Meet Patil Hovsepian! Patil is currently in her fourth and final year of pharmacy school at West Coast University, located in Los Angeles, CA. After exploring her passion for medicine, Patil narrowed her choices down to find her path in pharmacy. Learn about Patil’s best tips for those aspiring to attend pharmacy school, as well as her own experiences in the past four years.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in pharmacy?
From a young age, I was sure that I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. I always loved science and knew I wanted to help people. As I grew older, I had a profound interest in various diseases and how medications worked to treat them. I narrowed my search to pharmacy, and it has been my passion ever since.
I have always admired pharmacists and the work they do for their community. They are the most accessible providers within the healthcare system, with extensive knowledge of medications. I felt motivated to work with my community, educate them on their health conditions and medications, and improve their lifestyles. I aspire to become the friendly face patients feel comfortable coming to for advice and hope to inspire them to take control of their health and be the best versions of themselves.
What about your path to pharmacy school is unique?
My path to pharmacy school is unique because I knew I wanted to become a pharmacist since high school. I’m very goal-oriented and worked hard from the very beginning to get to where I am. I went to a small, private high school in Los Angeles called Rose and Alex Pilibos. They truly did their part in preparing students for their futures; hosting career fairs, having guest speakers, and offering numerous AP classes. They also taught me the value of helping your community. After graduation, I was accepted to Cal Poly Pomona University, where I received my bachelor’s degree in biology. Here, I received the educational foundation needed to succeed in pharmacy school. I chose biology as my major because I wanted to learn more about how the body worked and knew that the extensive coursework associated with this major would have prepared me well. During this time, I also volunteered at a pharmacy over my summer breaks to better understand the field. Finally, I was accepted to West Coast University, School of Pharmacy. During my first two years, I focused more on my academics and leadership experience. After my second year, I was ready to gain hands-on work experience and was offered a position as an intern pharmacist. Currently, I’ve finished my didactic courses, and I’m in rotations. It has been an incredible journey thus far, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.
How did you choose your school of pharmacy?
When applying to pharmacy school, one of my priorities was staying local. I knew the hardships that were to come, so I wanted to stay close to home and have my support system nearby. When doing extensive research on pharmacy schools in southern California, West Coast University stood out to me. I valued their student-centric education program, which emphasized collaborative learning and an integrated curriculum, offering the real-world experience to become a successful healthcare professional.
The first pharmacy school I heard back from regarding an interview was West Coast University. The interview process went smoothly; it included a face-to-face interview with faculty members, as well as a written portion. After the interview, I was given a campus tour and received additional information regarding the program. Once I received my acceptance letter, my choice was clear.
Did you have any mentors that helped you as you explored possible career paths?
My childhood tutor has made a huge impact on my life. I have always admired his passion for science and education. Growing up, I never felt that I was good enough or smart enough. However, from a young age, he instilled in me that I could do whatever I set my mind to; that obstacles are made to be overcome. Throughout high school and college, he stood as my mentor and guided me with any questions or troubles I had. While I was in college, he was beginning his own journey through pharmacy school, so he was a great person for advice. I’m grateful to have him as my mentor and proud to follow in his footsteps.
I also had the privilege of having a relative who was a pharmacist. He provided me with the opportunity to volunteer at his pharmacy over my summer breaks in college. I shadowed pharmacists, learned more about their roles and responsibilities, and witnessed how pharmacists impact their patients and community. This experience confirmed that this was the path I wanted to follow and diminished any doubts I had.
What is your favorite part of pharmacy school?
There are so many things I love about pharmacy school. If I had to choose a favorite part, I would say it was my involvement in leadership activities. I have been a part of many of the organizations on campus. However, I gravitated to the most was the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, California Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP/CSHP). I feel that I grew with this organization. I was the ASHP/CSHP WCU chapter liaison during my first year, secretary during my second year, and vice president during my third year. It was an incredible experience working with such a strong, motivated group of student pharmacists to organize events that sponsor professional development opportunities and community outreach. It was also inspiring to meet and interact with the pharmacists who are a part of ASHP/CSHP and get a glimpse of our futures.
What do you find most challenging about pharmacy school?
The most challenging part of pharmacy school was finding a school-life balance. During my first year as a pharmacy student, I struggled as I tried to adjust. Academics became my number one priority and I put my personal health, well-being, and relationships aside. I soon discovered that this was no way to continue. Although academics will always be a priority, I learned to prioritize my time better and establish boundaries. I made sure to set aside time for myself, do the things I enjoy, and see my family and friends. After I found a school-life balance, I felt comfortable getting a job, and have now found the perfect work-school-life balance for me.
What advice would you give to students interested in attending pharmacy school?
Always follow your passion! Nothing comes easy, but it will be worth it in the end. While you’re in school, never be afraid to ask for help. The professors and faculty always have their doors open and are eager to assist. I was never one to go to office hours. However, that changed in pharmacy school. Also, remember that you’re never alone. Your classmates are going through the same things you are; if you’re struggling, they probably are too! It’s always reassuring to speak with others going through similar circumstances.
Want to read more student pharmacist stories?
Patil’s pathway to the pharmacy field is inspirational! If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy these student pharmacist stories: