Brandon… the student

A Pharmacy Student at St. Louis College of Pharmacy coming up to the finish line…

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Me senior year:

I know why I wanna be when I grow up! I’m gonna be a pharmacist.

Me now:

I don’t know what kind of pharmacist to be when I grow up…

What happen?? Life was so simple back then.


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No, I’m not on a diet

So SB2013 is literally less than a month away! I was trying to get my guns pumped and washboard abs ready since I booked my ticket to Cancun… Who wouldn’t?

So when I say im avoid pastries and empty-calorie foods because im on “diet” its not that I’m trying to lose weight. I just want my going to gym to be doing more for me than working off the crap that I would’ve been eating. You get it?? Diets don’t have to mean you’re trying to get skinner, its just a new habit of eating. So let’s calm down and save your cupcakes for me for after March 8th. Til then, I’ll see you at Club Fitness.


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Where’s everyone going for spring break?

For me, SB2013 starts at 3PM on February 28… Right after our T4 exam. So on March 1st I’ll be flying outta STL to attend the APhA Annual meeting in Los Angeles for the weekend, along with 40 other students. Los Angeles is fun and all but I’m most excited about what comes right after APhA Annual- and that is CANCUN!! 5 whole days with me and my friends living like kings night after day. STOKED!! What a way to celebrate taking out first T4 exam!


Looking good as of now!

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….what about rotations?

5th year- Time to pick rotations.  Today there was a rotation fair here on campus.  Preceptors for various sites around the St. Louis area came to offer students a chance to do some speed-dating and go from table to table gaining insight on the different rotations.  I got a chance to talk to Meike Newell from SSM, Dr. Matt Pitlick who works at the nearby VA, Dr. Grice who spends a lot of her time here on campus, and briefly with Dr. Erica Pearce who has an ambulatory care site at SLUCare.  It was a pretty good set-up.  I did zero planning before going into the trade show; didn’t really know what to expect or what questions to ask, but it ended up working out.  I have no intentions of applying for a residency and I didn’t realize that rotations can be tailored toward your interests. Right now, I really enjoy community and picture myself working as a community pharmacist after I graduate.  Dr. Pitlick made me realize that rotations really are for us to develop ourselves as pharmacists and let us experience some of the responsibilities a pharmacists would have.  It’s still a learning experience and you still have a preceptor behind you.  Hope I get Pitlick as my preceptor… I think I’d learn a lot.  Life’s getting real.  Uh Oh.

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C.A.R.E.S. (Community Awareness Reaching Everyone in St. Louis)

Last weekend was success!  Every since my first year at STLCOP, SPA has put on a community service event for the whole college to participate.  This year, Amanda Fyalka, the STLCOP C.A.R.E.S coordinator and my fellow fifth-year, did an awesome job spearheading the whole day!  We had started preparation over the summer and the day finally came on September 15th.  Fifth-year students went to clinical sites where they either tested blood-glucose, check blood pressures, assessed high-risk medications, educated patients on fall-risk, passed out information on immunizations, informed people of the college’s Drug Take-Back program, and improved the image of student pharmacists all over St. Louis, to say the least.  If students weren’t at clinical sites, then they were either at KidsSmart- organizing teachers’ supplies, Santa’s Helpers- wrapping presents for underprivileged children, Habitat for Humanity- putting efforts toward the construction of a building, or at various parks/gardens around the community.  where they got their hands dirty doing physical labor.  All the students, faculty, and alumni who participated received breakfast, lunch, and this awesome t-shirt!  Thank you everyone who spent one Saturday morning to help others!


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SPA?? what for?

SPA has been around for about 8 years now (founded in 2004) and since the day I joined I’ve noticed nothing but change since I attended my first SPA meeting back in 2008.  Not really sure why I joined but the name of the organization, the Student Pharmacists Association, was enough to convince me that I could only benefit from joining….

Sitting in the back of Whelpley auditorium, literally in the last row, I chow down on my pizza as people start to pile into the room.  First, second, third, fourth, fifth, and even some six years… they all blended together; I couldn’t really tell them apart.  All I knew was that I was a first year, and the chances of someone being older than me were pretty darn good, especially those people who sat in the front row, getting ready to talk before the crowd of chattering people.

As they began the meeting, I remember not really paying attention to the content being presented but being impressed by students leading the meeting and being in a position that put all the eyes on them.  Obviously they talked about things relating to pharmacy, upcoming conferences, and opportunities to get involved. Honestly, the only thought I had about being a student pharmacist was passing classes and getting my degree.  I had been involved in high school and told myself the only thing that mattered was getting that Pharm.D. behind my name.  I never, never thought I would want to be up in front of the auditorium talking to my peers about ways they can be advocates for pharmacy.

But here I am… four years later… realizing pharmacy is more than I thought it was, it’s better than I thought it was!  PharmDs can do so much; we are trained and trimmed to be clinicians.  We have the doctorates because of our clinical knowledge, something we haven’t always have had.  The sooner students can realize how vital a pharmacist can be, no matter where they work, the sooner the public can realize the same thing.

That’s where SPA comes in- our mission is to help student pharmacists find their passion in pharmacy, wherever it may be.  Once they find that, that’s when they realize how awesome they really are. It seems that the power of pharmacists is the best kept secret around the healthcare block… it’s about time to come clean.


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Can i get a refill on my summer vacation?

School has officially started and we are all on our second week of school.  Thankfully I am a fifth year and all this is my last year of sitting through three-hour lectures.  Sadly though, the perks of summer vacation will also disappear.  Before school was let out last semester I vowed to have the best summer of my life!!  and I did just that.  I traveled across the seas to a place called Europe.

One entire month of my summer vacation I spent in Europe, nothing but my back-pack and buddy from High School.  We planned our first stop from Dublin and our flight out of Frankfurt, and everything in between was off-the-cuff.

What ended up happening was as followed:

Dublin–> London –> Paris –> Venice –> Rome –> Barcelona –> Prague –> Munich –> Heidelberg –> Frankfurt

I met so many different people; I saw so many great places and learned about the history of everywhere I went.  My eyes have opened up to the size of the world and I can see how amazing the world is for having so much to offer.

I am absolutely thankful for having the opportunity to go and  I understand that not everyone can…. but everyone should see the world and learn to appreciate everything it has to offer.  If you’re like me, you’ll gain some peace with yourself and be happy to know that life is good.  There’s nothing to more rewarding that exploring the wonders of the world we live in….



This is Heidelberg… One of favorite views of my entire trip.  A picture does not do justice.  Just image over looking a city that is 3/4 surrounded by mountains, the sun shining between clouds, leaving spotted shadows among the trees, and when the sun breaks behind the cloud, you have to squint to accept the warmth laying over your face.  Absolutely magnificent.