In this week’s article, we meet Alex Khzouz, a first year Global Medical Affairs fellow with BD. Alex attended our Industry Fellowship Day in 2018 as a prospective fellow, and offers his perspective on the event and how it helped him feel more prepared for ASHP. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, October 12th, and registration is now open! Click here for more info or to register. We hope to see you there!
Picture this. It is a breezy fall afternoon and you and a few friends decide to venture to an apple orchard for some fresh apples, donuts, and cider. The changing colors of the leaves and the crisp fall weather have you impatiently waiting to go apple picking. As you start walking, you eagerly begin to pick apples off each tree you pass by. Shortly after, you stumble across one particular tree that has these big, bright and beautiful red apples and you then start grabbing as many as you can. At this point, you notice that your arm starts aching from carrying the heavy bag of apples and you suddenly realize that there is no possible way that you are going to eat all of the apples you picked. How do you decide which apples make the cut and which ones get set aside? At first glance, they all appear colorful and delicious but as you focus your attention, you start to observe minor details and start comparing one delicious apple to the next. As a first-year Global Medical Affairs fellow at BD, I can relate to your dilemma. I know what it feels like to think that you are just another red apple in a field full of apples. However, each apple is unique and serves a purpose in the world. The same principle applies to each of you. I hope you can internalize the contents of my story and use it as fuel to guide you through the next few months of your journey to becoming an industry pharmacist.
In the fall of 2018, the academic portion of my PharmD program had ended and APPE rotations began. At this stage of my academic career, I was determined to secure an industry fellowship position. In order to make this dream a reality, I made sure that I did everything in my power to maximize every opportunity that I came across. One of the first opportunities presented itself as the MCPHS Industry Fellowship Day. For someone like me, this event exposed a completely new dynamic of social interaction that I had never experienced in my career as a student. Feelings of nervousness, excitement, and a burning desire to make a good impression all filled my body as I walked into the lecture hall where our esteemed director, Dr. Amee Mistry, began presenting in front of a crowd of pharmacy students from all across the nation. At first, I was under the impression that this event was primarily for students who had not “done their homework”. This was certainly not the case as I soon found out. After attending Midyear, I finally came to terms with a saying from the brilliant Vincent Van Gogh. “Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together”. The “small things” presented to us at this event really did make a world of difference when it was game time. Using these details to patch the minor gaps in your roadmap to navigate the endless frenzy of ASHP Midyear helps set you up to face any issues you are bound to encounter.
Upon completion of the lecture-style component of the event, the afternoon session had commenced which comprised of a round-table, cocktail-hour style event where students and current fellows had the opportunity to network with one another. As I walked into the reception hall, I embarked on a sea of students all gathered around each of the fellows. In that moment, it felt as if there were 100-pound weights attached to my ankles. My mind riddled with panic, my hands started sweating and the fear of making a conversational mistake stopped me dead in my tracks.
If you are anything like me, I am here to tell you that you are in luck. What we fail to realize from time to time is that each of us are unique and that is one of our greatest strengths. We often get lost in a sea of people and we begin to forget everything that makes us who we are. We notice the shine and glimmer reflected off others and that causes our innermost insecurities to be brought to light. All the while, we forget how special we actually are. We forget the experiences that led us to become doctorate-level students.
If there is one thing you take from this post, let it be this; your personality has a large impact on your success at obtaining a fellowship. Moreover, it only takes one of these remarkable companies to truly understand the value of your personality and its significant contribution to their culture. If you let the pressure and anxiety of the environment dampen the light radiating from your personality, that one person in the crowd will not be able to find you.