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Not All Professors Are Intimidating

Some are. Some don’t know it. Some do. Does it matter?

Have you ever had a teacher in the classroom (live or virtually) and you’ve thought one of these things:

· I really like this subject

· This topic interests me more than anything else in pharmacy school

· How can I find a job working with this subject?

If yes, it seems like the next logical step would be to talk to the presenter. You have two choices: after the presentation or by appointment. Let’s say you have to run to the next class/activity/study session/work. Let’s say you’re nervous about approaching professors. Let’s say you’re ready to talk to them, but they seem really intimidating. You’re not sure how they would react to your questions. You’re not sure if you’d be bothering them. You had a bad experience in undergrad and it left a scar. Maybe you heard things about this professor from classmates.

There’s only one way to find out.

Here’s the why. Introducing yourself to a professor or presenter at this stage in your career is actually a really wise career move. 1. Networking. 2. Practice talking to people who may or may not seem intimidating. 3. Practicing talking about a subject that really interests you. 4. Find out what else you can do/research/learn with that subject. 5. Discover that professors are people, too. 6. Learn about their careers and what they think about the future of our profession. 7. If it goes well, build a relationship that goes beyond a meet n’ greet.

Here’s the how. You can definitely email the presenter and ask for an appointment. But you can also put a feeler out there. You have someone at the college who you’ve talked to in the past (a mentor, advisor, another professor, a preceptor, etc). Email them and say, “I saw Dr. So-and-So present the other day and I was really fascinated by the topic. I’d like to set up an appointment or email them to introduce myself and learn more – do you think Dr. So-and-So would be interested in talking with me?”

What I wish I knew when I was in school:

Some physicians and nurses are intimidating. Some don’t know it. Some do. Does it matter?

Some patients are intimidating. Some don’t know it. Some do. Does it matter?

I’ve definitely paused and taken a deep breath before some conversations. My assumptions got the best of me many times, with professors and physicians and patients. I wish I practiced these conversational skills on campus. I wish I had the courage to inquire about super interesting topics. I wish I spoke to more professors, even the intimidating ones, because now I know they probably weren’t. They’re just like you, but with age and experience. They have time for you; just ask.

Interested in more topics just for pharmacy students? Check this out:


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