Meet Zahra Al-chokhachi, a fourth-year pharmacy student at West Coast University. She is seeking an exciting career in an innovative field. Follow Zahra’s journey as she works towards earning her PharmD!
Why did you decide to pursue a career in pharmacy?
I decided to pursue a career in pharmacy because of all the options available after graduation. There are so many areas of pharmacy to choose from. Many people think pharmacists count pills all day long. However, that is far from true. The world of pharmacy continues to expand, and it never gets boring.
What about your path to pharmacy school is unique?
I knew early on I wanted to pursue a career in pharmacy. I saw how comfortable my parents felt when visiting their pharmacists and asking questions about their medications. Being on a number of medications overwhelmed them and, at times, discouraged them. However, the pharmacist was always there to answer their questions and teach them about their medication. This made taking medications easier and, in the long run, helped them stay compliant. I knew I wanted to be a part of a team that impacted people’s lives the same way our pharmacist impacted my parents’ lives.
How did you choose your school of pharmacy?
I am a southern California native and hoped I would stay close to my family and friends. I had a few friends who applied to West Coast University for pharmacy and became interested in the program. I knew several nurses attending the university and was excited to find out they had a pharmacy program.
Did you have any mentors that helped you as you explored possible career paths?
I’ve had many mentors growing up. However, the one who influenced me most was my biology professor in undergrad. I worked as a professor assistant for him while in university, and he opened my eyes to different possible career paths. He helped me find a pharmacist that I could shadow to see if I truly wanted to pursue pharmacy as a career.
What is your favorite part of pharmacy school?
I love how clinical pharmacy school is. It is not just memorizing drugs and their profiles. In pharmacy school, you are taught how to make clinical judgments and be an active member of the health care team of a patient. You build relationships directly with patients. I enjoyed learning about different disease states and the medications related to them.
What do you find most challenging about pharmacy school?
I think the most challenging thing about pharmacy school is learning time management. So much is expected from you as a pharmacy student that mastering time management early on is vital to your success. It’s important to find the right balance between studying for exams, completing assignments, doing co-curriculars, and working. At times, it was hard to be under so much pressure, and it made finishing pharmacy school seem impossible. However, over time learning to prioritize and be organized with your time becomes more manageable.
What advice would you give to students interested in attending pharmacy school?
Get a great support system because you will definitely need it. Reach out to your advisor, mentor, and upperclassmen, and don’t feel afraid to ask questions and seek guidance. Pharmacy school can be overwhelming at times, and it helps to talk to someone who knows what you’re going through. They will help you keep your focus straight and keep you in check. My advisor was great at ensuring all my co-curricular requirements were getting done and were not left last minute.
Want to read more student pharmacist stories?
Zahra’s story about her pathway to pharmacy is excellent! If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy these student pharmacist stories:
- Why I Chose Pharmacy: The Story of a Pharmacy Student Who Was Inspired by a Family Connection
- Why I Chose Pharmacy: Alice Jeong’s Journey to Finding a Meaningful Career
- Why I Choose Pharmacy: Continuing a Family Healthcare Legacy