Finding a Mentor
We know you’ve heard it a million times since pharmacy school, but we will say it again. It is pertinent to your success to have/find a good mentor. This is one of the most important steps as you start your journey to become a pharmacist! Why, you ask? Because mentors serve as a great resource as you finish pharmacy school and for your future career. Your mentor will help build your network and give you pieces of advice and experience that are priceless and so valuable.
Sometimes it’s intimidating to approach or ask someone with experience to be your mentor. Try to relax and remember that they are people too. They went to pharmacy school, just like you, and probably looked for a mentor at the beginning of their career.
Don’t just choose the first person that comes to mind or the most approachable person you’ve already met. Your mentor should inspire you, love what they do, be compassionate, forward-thinking and persistent in their work. They don’t have to fit all of these characteristics, but make sure you think of what motivates you and what kind of pharmacist you want to be and find someone who is a good role model.
In order to physically find your mentor, you should put away any shyness or uncertainty and really go all in with your confidence. You must reach out and engage with your potential mentor, just like you would at the beginning of any other relationship. But, before you ask them the big question, stop and think about your personal and career goals. This will help you remember why you are doing this in the first place and it may help with your confidence. The next step is to approach your potential mentor and introduce yourself. Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as walking into a pharmacy and asking, “Can you be my mentor?” You need to get a feel for them and see if they are someone who seems willing to get to know you and help you through the process. If you have an advisor or friend that has contacts in the pharmacy world, that would be a great place to start.
After the hard part of finding a mentor is over, you must feed and grow your relationship. Offer to do the tedious work; cleaning, organizing, filing, etc. Once you’ve shown your mentor that you are there to learn and help in any way possible, decide if there could be a shadowing opportunity there. If you and your mentor are hitting it off great and they seem open and honest with you, ask them if you can shadow them! Now, if it isn’t going so great, which happens, reevaluate your decision and see if maybe choosing someone else would help you more in the long run.
Overall, having a mentor is a must in the pharmacy world. Your mentor will give you first hand knowledge and experience that will help you grow in your career. Even though it can be intimidating to ask someone to be your mentor, just remember that they were in your shoes at one point!