Life After Pharmacy School: It DOES Exist!

As a current student and tour guide to UCSOP applicants, I often joke that students look forward to two very specific days in their pharmacy school careers. The first being the day they get accepted into pharmacy school, and the second quickly becomes the day they graduate. As soon as the first year starts, students are already thinking about graduation. They wish for no more all-nighters, 3-hour lectures, or K-type or “Select All of the Above” exam questions. Instead, they dream of getting paid for saving lives and helping people receive their medications.

Now we have someone to give hope to all of those current and future pharmacy students! Today’s feature puts the spotlight on UCSOP alumnus Carly Preece (formerly Marcum) from the Class of 2014. Dr. Preece was generous enough to grant us an interview detailing her life after graduation and showing us that there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Q: Please tell us a little bit about yourself! Where are you from? Any hobbies or interests?

Dr. Preece: My name is Carly Preece (formerly Marcum). I am from Pike County in Kentucky. I recently married Chase Preece. I have an older brother, Justin Marcum (lawyer and House of Delegates member), 2 nieces, and 5 nephews. I enjoy working out, running, spending time with family, and cheering on my alma mater, the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Go Cats!

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Q: Could you tell us a little bit about your duties as a pharmacist? What’s your daily day life? Do you enjoy your job? How do you feel about taking on students?

Dr. Preece: I work at Kmart Pharmacy (Patrick St and Kanawha City stores). My days are crazy and busy, but I enjoy my job and never take a day for granted. I do a little bit of everything in the pharmacy. My days involve opening the store, running out auto-fill prescriptions for the day, answering phone calls and counseling, giving immunizations, calling insurance companies, checking and filling prescriptions, completing the daily drug orders, and when time allows, checking the inventory for outdates. The most important and enjoyable part of my job though, is when I feel that I am making a difference in a patient’s life and/or when I am able to teach them something about their medications that they didn’t already know. I enjoy having students at the store and try to make everything a learning experience. I feel that on-hand experience is the best way of learning and nothing can take the place of that.

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Q: We recently heard you were married! How do you handle or maintain a balance between work and your personal life?

Dr. Preece: My husband and I were married just after I graduated. We recently bought a house out of the Charleston area too, so I currently have a little drive to work. Time management is crucial, since I usually do 10 or 12 hour days. I don’t have much time to do anything else after work. However, my husband and I have definitely developed a routine and take turns making dinner, completing house chores, and running errands depending on our schedules. We try to balance time with our friends and family, as well as with each other, since these are very important to the both of us. Life after pharmacy school is great though. It took me 8 years to get there but all the hard work was definitely worth it. I feel extremely blessed and no matter how stressful my days can be sometimes, I never take my job for granted.

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Q: Could you take us back to when you were a student in UCSOP? What was your favorite class? What was the most challenging class for you? Any suggestions for current students?

Dr. Preece: I enjoyed pharmacy school for the most part. There were ups and downs, of course. Some classes were easy for me, while others were harder. It was a lot of hard work, but I knew there was nothing else I wanted to do. My favorite class was therapy, though. I enjoy the clinical aspect of pharmacy and therapy brought everything together that I had been learning for the first 2.5 years in pharmacy school.

My greatest advice is to never fall behind. I stayed on top of every class, the best I could, so I didn’t have to cram. You learn better that way and the information stays with you for the long term. Every night, I would always read before therapy and was prepared for class so that when the teacher lectured, I was able to listen. It was just reinforcing everything I learned the night before.

You also have to prioritize your duties because sometimes you can get too much on your plate, which is another reason why it is crucial to stay on top of things and make the best of your time. When you are in class, make the best of it and pay attention. Yes, I know it is hard sometimes to pay attention for hours at a time, but I just pushed myself. I knew that when I went home, I would rather relax for a bit, go for a run, and spend time with my future husband/family/friends, instead re-reading everything. It is also equally important to make “fun time” as well and remember to enjoy this part of your life.

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Q: Do you have any other long-term goals or dreams?

Dr. Preece: I feel very content right now. I feel like I have achieved my dreams. I am married, just bought a house, have a great job, amazing friends and family, and doing what I love to do. My long-term goals now are to work on starting a family with my husband, paying off my student loans, and striving on a daily basis to do great things for my patients. I take great pride in my job and always want to make a patient feel like they can come talk to me anytime about anything.

We would like to thank Dr. Carly Preece for her help with this post, as well as P3 Juhee Kim, who interns at K-Mart with Dr. Preece! Without them, this post would not be nearly as entertaining or informative!

 

Contributed by Peter Relvas UC SOP Pharmacy Student & Graduate Intern, Office of Professional and Student Affairs.

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