Inside UCSF

            During the spring of 2011, I was accepted into the outreach program, Inside UCSF, which was hosted by the University of California, San Francisco. The program was an informative two days and one night event in which it introduced motivated students to specific health science career paths, provided students with opportunities to interact with faculty members as well as a student panel of UCSF students, and offered a chance to become inspired about future career possibilities. The great aspect of this outreach program is that there is no catch! The program is completely free of cost to selected applicants, with all traveling and food expenses covered. The Inside UCSF program offered a plethora of informative and enrichment opportunities, in which it reinforced my desire to apply and attend pharmacy school after I graduate with my four-year degree. Applicants took an inside look at UCSF’s Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and also the Graduate Division. For lodging, the program coordinators paired male participants with male applicants and female applicants with female applicants. The hotel I stayed at was the Hilton Hotel located in the heart of the downtown San Francisco. The nighttime was reserved for the applicants, separate from all the faculty members and program coordinators, to interact and socialize together, so we decided to roam the city of San Francisco and experimented with a variety of delicacies, desserts, and even shopping. But the best part for me was meeting and forming relationships with the other program participants. As a matter of fact, I discovered that two of the other participants attended the same university as I did and we still remain in contact even until today. The next day, I attended interactive workshops that gave me insight on how to become a competitive applicant and the application process. I also attended a pharmacy student panel in which the program participants were allowed to ask all sorts of questions, ranging from topics like the life of a typical pharmacy student to how do you balance schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and internship. Additionally, I was given the opportunity to experience the typical classroom setting. One of the most interactive parts of Inside UCSF was when I sat down and had both lunch and dinner with UCSF’s faculty members. The lunch and dinner allowed for a more personal interaction and experience with the school’s faculty members as they helped debunk the stereotypical myths and misconceptions of applying to pharmacy school, the life of a pharmacy student, and the expectations that come along with being accepted as a pharmacy student. From all of the aforementioned experiences ranging from workshops to roaming the city, the most important aspects I gained from the outreach program was motivation, and most importantly, what I call the five P pillars. The five P pillars stand for: 1) Priority: Family, school, and health come first, but also do not forget about the small decisions in life like deciding between studying for an exam or attending a social event with friends. 2) Passion: Make sure I am passionate about what I am pursuing, otherwise, why do it? 3) Partnership: Form everlasting relationships with the ones who care about me and the ones I care about; life comes simpler when I make connections and network with my fellow peers and colleagues. 4) Perseverance: Stay patient and confident even during times of struggle. 5) Preparation: Properly prepare myself for the many challenges of pursuing my goals in life. I highly recommend this outreach program to individuals aspiring to pursue a career in the health field. This experience was invaluable towards my personal growth as I was able to gain a deeper understanding of myself and my aspirations.