Anna Arutunyan is currently a third-year pharmacy student at West Coast University. Anna loved going to her local pharmacy growing up and seeing how pharmacists could be an accessible outlet for public health in her community. With that experience at a very young age, Anna decided that becoming a pharmacist would be a fulfilling career path.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in pharmacy?
I have always had a passion for the field of pharmacy. Visiting the pharmacy once a month with my grandparents was a tradition and something I would look forward to. Of course, I would enjoy it because I would always get something I wanted for behaving on our pharmacy visits. However, that tradition continued as I grew up. I began picking up medications for my grandparents as I grew older. The more I went, the more I saw the interaction among patients and the pharmacist and how easily accessible the pharmacist was to each patient. The pharmacist was helping answer questions within their scope to help patients avoid lengthy doctor visits. That relationship is what inspired me to pursue a career in pharmacy.
What about your path to pharmacy school is unique?
My path to pharmacy school is unique because my grandparents, who raised me, were on numerous medications. Since they did not speak English very well, I took it upon myself to research their medications and determine their purpose. This intrigued me from a young age and was a passion that grew stronger as I became older. Once my grandparents passed, I knew this was a career I needed to pursue—not just for me but for them as well.
How did you choose your school of pharmacy?
I chose my school of pharmacy because of its proximity to me. I did not want to move out of my house for pharmacy school and this being the closest option to my family was the primary reason I chose West Coast University School of Pharmacy.
Did you have any mentors that helped you as you explored possible career paths?
The pharmacy I went to growing up ended up being a part of why I stuck with pharmacy! I volunteered there and got to see the pharmacy workflow. They are the people who allowed me to see if this path was right for me. They allowed me to expand my vision of pharmacy and gave me the chance to picture myself in this field.
What is your favorite part of pharmacy school?
My favorite part of pharmacy school is practicing oral recommendations in our skills lab class. This is where we see our knowledge applied in the real world. Putting the information we have learned into practice has made becoming a pharmacist feel real. That is something I take into work as well. Working at a community retail pharmacy allows me to take the information learned in school and implement it into actual patient cases.
What do you find most challenging about pharmacy school?
The most challenging part of pharmacy school is balancing a healthy personal, school, and overall healthy lifestyle throughout the semester. When I look at the material, it is difficult but definitely doable. However, managing day-to-day life can be challenging to balance at times, and burnout is real towards the end of the semester. One thing that has helped me find that balance has been taking it day-by-day and week-by-week. I stay positive and remember that this is all temporary and will be worth it in the end. We all just need that push, and having supportive classmates that are going through the same things gives me comfort that I am not the only one and pushes me to do better.
What advice would you give to students interested in attending pharmacy school?
To students who are passionate about pharmacy, go for it! I am not going to lie, it is going to get difficult, but it is something that you can do. Nothing is impossible. Put your mind to it, surround yourself with supportive people, and put in the hard work, and I promise you will be satisfied with the outcome. Keep your head held high.
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: