Among all healthcare professionals, pharmacists are the experts in drug therapy. Being knowledgeable about the drugs that treat or cure diseases is what attracted Yvette Zeng to enroll in pharmacy school. We caught up with Yvette at the University of Rhode Island to learn more.
When did you know you wanted to be a pharmacist?
The earliest I can remember wanting to be a pharmacist was in 2nd grade. My 2nd grade class had an assignment and the question was, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I wrote “pharmacist” and accompanied the writing with a drawing of a grown-up version of myself working in a pharmacy. The reason why pharmacy appealed to me at such a young age was due to a trip to the pharmacy. My father picked up some medicine and told me it would make my grandfather feel better, so I wanted to be the pharmacist behind the counter, handing over the medication.
How did you go about deciding what pharmacy school was right for you?
Location was one of the main factors for me as well as the type of program. My pharmacy school is in-state, which helped with tuition. The most important factor, however, was the community within my school of pharmacy and its reputation. My school’s college of pharmacy is a close-knit community and is well known for producing high quality pharmacists.
Has anyone helped guide you to where you are today?
Starting from my early years, my parents have always been an important part of my education. They provided assistance with homework and taught me skills early on that would help me to become successful as I grew up. I also had high school teachers who helped me along the way with the preparation and process of applying to college. Right now, as I finish pharmacy school, I have multiple mentors who have helped me develop professionally, and who have provided numerous opportunities to grow as a future pharmacist and person. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have a mentor to guide you and help you strive to the best of your ability.
What do you love most about pharmacy school?
I love the pharmacy community and how everyone is friendly and always willing to help and collaborate.
The people in my class year are all very friendly and we get opportunities to work with each other in lab and in class. We also have a class Facebook group where we all share study guides and updates. There are also opportunities to do projects together if you find that you and your peers have a common interest outside of the classroom.
When you’re not studying, what do you do for fun?
I like to hang out with friends and family, which usually means going out to try new foods and explore new restaurants. I also allot some time to myself and I usually wind down by making crafts or playing games. It’s important to de-stress during pharmacy school, so I like to dance to relieve some of that stress!
What was the best advice someone gave you in high school?
One piece of advice that I remember to this day is, “Always strive to become a well-rounded individual and do not just be book smart.” While it is important that you are studying and keeping up with grades, you should not miss out on opportunities and experiences to build yourself in other ways. You learn much more by putting yourself out in different situations and meeting many people.
What advice would you give someone in high school?
Pharmacy is a diverse and versatile field. Pharmacy is not limited to just working in a retail pharmacy. There are lots of careers within pharmacy, so be sure to do your research! You will also want to concentrate on science and math classes because these are the subjects that pharmacy schools will be reviewing closely in your application. These classes will prepare you for pharmacy school in the long run.