Kari Wilkens, '05

Kari Wilkens

"Do at least one of your APPEs outside of Western New York, if you can, and choose one that is completely outside of your comfort zone."

I'm a Class of 2005 graduate of UB’s prestigious PharmD program. A few years ago I was where you are now, wondering what pharmacy school was really going to be like. There is a lot to look forward to and, based on my personal experience, here are three distinctive aspects of UB’s program that have allowed me to be happy at UB and successful as an alumnus:

  1. I am sure you have heard this at least 50 times by now, but get involved.  
    There are many organizations from which to choose, from student government, to fraternities, to yearbook, and beyond.  Pick one (or two)! Getting involved in an organization will give you a chance to get to know other students (both in your own class and in others), forge relationships with faculty (each organization has an adviser) and, in some cases, meet alumni.  These relationships will serve you well while you are a student, as well as after you graduate. Pharmacy is a small world, and the more connections you have, the better!
  2. Make the most of your IPPE and APPE experiences, especially your APPEs.
    This will be the only chance you have in your career to dabble in different aspects of pharmacy, with no more than a six-week commitment. Do at least one of your APPEs outside of Western New York, if you can, and choose one that is completely outside of your comfort zone. I was assigned an APPE which I would have never picked for myself (and, frankly, was very nervous about), and it ended up being both my favorite APPE, as well as the one in which I learned the most.  Push your limits!
  3. Most importantly, make time for yourself, and the things you like to do.
    Pharmacy school is a challenge, but do not let it consume you. Carve out a chunk of time each day (even if it is only 10 minutes) that is strictly for you. Read a book, go for a run, meditate, FaceTime with your best friend or family—anything that has nothing to do with pharmacy and makes you happy. You will find that, some days, this what helps you survive the day.  Pharmacy is what you study, not the whole of what you are.