Four Things to Say to Your Family Before Your First Exam

A decade ago, I met a rotation student whose spouse didn’t understand why dinner wasn’t ready every night.


A few years ago I met a 2nd year student who was going through a divorce and a contributing factor was “little to no time for their relationship.”


Last year I met a 1st year student whose family didn’t understand why the student couldn’t attend every family function.


Not every pharmacy student will face this. Not every situation is preventable. What I’ve found is that regardless of the year in school, our families’ needs show up in different ways every year. To start off on the right foot, here are 4 conversation starters to have with your family BEFORE your first exam.


1. I may need more time for studying this year.

2. I may not be home as often.

3. I may need to ask for help with meals, laundry, transportation, [insert here].

4. What expectations do you have of me?


I lived away from home during pharmacy school. Far enough that it was challenging to make the trip for a three hour birthday party. I struggled with deciding whether to stay and study or go home and see family. Sometimes I made the right choice, and sometimes not.


Here’s the takeaway: your family may not realize the amount of time required to prepare for exams. They may not understand how rotations are 40 hours/week in person yet much more in commutes and projects. They may not know the difference between an easy quarter and a tough quarter. They may not understand how your studying may impact their weekends, their meals, and their holidays. You may not realize what their expectations are for household tasks, family responsibilities, and social events.


Your family wants you to succeed. You want to succeed.

Don’t wait to have this conversation with those closest to you.

Ask for their support before you need it.


What else do our families need to know? Comment here or below!

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