The holiday season brings a plethora of emotions for most pharmacy students as pressure builds due to the semester ending and finals quickly approaching. UCSOP recognizes this stress and tries its best to help students unwind. This year during finals week, UC hosted a holiday dinner complete with all the trimmings, a midnight breakfast served by faculty and staff, and the Pharmacy Student Government Association (PSGA) sponsors a study break each day, offering free cookies, cupcakes, and every student’s best friend—COFFEE!
While the UCSOP staff tries to help students relax, students themselves also come together to help their peers pull through. A variety of events are held by multiple groups, including potlucks, white elephant gift exchange parties, and secret Santa events.
For example, the Class of 2015 has held a Thanksgiving/Christmas potluck each year since 2011. The students prepare a variety of dishes and congregate at the school for a massive feast, typically involving approximately 30 students. “Not all of us are able to go home during Thanksgiving break, so we really try to get together and enjoy the holidays as a family. It’s not easy organizing all of the food, but everyone always helps out and we all have a good time,” explained Class of 2015 President Minh Nhan.
Phi Delta Chi, UCSOP’s only professional fraternity, also shares in the holiday cheer. Their annual tradition consisting of an ugly Christmas sweater competition and a white elephant gift exchange was a success once more. This year, Stephen Bowers (P2) stole the ugly Christmas sweater crown from Patrick Roland (P3) and his exquisite collection of ugly sweaters. The competition was fierce, but Stephen pulled away with the “ugly” victory.
Students aren’t just celebrating and having a good time though. Several organizations are hosting food drives and donation events to help give to the less fortunate this winter. Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International (CPFI), for example, has been running Operation Christmas Child to provide toys, school supplies, and other gifts to children in the community. The annual event encompasses the true holiday spirit, and students are always excited to participate.
So while the end of the semester may bring a sense of stress and chaos to current and prospective pharmacy students, just know that there are plenty of ways to relax and enjoy the holiday (and final exams) season! Stress relief is essential to the success of student pharmacists, and UCSOP realizes that.
Happy Holidays and enjoy your winter break!
Contributed by Peter Relvas UC SOP Pharmacy Student & Graduate Intern, Office of Professional and Student Affairs