Class of 2016 student Scott Stratton tells about being a new pharmacy student and a new parent in the same year, and gives some advice if you are considering applying to pharmacy school and have kids of your own
My name is Scott Stratton and I am a second year student at University of Charleston School of Pharmacy. My life recently changed forever as my beautiful wife, Cassandra, gave birth to our first child, Luke Asher during the spring semester of my P1 year. My purpose is to give some insight from a father’s perspective on juggling pharmacy school and family life. I have no intention on persuading you to apply for pharmacy school but to inform you about my own personal experience and how I try to balance things out so that I am successful as a student and most importantly as a family man.
If you are interested in pursuing a career as a pharmacist then I should tell you that it’s no easy task. Of course, every person is different and there are varying degrees of ability within each student. I am the type of student who works hard to make good grades, and sometimes I do put a lot of stress on myself because I always want to strive to do my absolute best and learn as much as I possibly can. However, I also spend quality time with my family so it is truly a juggling act.
I think that if you’re interested in school but want to start a family as well (or already have one!), it is extremely important that you and your family talk thoroughly about the sacrifices that each of you must make to ensure that you’re successful in pursuing this endeavor. Time is the most precious commodity so make the best of it. In my own personal situation, I am commuting 4 hours each day for school simply because it is more beneficial to my wife and my son rather than have them relocate. While it is hard and I don’t have a lot of time to study during the week my wife and I have utilized a plan on the weekends so that I can make up the lost time for studying. Sleep is also something that you may find yourself lacking so I would encourage you if you’re not a fan of coffee to learn to love it as it has been my best friend this semester. Even though our life is so busy, we would definitely do things the same way we have done them. Luke Asher has given me a deeper sense of purpose, as my wife would agree. Please take my advice and know that you are willing to make the sacrifice to get through school then it is worth it to pursue your dream. You can have the best of both worlds if you work hard to keep a balance between school and your family.
All in all, your success in school really depends on the sacrifices that you’re willing to make. While it may seem like your neglecting your family just remember that if you do decide to go to school that what you’re doing is admirable. You are putting your family first by putting a huge emphasis on your education. Just remember that pharmacy school is only four years and a great career choice. By graduating, you will be passing down a legacy to your child so they will have what they need and want, and they may even go to pharmacy school themselves. Stay positive and focused and I think you will be happy with the result.
Class of 2015 student Hannah Hutchinson talks about her experience balancing life as a pharmacy student, wife, and mother of two older children (Oh, yeah, and she is our PSGA president this year too!)
As a parent of two middle school children, I worried about how to balance my family life with pharmacy school when I first began almost three years ago. However, since then I have come to realize that it is similar to working a full time job and coming home each night to fix dinner, attend extracurricular activities, help with homework, and have a little time to work on my own studies. I make every effort to suspend studying over the weekend to allow plenty of time to do what we love, like camping, card games, visiting with friends, and finding new hiking trails in the beautiful WV State Parks. There are times when our schedules are overloaded during sports seasons and holidays, but we’ve learned to let go of whatever we can and flow through until there is time to catch up again. A unique experience of going through graduate school at this life stage is that both of my children have started asking about career goals for themselves, which opens up the perfect teaching moment about lifelong learning and the importance of education.
So if you are a parent and are on the fence about applying to pharmacy school, know that Scott and Hannah, and many other students here at UCSOP, are striking the proper balance of being a successful parent and a successful pharmacy student. So have that important discussion with your loved ones, have confidence you can be successful, and get ready to submit your application next fall!
Feel free to leave questions for Scott or Hannah in the comment section below!