As a dual PharmD/MSPH student, I had experience in a graduate school program before starting pharmacy school. I was already aware of some of the major differences between undergraduate and graduate time management requirements. However, pharmacy school was a completely different experience and I realized that I needed to rethink my time management skills pretty quickly after starting my P1 year. Since starting this year, I have figured out some of the best ways to manage my time most efficiently. Here are my top 3 tips to time management during pharmacy school:
1. Plan everything: You’re going to be bombarded with assignments, quizzes, and exams from each class. It is important to keep track of the due dates and hold yourself accountable. Planners are a great way to keep all your due dates organized. Most of the due dates for classes will be scheduled on the syllabus at the beginning of the semester. Go through each syllabus and write down every assignment due date at the beginning of each block. As you go through the block, you can add, and change things as needed. By being proactive, you already have everything that you need written down in one place. And if planners aren’t your thing, then that’s fine, too! Make a Google Doc or plan everything on a calendar (physical or virtual). How you do it is up to you but be flexible. Allow yourself to explore options and choose what works best for you!
2. Stick to a routine: It’s going to take a while to get the hang of pharmacy school but try to figure out a routine that you can stick to every day. Having a routine helps to keep you motivated and make the most of your time. Everyone’s schedule will look a bit different but knowing what works for you is key. Personally, I work about 15-20 hours a week at a retail pharmacy. I also have an hour commute to school and back every day. A daily routine is essential to keep me focused and on top of my assignments. One way that I maximize my time is by listening to recorded lectures on my commute to and from school. Find what works for you and stick with it. Routines help to reduce your stress and that’s extremely important in such a stressful program!
3. Take time for yourself: A demanding program like pharmacy school takes a lot out of you. It can be easy to get caught up in all of the stress and due dates. Sometimes you have to decompress and find time for yourself. Once again, this is very personal and different for everyone, but find a moment in every day to do something for yourself. This can be taking a walk, reading a book, or maybe watching your favorite Netflix show. Obviously, you can’t get too carried away since you have so many other things on your to-do list, but it’s nice to just focus on YOU for a little while. Give yourself a break. You deserve it for all of your hard work!
Overall, be proud of yourself for everything you have accomplished! If you need help figuring out a schedule or how you can best manage your time, reach out to someone. There are plenty of resources available at CPHS to help you succeed!
Tayler Clark, P1