My Journey through Pharmacy School

Booker T. Washington once said, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” If that is true, then I believe that I am one of the most successful students to graduate from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s Class of 2014.

By Nkem Nonyel
May 16, 2014

As a dual degree student completing both my Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) and Master of Public Health, my journey these past four years was not as smooth as the journey of many of my classmates. I completed my degrees while going through one of life’s most stressful moments — a divorce. In fact, my decision to return to school came as a result of my separation. I am a single mother of four children, and I wanted to give my children a brighter future. I could not think of a better way to do so than to return to my lifelong career aspiration of becoming a pharmacist.

In addition to struggling through a divorce and raising my children as a single parent, my life as a student pharmacist was turned upside down again after my younger brother passed away during my third year at the School. I was ready to quit. However, I found my inner drive and motivated myself to continue, and to succeed. With support from my mother, children, and classmates at the School’s Baltimore and Shady Grove campuses, I was able to stay in school.

I found ways to balance going to school with family, work, and other obligations. The faculty and staff at the School of Pharmacy helped me succeed by lending me their support, for which I will be forever grateful. I also received several scholarship awards to help finance my pharmacy education.

I was able to become involved with activities that I am passionate about, such as mentoring prospective students and getting involved in community health outreach in underserved communities through the Student National Pharmaceutical Association, for which I served as president from 2012-2013. I also feel honored to have had the opportunity to impact the lives of so many through my position as one of the School’s student ambassadors from 2010-2013, through which I was involved in a number of PharmD student recruitment activities. I was also involved in the Lambda Kappa Sigma International Professional Pharmacy Fraternity, American Pharmaceutical Association, and American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacist during my time at the School of Pharmacy.

Next year, I will be spending my time as a pharmacy practice resident at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md., and, as I look into the future, I am excited for opportunities to pay the School back for all it has done for me. Not only am I committed to getting involved with the School’s Alumni Association, but I also hope to one day serve as a preceptor for the School, helping future student pharmacists succeed in the same way that the faculty and preceptors with whom I’ve worked so closely these past years have helped me.

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