Meet Aliyah Cruz, a fourth-year pharmacy student at the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Spurred by her passion for education and healthcare, Aliyah is working hard to become a pharmacist and support the health of her community. Follow Aliyah’s path to achieving her PharmD and what she learned along the way.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in pharmacy?
I have always had a passion for education and health care, and pharmacy seemed to be the perfect combination of both. I wanted a career that allowed me to work and better the health of my community while also allowing me to have one-on-one interactions with patients still, and pharmacy was the obvious choice!
What about your path to pharmacy school is unique?
I’m not sure my path was extremely unique; it consisted of various pharmacy technician jobs and social organizations to confirm that I liked the path I was on. I did receive a B.A. in Chemistry, as it was suitable for the prerequisites of most pharmacy schools and still allowed me to take other classes I was interested in instead of digging into bench-top science.
How did you choose your school of pharmacy?
I had gone to UNC for undergrad, and I had my family within the state, so the familiarity of the program along with its innovative status made choosing the program a no-brainer!
Did you have any mentors that helped you as you explored possible career paths?
I have so many mentors. One thing that took me a long time to realize was that mentors do not have to be experienced professionals only; your peers can serve as mentors because they have different perspectives and experiences that can only help you grow!
What is your favorite part of pharmacy school?
My favorite part of school is honestly the extracurricular experiences that I have been able to have. I have been able to fully engage with the underserved populations in my area and connect with my peers and pharmacists across the nation, which has been incredible.
What do you find most challenging about pharmacy school?
The most challenging part of school is always finding the balance between your school activities, extracurriculars, work, family and friends, and yourself. Each year, you will improve, but with each new chapter, priorities will change, and you have to learn how to be flexible and make it all work.
What advice would you give to students interested in attending pharmacy school?
Find your local pharmacy school and see if you can get a current first or second-year student mentor. This will allow you to see them progress through their schooling and hear their real-time reflections on their career paths, interests, stressors, and wins!
Want to read more student pharmacist stories?
Ani’s story about her pathway to pharmacy school is inspirational! If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy these student pharmacist stories: