fields of pharmacy, and shadowing one pharmacist in one particular concentration will ultimately limit your exposure. By researching many different fields, you are able to learn much more.

I think it's good your considering looking for another shadowing experience, and I don't think it will count against you. You can always say that you find certain fields interesting, but that you have particular interest in ___, so you're trying to shadow a pharmacist and get a head start to see if that is the field that you'd like to do in the future. There are students now in school who are doing this, as well, so it won't look like you are shadowing because you aren't sure if pharmacy is for you.

Also, don't be shy to approach a pharmacist for help :] .. I know it's a little scary, but if there's anything I've realized, it's that most people become pharmacists because they like helping people! This definitely includes offering students the opportunity to shadow them. Admittedly, not everyone went into the profession for that reason.. and there will be some fields of pharmacy with friendlier people than others.. but you will see that most pharmacists are quite friendly and very enthusiastic, as well, about their experiences. If you can get over the "scariness" and bolster up the courage to ask people, pharmacists, faculty, and students alike, for help, you will find that you will be way ahead of many of your peers once school starts. :]
 

phathead

Future World Drug Lord
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Sep 13, 2009
3,773
9
Status
Pharmacy Student
You should be okay. You're clearly well rounded and made a rational, adult decision in not working a pharmacy which will bode well for you.

That and with your GPA and PCAT score, it won't matter a whole heck of a lot to begin with.
 

1TB4RKSB4CK

wussup doge
5+ Year Member
May 6, 2010
2,893
125
Miami
Status
Pre-Medical
You look really well rounded, just not in pharmacy. Imo I wouldn't mind much.
 

pharm B

Phar Noir
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Jul 12, 2008
8,759
578
Out to Pasture
Status
Pharmacist
Like the others said above, you should be fine. I don't recall reading anywhere about an adcom asking specifically "why didn't you shadow more?" If they did, the advice above is pretty solid. You only have so much time, and you invested it in interests which you thought would have a good return.