A Round Robin Letter

Hello blog readers!

I guess I have been pretty bad at updating you on what I have been up to over the last couple months! When did I last post on here? November? December?

Anyways, in my family it’s that time of year again-when we all sit down and sharpen our pencils, dust of the typewriter, or open a new word document on our computers. See in my family, since there are so many of us, twice a year we write a round robin letter.  We each write one letter, than email/mail it to the designated family member, and they copy them/upload them into one giant PDF which is then mailed/emailed back to us.  It is a really great way to stay updated on what is going on in everyone’s life because even with Facebook, texting, etc. it is still difficult to stay caught up.  Since the last time I posted on here was about the same time as our last round robin letter, I figured I would just update everyone by posting my letter here instead of trying to update you in several different posts. Enjoy!


Greetings from Duluth!

If anyone is wondering-pharmacy school still feels like a whirlwind of studying, student organization meetings, work, sleep, more studying and maybe squeezing in a little bit of time for some fun 🙂

Since Winter Break, I have:

  1. Attended the annual American Pharmacists Association (APhA) in Baltimore. It was really amazing to learn more about the election process for the national office, get to know my fellow classmates a little better, and learn how to function on very little sleep-especially since I don’t drink coffee. Also learned a lot about health disparities when my classmate walked into a glass wall for a revolving door and broke her nose.  The ER experience in Baltimore was a lot different from my ER experiences in the past! Our school also submitted a PharmFlix video (the goal is to promote the profession of pharmacy) this year, and we made it to the top 5 which was exciting since it was the first year we have submitted one.
  2. 10392501_10153600244638925_4849207733103387135_nGot to meet the Rear Admiral Pamela Schweitzer!!!!! For those of you thinking, “why is this so exciting???” RADM Schweitzer is the Chief Pharmacy Officer for the US Public Health Service and serves as the Assistant Surgeon General! I actually met RADM Schweitzer at APhA briefly, so it was amazing and a great honor to get to meet her again.  While she was here, I also got to meet with her along with our SCOA liaison from the Twin Cities, and our MPSA President-Elect to discuss our SCOA group (Student chapter of the Commissioned Officer Association) and how we can further increase awareness of the US Public Health Service and public health initiatives being promoted by the current Surgeon General.
  3. IMG_4556Went to Fargo for the Northern Tier Conference for pharmacists in the commissioned core in Montana, N. Dakota, S. Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. This was a really fun event and opportunity to hang out with a bunch of the pharmacists from IHS as well as learn more about some of the topics that we have learned about in school this year. In fact, I think I learned more from some of the presenters than I have learned in class, but then again, that could just be because I was paying more attention!
  4. Went to Bemidji with the rest of the family and some friends to help my sister celebrate paying off her student loans!  Not going to lie, it made me feel a little bit wishful, daydreaming of the day when I will pay off my student loans…when I’m 80 (at least that’s how old I feel I will be when I eventually pay them off)!
  5. 1468545_1052487508146912_7577298019233144917_nParticipated in the Cultural Competency Competition that was put on by one of our student organizations. We basically worked in groups to come up with a plan to treat someone’s health care needs and who was from a minority and then created a video of our ‘clinic visit’ with them. It was a nice experience to learn more about how to more effectively treat someone who has a lack of knowledge about the health care system, other stressors in their life that affect their treatment, etc.  We also got an elective credit for participating, which is always nice!

Up and Coming stuff in my life:

After finals are over in May, a classmate and I will be headed to the USPHS COA Symposium in Oklahoma City (it is basically a big conference for Commissioner Officers). We will be presenting a poster on how SCOA has increased awareness of the USPHS among the pharmacy students at the UMN.  Thankfully, my sister is letting us crash at her place so we can split up the 14 hour drive.  It has been kind of fun to dig into the data showing that we have increased awareness and interest in the commissioned core since we started the group.

After returning from Oklahoma, I will be headed to Fergus Falls for my Intro to Hospital Pharmacy rotation this summer. The rotation is three weeks and I will be staying in the dorms at the Community College there.

After Fergus Falls I will be heading to PARKER, ARIZONA!!!!! If you can’t tell, I am just a little bit excited 😀 I will be doing another JRCOSTEP there, and I am also hoping to do some major traveling on the weekends to do some fun day hikes, despite the average summer temperature being over 100 °F.  Also hoping to finally see the Grand Canyon, and hopefully it isn’t foggy like when my cousin went for the first time!

Anyways, time to get back to studying….

From your pharmacist-in-training,





March Madness

Well, I suppose it is an understatement to say I haven’t posted in a while.   My excuse for this lack of blog presence is that I didn’t want to be so misleading as to suggest a second year pharmacy student actually has any extra time in their life.  I don’t have enough time to live my life most of the time, let alone write about it! That said, I am not complaining;  it has been an exciting few months and I cannot be more grateful for the wealth of opportunities I have had recently.

One piece of exciting news on a college-wide scale is that we found out a few weeks ago that we are now ranked #2 by the US News and World Report, up from #3 in 2012. Usually I don’t care about rankings in anything at all. My track coach in college always told us “rankings, schmakings”, meaning we should take them for a grain of salt since everyone who steps on the line on race-day has a chance to win no matter what they were ranked.  The same could be said with schools of pharmacy: it is what you put into your education that makes you a great pharmacist one day, not what arbitrary number your school is ranked on some list.

Despite this usual attitude I have, I am not going to lie that I was excited to see our school recognized for our quality of education and research.  The change to the new curriculum has not been without some bumps in the road so I think students, faculty and administrators alike were excited to see that our school’s commitment to constant improvement and innovation, despite the challenges that come with this change, is paying off. Definitely a pretty sweet feeling; almost as sweet as the celebratory donuts provided to us for the news (I wonder what they will get when we get bumped up to #1 in 2020… a pizza party?).  I also have the upmost respect for UNC right now… not only are they now ranked number 1 in Pharmacy programs, but their basketball prowess also single-handedly saved my March Madness bracket. What is in the water there?

class pic

Twin Cities Class of 2018 being goons becomes the temporary face of the COP ! 

Speaking of March Madness, that is pretty much how the month of March was….Madness.  I have the classic pharmacy school problem of overcommitting myself between work and extracurriculars, so it felt like for everything I crossed off my to do list 5 more things came up.  I started doing medication history in the ER (basically interviewing patients to make sure we have the right medication list for them when they are admitted) at my job during the weeknights so that sucked away some nights where I should have been studying… but luckily making money and learning all about new medications I have never heard of makes it worth it!  On top of that, I competed in a research competition put on by the American College of Clinical Pharmacists (ACCP) that involved writing a research protocol that people in real life probably would take a year writing in 1 month so that was another thing I could be doing instead of studying.  On top of THAT, I just started an internship with the division of the Academic Health Center that designs the interprofessional 1Health curriculum to create a unique interprofessional learning experience game for groups of students to improve their communication skills to efficiently provide patient care: I don’t want to go into too many details at this point but it is just about going to be the coolest thing ever and working on its development has been yet another thing that I have done instead of studying (seems to be a theme, huh?).

Now it probably just sounds like I am a horrible student and never actually study…but I do recognize that the stuff we are learning about such as electrolytes, kidney disease, diabetes an so on is pretty darn important for my career as a pharmacist so I make sure I learn it… I just have mastered (ok maybe not mastered, but have become proficient in) the art of learning things once and making it stick.  It just so happens this learning it once occurs the night before the test sometimes, but I like to think of it as the sense of urgency just adds an element of thrill.  Some people argue that cramming makes you forgot everything, which may be true but our integrated curriculum makes it so anything we learned is revisited again and again and again… so I think the most important things stay up there for good.


My ACCP Clinical Research Team: Sam, Sarah and myself.  We spent hours upon hours working on our protocol but are happy how it turned out.  We will see if we placed on April 29th to win a trip to the ACCP conference in Florida in October! 

Luckily in the midst of March Madness was spring break where I went to the PNW (Oregon, Vancouver and Washington) with two of my classmates for a week full of amazing hiking, running and eating. Below are a few of the many Swileric (Swetha, Hilary and Eric) Kodak moments on our trip.  So glad this time we had a selfie stick to capture them all.

After I got back from my trip it was a rough 2 weeks of exams and assignments but we are in the clear for a while since we have no tests in the month of April!!  Last weekend my days looked like this- Saturday: wake up at 6, run, study for 12 hours and Sunday: wake up at 6, run, study for 12 hours.  This weekend was a full 180 turnaround- Saturday: wakeup at 8, go to a health fair, spend way too much time making squash macaroni and cheese,run,  do a few non-urgent assignments, and watch TV for a few hours.  Sunday: Wakeup at 10:45 (yeah I guess I was a little tired!), do a little bit of schoolwork, run, cook food for the week, go to a double header intramural soccer game with the Pharm Phutballers (who proceeded to win 2 close games back to back, at least 1 man down the entire time!) and then come home and get ready for class tomorrow (and finish this blog).  Definitely the kind of weekend I needed! Anyways, hopefully I’ll be a bit less MIA and try to update now that I have more time.

Until next time!