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PharmD Student Leaders Share Study Tips: Who They Are and What They Recommend

Anne Marie H. BergtholdOct 20, 2016

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of information you need to understand and remember for an upcoming exam? Having a good study strategy can help you tackle the mountain of information. We asked several student leaders to share with us how they study and what techniques they would recommend.

What is your #1 study tip?

Jamie Legaspi '18: "Do what works best for you! If it means studying with a group, find that group and make the most of it!"

Andy Szeto '18: "Break up the material and revisit it several times. I feel that the more you expose yourself to lectures and notes, the more the content sticks. Often students look at a professor's lecture slides once and get discouraged that they can't understand it. The point of school is to learn things that you don't already know so it is perfectly natural to not understand class material right away. Each time you study, ensure you understand the overarching idea before you dive in. This will help you 'connect the dots.' Rho Chi also provides tutors who can help you with course material."

Michaela Vachuska '18: "When it comes to learning new material, I like to 'mix it up.' Study methods that are highly effective for one class might not be effective for others. By quizzing myself often and talking to my friends about the material, I am able to evaluate how effectively I am learning and adjust my habits as necessary."

Milana Vachuska '18: "I feel most prepared and confident in class when I review the lecture slides the previous night. In the afternoons, I try my best to review the lectures that took place earlier that day. This method is definitely a big time commitment, but I've found that I do best on exams when I approach the material this way. Office hours are the best way to get your questions answered. There is only so much explanation a professor can give during class and sometimes it takes just a few minutes with them to solidify a concept."


Legaspi serves as academic affairs coordinator for Phi Delta Chi. She shares, "They have a strong passion for leadership and brotherhood. I also felt very comfortable around them and found a family in them." She adds, "My experience here at Pacific would not have been the same if it weren't for the people I have met and the friends I have made."

Legaspi is also a project manager for Alternative and Integrative Medicine (AIMRx). "I was interested in the type of education they did and all of the events they put on," explains Legaspi. She is also involved in the Medicare Part D Outreach Program. "As I learned more about the program, I realized how much it interested me and how much of an impact I could make on peoples' lives."

Szeto is originally from Sacramento and it was the recommendation of alumni that led him to choose Pacific's accelerated doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) program. He explains, "I liked the idea of being able to complete a typical four-year PharmD degree in only three years. Being from the area, I personally knew several Pacific alumni and they only had positives things to say about the School, students and faculty." He adds, "Being able to meet so many like-minded peers has been the most humbling experience. I know that even after I leave Pacific I'll have life-long friends to rely on."

Szeto serves as secretary of the Industry Pharmacists Organization (IPhO). "I chose to run for the executive board of IPhO to showcase myself as an advocate for industry pharmacy and to facilitate networking with industry professionals," said Szeto. "Industry pharmacy is a relatively nontraditional field of practice for pharmacists that gained popularity in the past several years. IPhO-Pacific was the first IPhO chapter on the West Coast, so I wanted to be at the forefront of industry and innovation in California."


He is also a member of the Rho Chi Honor Society. "My foremost attraction to Rho Chi was the opportunity to be a peer tutor and mentor to first year students," said Szeto." The first year of pharmacy school can be demanding on new students and Rho Chi makes available second year students to help coach and steer their study habits and time management to achieve success."

It was strong recommendations from alumni that brought Michaela Vachuska to Pacific. She describes her first visit to the campus, "I loved the warm atmosphere and the faculty and students spoke very highly of the program. One of my mentors is a Pacific Alumnus and he encouraged me to apply." She adds, "The faculty at Pacific have exceeded my highest expectations. They are extremely supportive and understanding. It has been amazing to have them as resources."

Michaela Vachuska explains what led her to pursue the role of president of the Student College of Clinical Pharmacy (SCCP), "SCCP just graduated from a committee to an organization and I was excited about the prospect of being at the forefront of this transition. I am passionate about clinical pharmacy, so it was a perfect fit."Milana Vachuska serves as president of Pacific's chapter of California Society of Health-System Pharmacists (CSHP-Pacific) and scribe of the Medicare Outreach Logistics Committee. "During my first semester here I noticed that CSHP-Pacific hosted a high number of quality events," said Milana Vachuska. "I wanted to provide those opportunities for my fellow students."

In July, Milana Vachuska participated in the Pharmacy Scholarship Ceremony. She shares, "The Scholarship Ceremony reception was a meaningful highlight of my Pacific experience. At the reception students were given the opportunity to have dinner with the donors of their respective scholarships. This event made me feel as though I could someday make a difference in a student's life and it elucidated the strength of the Pacific alumni network."

For more tips on how to make the most of your Pacific experience read 8 Things You Should Do During Your First Semester at Pacific.

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