Poked And Prodded, In More Ways Than One: A Reflection of My Third Year So Far

Poked And Prodded, In More Ways Than One: A Reflection of My Third Year So Far Shika Reflecting Forward

No one said pharmacy school would be easy but, no one told me how many times I would have to be injected with stuff: normal saline, influenza vaccines, purified protein derivatives to test for TB, normal saline, normal saline, and more normal saline. Here’s a reflection of my third year so far.

If you are averse to needles, you are going to have a hard time in pharmacy school. Simulation labs consist of us poking each other with needles to test our glucose and our cholesterol.

Our fingers never get cold when I have a band-aid for almost every finger. We pretend to give each other flu shots during a practicum with Normal Saline. Each person leaving with 2 to 3 band-aids on their arm.

addiction aid bottle capsule
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Then, there was that one time we gave ourselves fake insulin shots individually while graded by a professor. Pharmacy school is an interesting place but, I’m just poking fun. I enjoy giving people shots. Maybe I should have been a phlebotomist.

Nah! I just recently got my bloodwork done and man! The phlebotomist took a lot of blood. I was like, ‘Hey! I’m fasted, here! Don’t drain me too much,’ but in my head though.

white plastic syringe
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I also peed in a cup twice in a span of a month. I will probably have to do it one more time before the end of this month. Peeing in a cup is expensive. It cost me almost $100 to do it once just so they can tell me what I already know, I’m drug-free! This is a drug-free zone!

But, it’s required for my hospital rotation. I was just mad because they never told us about these expenses so, it wasn’t in my budget. Funds are low, you know.

Poked and Prodded in More Ways Than One Google Am I Dying?
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I also had a horrible toothache a couple of weeks ago. I thought my teeth were going to fall out because of my gingivitis which led to periodontitis from a bacterial infection from food getting in the crevices of my teeth without me knowing. Thanks, Google!

But then I realized I was just grinding my teeth too hard from stress. I almost had to book an appointment to spend more money at the dentist. I don’t think we have dental on our insurance. Other than that, life is good I guess.

What else happened this semester? I went to a conference. I am pretty proud of myself for allowing myself to go and put all the money needed into it. I absolutely do not regret it and would do it again if I could.

I was able to get headshots for my LinkedIn, meet Managed Care Pharmacists, eat really good food, learn about Diabetes Treatment from an expert, talk to and learn about different residency and fellowship programs and sleep in a really nice Airbnb with my friends. What’s not to enjoy?

woman walking on pathway while strolling luggage
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My traveling was not just limited to conferences though. I went to a birthday and a wedding, in that order. Both were back home in Florida where I live or pretty close to where I live. It was nice because it was a change of scenery.

It allowed me to relax and enjoy my life a little bit. Both of those were very helpful for my mental health although I stressed a little when I came back because I have exams every Monday so my weekends are never completely free. Third year was definitely draining.

But, you know how I can tell those trips back home were good for me? I got an A on both of those exams when I returned. I also returned happier because there were many times where I felt like my life was just school and nothing else.

Towards the middle of the semester, I could see my finances going down a dangerous path. Third year came with less financial support and more tuition to pay. Well, I actually I saw that beforehand but, I tried to side hustle my way out of it. Nothing positive happened there. I’m still trying for next semester.

Hopefully, I get some freelance work and some good surveys over the winter break. Hire me! I’m desperate but, I also need a flexible schedule. I sound like the millennial that I am right now. Anyways, shameless plug. I’m on Fiverr and Upwork if you need proofreading and editing done. Back to the regularly scheduled program.

In terms of my extracurricular life, I feel like I could have done better as a Mental Health Co-Chair but, at the same time, I didn’t know what I was doing or how the system works. Mental Health is a new initiative under the Student Affiliates of the National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) so, there is no roadmap from someone else to follow so, that can be a good and a bad thing. We can pave our own way but, that also means we cannot afford to lack creativity and innovation.

We did host a talent show which was very successful for something that had never been done before and also because event protocols are not that clear. I like clear-cut and organized instruction. There was none of that here.

Anyways, we also had a mental health discussion group which I thought was a great tool and useful to those who attended because it was like group therapy but, I wish more people came out. We are all stressed. It helps to talk with a group of people going through similar things but, the extremely small group also made it more intimate which I did like. I definitely want us to host another mental health discussion.

women s wearing purple floral brassiere holding gray concrete pathway during day time
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As far as my physical health, I’m popping! I worked out most weeks but, not to the point of almost killing myself which is in my track record for those of you who do not know. I worked out at home most days but, I recently went back to the gym because I missed my weights! The post-gym endorphins are real! I leave feeling lighter but, that’s probably because I literally took some weight off my shoulders.

Now, jumping back to school work stuff. It is what it is. Honestly, I just unload my loads here on this blog when I feel stressed or talk to my supportive group of friends. I’m so grateful for them. If I did not have these people during my third year, I don’t know what I would have done. There were many times where I felt unmotivated to study because I felt like that was all I ever did and I was exhausted.

But, there were also times where I renewed my strength through encouraging blogs, podcasts, watching developmental videos and just trying to improve myself in other areas unrelated to school and more related to my future. Doing things like that allowed me to refocus on why I was in pharmacy school in the first place. Also, going to symposiums and hearing the inspirational speeches from other pharmacists helped a lot because sometimes you just feel lost in isolation and need someone to help you see where you are going.

attractive businessman busy clock
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There were also times where I was so busy, I had no time to throw myself a pity party. For example, when I didn’t get any of the unique rotations that I applied to. I had to just move on that day because I was literally busy from 8 AM to after 9PM with school and organizational stuff. I only had 15 minutes of peace in those long unpaid hours. 

I treated myself with a huge dinner and a nice drink that night at a restaurant because I deserved it. Third year is exhausting. Sometimes, you need to treat yourself but, don’t get too carried away otherwise your grades and your wallet will be crying.

Poked And Prodded, In More Ways Than One: A Reflection of My Third Year So Far Shika Reflecting Forward

Overall, all I can say is that I made it this far into my third year. It is too far for me to stop going now. Today is my last final of the semester! Wish me luck! Hope the next semester can be just as productive, if not better!

Thanks for Reading My Rant!

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Also, like this post, if you noticed that this is the first time I used myself as a featured photo or if you could just like it if you like it! Follow my blog if you find me charming. Comment below! What are your reflections for this year? What’s the good and the bad?

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Shika Tamaklo is a pharmacist who graduated from Mercer University (2020). She is a college lifestyle blogger who writes on fitness, health, life struggles, creative side hustles and, occasionally dabbles in creative writing.

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