Life as a Pharmacy Student: Interview (Second year, London School of Pharmacy)
1) How did you decide your degree choice?
I was always very interested in science – however, I could not decide between Medicine and Pharmacy. After much debate I opted for Pharmacy, as I thought the career prospects would suit me best. Medicine is a very demanding course and requires a lot of dedication, which I thought I was not ready for. With a Pharmacy degree, I have many options of working in hospitals, community or industry, which most appealed to me.
2) What were your expectations before starting your degree?
I knew the course would be challenging and time-consuming, as the course tries to replicate what Pharmacy life will really be like. However, some elements of the course I did not expect to go into so much detail, such as Physical Chemistry.
3) What is the jump like from A-level to Undergraduate level?
At A-level much of the work was spoon-fed, whereas at university you are expected to carry out independent research, aided by lectures and tutorials. Although there is more freedom at university, there is a lot more pressure to do well and you can easily fall behind on your work.
4) Which of your science subjects, at A-level, help you in your first year at university? Was there a recap of some modules?
At A-level I did Maths, Chemistry and Biology and all of them helped me in my first year of university, as many of the modules were introductions into what we were going to do in the second year and the following years. There were definitely recaps on modules such as Statistics and Organic Chemistry, but with more detail than A-levels.
5) What do you find most difficult?
I think trying to keep organised and keep on top of my work, as very easily you find yourself swamped with a lot of deadlines and reading over lecture notes.
6) How do you balance your social life and work?
Most of the time work comes first but I always try to keep spare time for meeting up with friends and going out to dinner or watching a movie. The best way to do this is to set time for completing university work and then enjoying a relaxing break with friends after. I usually make a list of tasks to complete for each day or through the week and keep a few hours free to go out or spend time on an activity I enjoy.
7) What do you love most about your degree?
I like the fact that my degree is so varied and we learn many aspects of Medicine which I didn’t even know. We cover modules such as Drug Discovery and Therapeutics. It is really an eye opener to the types of work opportunities that are available, such as working in labs or carrying out ward rounds with doctors. I really enjoy the Pharmacy practice side of my degree where we focus on patient counselling, as it shows the reality of community Pharmacy.
8) Were you required to do any pre reading? If not, would’ve you liked the option?
I was not required to do any pre-reading but had we been given the chance, I think it would have been useful. However, much of the modules we covered in first year were touched upon at A-levels, so it was not a necessity to have done any pre-reading.
9) How many hours per week are you required to study?
Excluding scheduled lectures and tutorials, we are required to have approximately 12 hours of independent study per week.
10) How do you manage your time effectively?
I usually make a timetable where I list the tasks I need to go over and set a deadline for when it needs to be completed.
11) Describe your typical day
My typical day starts off with lectures from 9:00 till 12:00 and sometimes till 1:00. During some days of the week we have labs which run from 2:00 till 5:00, which are pretty intensive and demanding. The labs involve making chemically synthesised molecules or extracting DNA from bacteria. Most days I finish early and go to the library to complete coursework and carry out independent studying.
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