By: Annie Rogers, STLCOP Student, 2013 Summer MPA Rotation
It’s not difficult to be a mentor. It takes a pharmacist with a passion for their profession and the understanding that their future rides on the successes and failures of students once we graduate. Invite a student to tag along, work out loud, and introduce us to the way you work and the people you work with. They will be happy to just watch and learn. They will find their niche as long as you show them how you found yours and allow them to see how you continue to succeed.
If you think you don’t have time, it takes less time to invite a student to look over your shoulder than it does to say you don’t have time. If you think you don’t know any students, reach out because we are not that hard to find. If you are ever introduced to or approached by a student, jump on the opportunity to show them why you are and why they should be passionate about the pharmacy profession. Ask what their interests are and if they don’t match yours, introduce them to someone with similar interests. The most important part, after the introduction, is the follow-up. Get their business card or contact information and give them yours. If there is ever an opportunity for them to get involved, let them know.
I came from a zero to six pharmacy school and entered the pharmacy world right out of high school. Looking back, I can honestly say I knew next to nothing about pharmacy. I knew no pharmacists, no pharmacy technicians or interns, and no pharmacy students. In other words, I had no one to guide me and no one to tell me the secrets to their success. I didn’t realize how important having a mentor was until doors started opening and opportunities I never imagined were presented to me. If you had told me I would be the APhA-ASP Student Political Advocacy Network Liaison, a member on the MPA Legislative Committee, and have the honor and the courage to speak in front of over 250 pharmacists and pharmacy students at Missouri Legislative Day, I wouldn’t have believed it.
How could someone with no connections and zero contacts in the pharmacy world be granted all of those opportunities? The answer is simple; I had a mentor who was dedicated to opening my eyes to the intricacies and inner workings of pharmacy and the importance of getting involved as a student. He invited me to follow him around at Missouri Legislative Day. He stepped back and allowed me to speak to a legislator. He introduced me to pharmacists who were taking the profession to new heights. He told me why he became actively involved in moving the profession forward and how it was the best decision he had made. Now I can say that becoming involved in the profession, both politically and in the community, has made me see pharmacy in a whole new light and I have enjoyed every minute of it.
I would like to encourage all pharmacists to take the initiative and pick a student to mentor. It may be one of the most important and rewarding things you do in this profession.
If you’d like to get in touch with MPA’s rotation student, Annie Rogers (Pharm.D. Candidate at STLCOP), you can send an email to email@example.com.