Advice, Current Students, Life at UBC Pharm Sci

“Treat the patient, not the prescription” and other quotes that shape our practice

We asked four of our UBC Pharm Sci Student Ambassadors to reflect on the quotes and advice that have shaped their practice, and that serve as a reminder to why they chose pharmacy. Here’s what Alex, Jonathan, Lisa, and Miriam had to say.

UBC Pharm Sci student at Health Fair

Image: Ivan Yastrebov, UBC Pharm Sci

“Treat the patient, not the prescription.” (Barbara Gobis)

When studying for exams and and prepping for labs, it’s incredibly easy to lose sight of what to do when face-to-face with a real patient. For example, I’ve asked patient-actors in lab counselling scenarios if they were pregnant or lactating only to realize that the patient is a male. Over the years, I’ve learned the true essence of critical thinking. It’s not just about assessing all the information, but the relevant information to help your patients. The ability to look at a problem wholly and not focus on the situation right in front of us is something I’m glad I’ll leave the Faculty with. – Alex Assumption

“Today you may have 30 encounters with patients, but each patient likely has only ONE pharmacy visit today.” (Unknown lecturer)

I think this quote really speaks about how important each patient/pharmacist interaction is. When we’re out in the community, we might experience a high volume of patients and as the day goes on, experience fatigue. We might end up being complacent with our interactions and just aim to pass (ie: > 60%). However, we need to remember that although we may have multiple patient interactions in a day, we might be the only healthcare professional a patient interacts with on that given day. We are representing the healthcare system, and every patient deserves our full attention and effort. – Jonathan Loong

UBC Pharm Sci student at Health Fair

Image: Ivan Yastrebov, UBC Pharm Sci

“Bring value and you will become indispensable.” (Dr. Dan Martinusen)

In a busy pharmacy setting this thought has helped me focus on what comes first and build a plan to achieve that goal. Despite only working one day a week, it is very gratifying to have patients in the pharmacy who know me by name and will seek me for advice. The rapport I have with my patients is a valuable asset I bring to their healthcare team. – Lisa Wang

“You’re my favourite drug experts” (Dr. Simon Albon)

This is essentially the most valuable asset of a pharmacist. We spend three years learning about drugs, from medicinal chemistry to pharmacology to therapeutics. In practice, our expertise about medications is where we are most needed. Whether you receive a drug information request from a patient or from a doctor, others look to us for answers about medications. – Miriam Ahmed

Advice, Current Students, Life at UBC Pharm Sci

My Practicum Experience: Karen Teng in Cobble Hill, BC

One of the most nerve-racking things about pharmacy school is waiting to find out where your practicum placement is. I remember opening up ‘E-Value’ and staring blankly at my screen thinking: “Where’s Cobble Hill?”

Cobble Hill sunset. Photo by Karen Teng.

Cobble Hill sunset. Photo by Karen Teng.

I knew most of the major cities in BC but I had never heard of Cobble Hill before. I had no idea if it was in Northern BC, in the interior, or on the island. Turns out, Cobble Hill is a little under 4 hours from Vancouver on Vancouver Island. It’s a small town with a population of under 2,000 people.

I was born and raised in Vancouver and prior to my practicum I had never lived outside of the city, or even alone. I was nervous about going to Cobble Hill, a place that was foreign to me, with no familiar faces and an entirely new learning environment.

It was challenging to find accommodation for only one month. I started to do my research about Cobble Hill but what was available online was very limited. I was quite worried and stressed but thankfully, my fellow students gave me advice and support. I found a place within a ten minute walk to the pharmacy I worked at, and the owners and their pets were very welcoming. Little did I know, however, it wasn’t a common thing in the community to walk to get to places. I was an unusual sight on the roads, walking to and from work, and was soon to be known to all my co-workers as the one and only person walking on the roads!

I lived on a farm with horses and chickens. I wasn’t used to seeing miles and miles of farm land but it was very picturesque and relaxing, especially at sunset. I did feel homesick as this was my first time living away from home and being alone. To help deal with my homesickness, I was able to video call with my friends and family almost daily.

The first few days at the pharmacy were quite overwhelming, but the pharmacy staff and customers were very welcoming. My preceptor supported me and helped to build my confidence in counselling patients. She allowed me to take the initiative to make recommendations to doctors and dentists in-person and over the phone. She would give me pointers and tips before counselling patients or going over to talk to the doctors. I was lucky enough to be at a location where the doctor’s office was right next door. I was able to walk over and discuss with different doctors about drug therapy problems and make my recommendations. I was given the opportunity to collaborate inter-professionally as many students weren’t able to just walk next door and get to know the doctors.

One unique difference that I experienced while on practicum, as compared to working in Vancouver, was that patients in this small town were more easygoing and friendly. They were less time-sensitive and a lot more talkative. It felt like everyone knew each other and were always asking how their kids were or their plans for the weekend. It was very heartwarming to be part of this tight-knit community! Patients and customers were much more likely to share with you their plans and would make recommendations on where I should visit while I was here.

Another highlight I had during my practicum was being able to interview several patients. I was quite surprised how comfortable patients were to be interviewed by me, a first year Pharmacy student. I felt very well respected as they trusted me, a stranger, to better understand their condition and themselves as a patient. It was a very valuable experience as a pharmacy student to learn about the patient and discuss their drugs and conditions. Over the 4 weeks of my practicum, I was able to confidently counsel and interview patients and collaborate with other health care professionals. It was a very valuable experience for both my professional and personal development. This practicum also gave me the opportunity to explore more of BC and meet some wonderful people.

— Karen Teng, second-year Entry-to-Practice PharmD student


Advice, Current Students, Interviews, Life at UBC Pharm Sci

Why You Should Consider Joining a Pharmacy Club This Year

Pharmacy school can be tough and it’s important to strike a balance between academics and having a social life. One thing that really makes our Faculty stand out is that we have a variety of clubs within the Faculty, meaning students can engage in extracurricular activities with other fellow pharmacy students too!

Clubs Night. Photo by Ivan Yastrebov.

Joining a pharmacy club is a great way to make new friends, de-stress from academics, get involved in Faculty events, and possibly develop life skills as an executive member. Third-year pharmacy student, Jonathan Loong, spoke with reps from three clubs to learn more about what they have to offer – and why you should consider joining.

Pharmacy Business Club

What does the Pharmacy Business Club do? Why should students join?
The Pharmacy Business Club is a student-led, student-oriented venture that aims to inspire and educate prospective and practicing healthcare professionals in business-related disciplines. We stand for the advocacy of pharmacy (and for all recognized healthcare professions), innovation in practice, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Our goal is to help healthcare professionals and students foster the skills and creative capacity to facilitate, evolve, and revolutionize patient-centred care, their current or future practice, and the healthcare system as a whole.

What sets your club apart from the others?
All of the clubs within the Faculty are unique and offer something that appeals to the student body. However, we found there was a void between pharmacy business and the resources available to students outside the classroom. The Pharmacy Business Club provides students with the platform to lead any initiative they are passionate about, from food drives to setting up networking events with members from the business community.

What is THE major event or thing that everyone looks forward to?
The flagship event for Pharmacy Business Club is Independent’s Night. We held our inaugural event in January 2018, hosting 7 community pharmacy owners from across the province. We had speakers from Fort St. John, Sorrento, and various cities in the Lower Mainland. The purpose of this event is to promote independent pharmacy ownership. Independent’s Night gives students the opportunity to ask questions directly to the owners in a small group settings.

What is a piece of advice you’d give to potential pharmacy applicants?
Explore. There are many aspects to pharmacy practice, and it can be overwhelming to figure out what stream of the profession is best suited for you. It is a rewarding profession with many different avenues that may be explored.

UBC Vocal Ensemble

What does the UBC Vocal Ensemble do? Why should students join?
The UBC Pharmacy Vocal Ensemble is a club that gets together once a week, to choose and practice songs which we later perform at pharmacy events or our own concerts throughout the year.

Students should ONLY join the vocal ensemble… if they enjoy singing. That is the one thing in common with every member of our club, and absolutely nothing else is a requirement. Heck, if you sing in the shower you can join! If you’re undecided, we strongly suggest that you check out a practice. We are a super laid back group, and everything we do is for fun. There’s no pressure, so feel free to come on by and see for yourself what the club has to offer.

What sets your club apart from the others?
First of all, our faculty does not have much variety in terms of hobby-related clubs. However, what really makes our club unique is that it is the one place where you can gather with your peers in all years of the program, not worry about exams or stress, and just relax and connect with others doing something we all love: singing.

What is THE major event or thing that everyone looks forward to?
Now this may be up for debate, but I have to say the Coffeehouse is THE event to look forward to (in our opinion anyway!) We essentially set up a small homey stage in the pharmacy building atrium, and students from all years of our program come out and showcase their musical talents, while others enjoy coffee, tea, and baked goods over a couple rounds of board games. We have a long list of registered acts, followed by an audience-wide sing-a-long of a popular song that everyone knows. Not only that, but during the open mic session afterwards, many shy students opened up and surprised everyone with huge hidden talent. It really blows your mind to see that this faculty of incredibly capable pharmacy students can do other things too!

What is a piece of advice you’d give to potential pharmacy applicants?
The best way to set yourself apart from other applicants is in the multiple mini interview session. My best advice? Be confident. Decide on how you want to approach each problem before you enter the room, and once it’s time, stick to your decided approach and explain your rationale. Be bold, and don’t be afraid to show some personality. If a station doesn’t go as well as you expected, the second it’s over, purge everything that happened from your mind, reset, and go into the next room, ready to perform.

UBC Pharmacy Yearbook

What does the UBC Pharmacy Yearbook club do? Why should students join?
Joining the Pharmacy Yearbook Club presents a unique opportunity for pharmacy students of any skill level to cultivate design and photography skills. We love to help our members learn, so often senior photographers or layout designers will hold tutorials to teach newer members. Of course, meeting with students from other years and developing friendships is a great benefit, and is key to the teamwork needed to produce a Yearbook.

What sets your club apart?
We are the only club that makes the Yearbook. Not many clubs in Pharmacy involve an artistic/creative aspect, so it is a refreshing change to our pharmacy-filled lives.

What is THE major event or thing that everyone looks forward to?
Valentine’s Day. Not only do we make the Yearbook, but we also organize multiple events. One such event is organizing the candy-grams on Valentine’s Day, during which the whole team works together to take orders, and deliver hand-packaged candies to pharmacy students from their peers.

What is a piece of advice you would give to potential pharmacy applicants?
Develop your non-pharmacy skills, and don’t be afraid to show your creative side. Become a well-rounded student try not to only focus on the academic part of pharmacy.

Questions? Get in touch with these club committees here:
Pharmacy Business Club
UBC Pharmacy Vocal Ensemble 
UBC Pharmacy Yearbook

— Jonathan Loong, third-year Entry-to-Practice PharmD student

Admissions, Advice, Prospective Students

My Pre-Pharmacy Major: Karen Teng

We get a lot of questions about what to study prior to applying to the Entry-to-Practice program in order to set yourself up for success in pharmacy. You will need to complete the pre-requisite courses but outside of that, there’s no one right answer!

Photo credit: Don Erhardt, UBC Communications & Marketing

We’ll be sharing some of our student’s experiences with their previous majors in upcoming posts, and learning how they translate to success in pharmacy school. In today’s guest post, second-year pharmacy student Karen Teng is sharing her perspective as a psychology major:

Prior to entering the Entry-to-Practice PharmD program at UBC Pharm Sci, I majored in psychology at the Faculty of Science at UBC. (Other names used to refer to this major include biopsychology and behavioural neuroscience. Recently, the Faculty of Science officially changed the major to “behavioural neuroscience”, but the curriculum hasn’t changed.)

Studying psychology within the Faculty of Science differs significantly to the psychology curriculum in the Faculty of Arts. As the name “behavioural neuroscience” suggests, this major emphasizes the biological aspects of behaviour. We studied a combination of psychology and neuroscience in order to better understand human behaviour.

As a new UBC Science student, I was caught off guard to learn that we had to choose our major of specialization at the end of that first year. At the time, I honestly had no idea what to major in. I was pondering the list of science majors and psychology caught my attention. I was quite intrigued by the idea of studying the biological basis of behaviour and learning more about the nervous system and brain.

What made studying psychology in the Faculty of Science unique was our program size of 40 students. Quite a change after a year of being in classes with over 200 students! I had many opportunities to get to know my classmates over the next 3 years.

I really enjoyed how flexible the psychology major was. I took a wide variety of courses, exploring different topics and fields and aspects of biology. Courses ranged from studying the psychological aspects of human sexuality to sensory systems to drugs and behavioural neuroscience. It was fascinating and I learned that when you enjoy something, you’ll end up doing well in it!

My previous major in psychology has proved highly relevant to pharmacy school. It equipped me with a strong background in neurochemical systems and neuroanatomy as well as understanding things from a biopsychological, behavioural and psychosocial perspective.

One month into pharmacy school and we were diving straight into anatomy and physiology of sensory pathways and perception. It can be quite overwhelming to learn about the brain and nervous system, especially having to recall the cranial nerves from I to XII. I was lucky enough to have learned it in the past which made it much easier to follow. Also, learning about different hormones, neurotransmitters and receptors has greatly benefited in my understanding of how certain drugs work in the body.

We also learned about mental disorders in psychology, which will greatly support my learning during the psychiatry module in 3rd year. This is the module that I look forward to the most as I will have the opportunity to explore it from a pharmacist’s perspective.

Pharmacists and psychologists share many similarities in practice. You need to understand your patient without making assumptions, and help to support and optimize their health. For example, a patient may be non-adherent to their medication for many reasons. As a pharmacist, you need to understand the factors leading to their behaviour, and different aspects of their behaviour, as well as the cycle of change.

– Karen Teng, second-year Entry-to-Practice PharmD student

Admissions, Prospective Students

Admissions Update: 2018 Application Deadline and Final Information Session

Happy New Year! If you are thinking about applying to the Entry-to-Practice PharmD program for the 2018 Winter Session, the deadline to apply is January 15, 2018. Here are some friendly reminders to help you get your application in order.

Image: AMS Student Nest. UBC Communications & Marketing.

Official transcripts from every post-secondary institution that you attended are required. After you apply for admission, the Undergraduate Admissions Office will review your application for completion and determine which documents are needed. You will then receive an acknowledgement email with your next steps. If you are currently studying at a post-secondary institution, it’s best to wait until your Fall term grades are available before you order your transcript. Our evaluators need to see the grades from your most recently completed coursework (up to December 2017).

You can also find this list on your Student Service Centre (SSC) in the “Application Status” page; this is also the best place to find out if your transcripts have been received. It will take time for postage and processing, so please be patient!

All transcripts must be sent directly from your institution to the Undergraduate Admissions Office, and not the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Transcripts can be addressed to:

The University of British Columbia
Undergraduate Admissions Office
2016-1874 East Mall
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z1

If you attended, or are attending, UBC or UBCO, you do not have to order your UBC transcripts.

Upcoming Applicant Q&A Session
If you are applying this year and have last minute questions about the program, admission requirements, and the application process, join us for an online Q&A session on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at 12 p.m. Pacific Time.

Register for the session here. Registration is required to receive login information.

Good luck!

— Carol Kuang, Manager, Recruitment and Admissions

Advice, Current Students, Life at UBC Pharm Sci

How to Get Involved with Research at the Faculty

The pharmacy profession is rapidly evolving and many entry-to-practice students are looking for ways to diversify their experiences.

Summer Student Research Program

One way to get involved in student research is through the Faculty’s summer student research program (SSRP). In today’s guest post, second-year student and Summer 2017 SSRP alum Karn Puri shares his advice and experiences.

Managing your schedule
The SSRP may seem like additional work on top of an already busy schedule but it’s not as demanding as you may think! Work typically starts after final exams and supervisors are willing to work around your practicum schedule.

Securing a spot in the program
Last year there were less than 20 spots available so we had to move fast to secure a position! I recommend talking to professors after class or in their office about potential research opportunities. If you want to secure a position, you should try to talk to them at the start of the year as new spots may have become available. Don’t hesitate to have this conversation! Your professors may seem intimidating at first, but they’re honestly some of the nicest people you’ll meet and are willing to put in the time and effort to train you into a well-rounded student.

What’s expected of you
There are two expectations of SSRP students: to work hard, and to have a good attitude. Previous experience is ideal for most labs but not absolutely required. Keep an eye out for the program application form which is usually sent out via UBC email in second semester. The application requires your transcript, a current resume, and a short explanation of your interest in the SSRP. Students are paid a salary for their participation in the program, which is usually around $4,557 CDN for the 12-week period.

At the SSRP poster presentation

Benefits of the program
The SSRP program is a lot more than a resume booster. The skills you learn in a research lab can’t be learned in a lecture. It requires a change in mindset. Missing one step of a procedure will cost you one or two marks in an end of block exam, but in the lab, it may cost you weeks of work and thousands of dollars! The critical attention to detail required to work in a research lab is very relevant to future pharmacists who will be managing multiple medications and handling sensitive patient care.

The poster competition and multiple lab meetings help develop public speaking abilities and give a sense of what it takes to maintain the interest of an audience. Pharmacists teach and counsel patients, so understanding how to communicate effectively is a very important skill. Student research also enriches your studies by helping you to apply lecture knowledge to generate data in the lab. For students who want to specialize, this is a good way to acquire a deeper understanding of your area of interest.

Karn’s personal experience
As a student in Dr. Rodrigues’ lab, my experience was very rewarding. The lab was supportive and willing to put in lots of their own time into my learning. I worked under a graduate student to help generate data, but I know that other undergraduate students have worked directly under a principal investigator. As I gained more experience over the course of the summer, I could carry out different lab techniques with minimal supervision.

At the end of term, all SSRP students were expected to participate in a poster competition. I spent some of my free time between experiments reading cardiovascular papers and understanding the theory behind the lab techniques to prepare for the contest. Also, my lab members constructively critiqued the poster until it was presentable. The competition took place mid-September during school hours. All participants were given a time slot to present and answer questions. The judges looked for a coherent and well-articulated presentation that conveyed a single, straightforward message with supporting evidence. At the end of the research day, prizes were given out for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.

The SSRP program gave me appreciation of the time and effort it takes to generate the information that is used to guide our clinical decisions. Furthermore, I acquired an important set of skills that will be useful for pharmacy practice.

I would strongly recommend this program to anyone who has the chance to participate and advise that you try to find a supervisor early.

Submitted by Karn Puri, Class of 2020


How to Study For Finals: Tips & Advice from Faculty Members

Hard to believe it, but term 1 is winding down. You are only weeks away from relaxing in your finest turtleneck, sipping eggnog, and enjoying good times with family and friends.

Image: Martin Dee/UBC Communications & Marketing

But first, let’s talk final exams and studying tips. Our faculty members have been where you are – many times before. Here’s their best advice for getting through exam season.

Tamiz Kanji, instructor 

My study tip is to acknowledge when your studying time is impactful or not. If you’re staring at study material and not engaged or you are distracted – take a break from it. Start up again when you are ready.

Brian Rodrigues, professor

Get a group of your friends/classmates and study together. Not more than 4-5 individuals. Divide the lectures into segments. Thus if you are 5 students and there are 20 lectures, allocate 4 lectures per individual. Then get each person to go through the material they learnt. Explaining material to the group really makes concepts clearer. I find the BEST way to learn and REMEMBER is to try and explain the material to your colleagues.

In every course that I’ve taken, either as an undergraduate or graduate student, I ALWAYS studied with friends. And always aced everything. Other students were always amazed that we only studied 1-2 days before any exam (together) yet were never stressed (and always had the most fun).

Ingrid Price, senior instructor

I always liked putting things into my own words – but narrowing it down to less and less words until I had a key word that I could use to remember information. Also, I love acronyms! Anything to help me remember. I am a bit of kinesthetic learner so, I used to walk my dogs and study at the same time – often with recipe cards that had notes on them that I could look at as I needed to as I was walking. Also, I used to try to study when I was most focused cognitively – so morning/early in the day was my best time for focusing.

Ali Meghji, lecturer

1) Don’t spend the first 2 days of the exam period cleaning your apartment regardless of how productive it makes you feel.

2) Think about the application of everything you study and how each piece of information might help you in the future. Once you recognize its’ utility, it’ll be easier to remember.

Michelle Fisher, lecturer

Start early! Schedule time every day to study one topic. There is plenty of time later to have a life. No, I changed my mind. This is your life so fit in a small reward here and there to keep you motivated. Go outside.

My Habits:

1) I like to listen to lectures on my tablet during my commute.

2) I also like to sit outside and study and will try to study in uninterrupted blocks of time as long as the exam i.e. 2 or 3 hours.

3) I also like ear plugs for exam writing since the clicking sound of typing and noisy air conditioning bother me.

Tony Seet, instructor

When I was studying for exams, I used the different libraries around campus. After staying at the same library for a long period of time, my mind would start to wander so I would pack up my stuff and find a different library to study. The fresh air and change in scenery would help me to refocus and it was an interesting way to see the other parts of campus

There are a number of resources available if you feel like you’re struggling to manage your workload and stress.

Empower Me: Available 24/7 to students anywhere in North America. Call 1 (844) 741-6389 (toll-free) to be directly connected to the Empower Me Clinical Response centre.

UBC Counselling Services: Their phone number is (604) 822-3811, and they’re located at Brock Hall (1874 E Mall).

If you ever feel you need support after hours, you can also call the Crisis Centre, which confidential and available 24/7: (1-800-784-2433).

UBC Wellbeing Coping Strategies Handout.

Wishing you all the best for your final exams.

– Karie Hanson, program advisor and manager


Admissions, Prospective Students

Entry-to-Practice PharmD Applications Are Now Open!

The UBC undergraduate application for Winter 2018/19 is now available online.

UBC Imagine Day, 2013. Image: UBC Communications & Marketing

UBC Imagine Day, 2013. Image: UBC Communications & Marketing

Here’s how to apply:

Applicants from outside UBC can access the UBC application online at:

Current UBC students can access the Change of Program application online, via the Student Service Centre (SSC): The Change of Program form is located under the Registration tab.

Former UBC students can apply online to be readmitted via the Student Service Centre (SSC): The Readmission form is located under the Admissions tab.

Current UBC students who are planning to graduate at the end of this Winter session should still apply through the Change of Program application in the SSC.

If you would like to attend an information session, we will be hosting Information Evenings which are delivered in person but can also be viewed online through a webcast.

The upcoming sessions are:

  • Thursday, September 14, 2017 6:00 PM-7:30 PM
  • Thursday, October 12, 2017 6:00 PM-7:30 PM
  • Thursday, November 23, 2017 6:00 PM-7:30 PM

Registration is strongly recommended. Please RSVP on our events page.

Advice, Current Students, Life at UBC Pharm Sci, Prospective Students

Advice for Incoming First Years on Studying, Adjusting, and More

To the Class of 2021: Welcome to the Faculty! We are looking forward to seeing you in September, and we hope you’re feeling good about this next chapter. It’s helpful to hear other people’s experiences and tips when starting something new, so we’ve asked second year student, Sam Chu, and Year 1 instructor, Kathy Seto, for their insight and advice.

Above the Student Nest. Image: UBC Communications & Marketing.

As Year 1 progressed, how did you adjust your studying and learning style?
At the start of the program I put a lot of effort into trying to achieve perfect results in every assessment that we had. I soon realized that with the amount of material and the rate it’s delivered, this would be a very challenging route to take. I started to take the small assessments as more of a check point of where I should be. I also began to study a lot more with classmates and upper years. Being curious is a big part of this program, and my curiosity has helped me to make many like-minded friends among classmates and upper years!

What’s one tip you wish you knew at the beginning of year 1?
“The program is very short, enjoy every moment of it.” I was very lucky to have made the friends that I did very early on into this program, and they have taught me to be grateful for every second I spend here. It will be hard, it can get overwhelming, and it is stressful – without a doubt! But you will never be alone, and that’s one thing that I’ve really enjoyed. The best tip I can give anyone coming into the program, or even still going through pharmacy school, is to take the moment and make it into what you want it to be, so that you can enjoy every last second of it.

How do you think studying or learning in PHRM 100 differs from the pre-requisite courses students took?
In pre-requisite courses, I think students tend to focus mainly on memorization. In our program, I would encourage students to try and shift their study strategy away from “memorize and regurgitate”, because that usually doesn’t work very well in a professional program. Students should try to focus on making connections between what they are learning and how they can use this knowledge to provide better patient care in their future practices. This really is the best way to learn and retain information in a meaningful way!

Do you have 2-3 tips on how a year 1 student can make the most of the Integration Activities (IA)?
Do your homework and make sure you’re prepared for your IA sessions! You will learn better if you are thoroughly engaged in the moment, rather than spending the session trying to figure out what is going on and just trying to stay afloat. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and try not to obsess about marks. Shift your mindset by asking yourself, “what can I learn from my mistake so that I don’t do this again in practice?” and “how will learning this make me a better pharmacist?” And lastly, relax and have fun! You’ll take away so much more from the session if you are calm and enjoying what you’re learning.

If you need support during this transition, or any time over the next four years, you can drop in to UBC Pharm Sci’s Student Services office. We’re open Monday to Friday, 8.30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and we’re located beside the East entrance to the Pharm Sci building.  You can also check out UBC’s Student Services website for interesting information on health and wellbeing, careers, studying, resources across campus, and more.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and we’ll see you in a few weeks!

Contributed by Karie Hanson, Program Advisor and Manager, UBC Pharm Sci.

Advice, Current Students, Interviews

Finding a Job After Graduation: Advice from Career Educator, Kimberley Rawes

To wrap up our series on finding a job after graduation, we spoke with Kimberley Rawes from the UBC Centre for Student Involvement and Careers.

Image: Martin Dee / UBC Communications & Marketing

What attributes or commonalities do students who find a suitable job after graduation possess?
What a good question – and a tough question! I find reflection and self-awareness to be one of the attributes talked about less, but one worth spending some time on. Reflection can be practiced over time (“so what… now what…” type discussions or thoughts with friends, family or yourself). With more and more practice, you learn more about yourself and what matters to you. This is the kind of thing that employers look for.

They look for you to talk about what your skills are and why they matter to the employer. They want you to tell them stories about times when you excelled or times when you were really challenged and explain what you learned from both. At the foundation of these kinds of questions or examples is reflection.

Now that you are nearing the end of your program, I would recommend asking yourself a few questions:

  • What are some memorable moments from your experience of the program where your skills were tested or strengthened?
  • What have you learned from those moments? What skills did you use in each story?
  • How do those stories illustrate the skills and attitudes of a professional pharmacist?

Write down these stories. They can be used to improve your resume, cover letter, or interview examples. Not sure how to do this? Come to the centre or check out our resume videos.

What job search tips do you have for our graduating students?
Even if it takes more time, prepare a different resume and specific cover letter for each and every employer. Most candidates send a generic resume out to all employers since the jobs they are applying to are similar. This means that the candidates often don’t speak to the specific duties or responsibilities in the role, the values of the company or organization, and miss out on linking their experience to the role they are applying to. This holds them back from the interview stage, not because the employer doesn’t think their experience is good enough, but because an employer doesn’t understand the experience or how it relates to their role.

I strongly encourage students to check out our online resources that describe how to effectively tailor and target your application, write your cover letter, or write strong accomplishment statements on your resume.

The Centre for Student Involvement and Careers offer many helpful resources on their website, along with events, one-on-one advising, and drop-in resume coaching.