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Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy
Coming Back to In-Person in Full Swing
by Khushali Sarnot, P2, President-Elect SIUE School of Pharmacy
The SIUE School of Pharmacy is back in person and in full swing after being online for over eighteen months. After spending so long online, two groups of students are experiencing being in person at the school of pharmacy for the first time. The brand new wave of P1 students is excited to start their experience in the professional school and still adjusting to the rigors and challenges of pharmacy school while the P2 students are getting to know each other and the faculty in person for the first time. The P3 students are the guiding light for the other students as they have the most experience of being on campus with a semester and a half under their belt and are still adjusting. Though for the rest of their peers, they are the ones giving advice and leading the charge with different projects in student organizations as some of them have been on hold for eighteen months.
For every student, being back in person has been a challenge, and it has been an obstacle for student organizations. There are set university rules and outside-of-school mandates that we have to follow to make sure everyone is safe. The Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ (SSHP) first general meeting was held at the school of pharmacy in August. Usually, in the past, the student chapter had offered pizza to increase attendance. However, this year the executive board decided to provide individually wrapped sandwiches to practice safe food handling. The executive board also had to be creative about tracking attendance since there was a safety concern in using a sheet that everyone would touch. In response, the exec board decided to go with a QR code projected on the presentation slides that the students could scan on their phones, and it would lead them to a website that would track attendance safely and effectively.
Moving forward, SSHP’s effort to plan events has been made with COVID-19 restrictions in mind. The executive board discussed intensively at the chapter leadership retreat on the first day of school about the year for the students and the organization. The student chapter also had a very informative meeting at the Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists’ (ICHP) leadership retreat. Students brainstormed different ideas with other Illinois pharmacy students about activities and events that could be planned. The most exciting events planned this year are the residency happy hours that have a wide selection of professionals coming to talk with students about residency and their experience with the match and application process. These events have been set up to be online and more accessible for students, especially for the P4 students out on rotation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us to adapt to the challenges of online classes, and now we will adapt to being back in person and returning to normal. This adversity has only made the SIUE School of Pharmacy students more creative and innovative in their endeavors. A major takeaway from online classes has been implemented into future SSHP events and activities to connect with more students and create more opportunities.
to students on becoming strong candidates for a future residency position.
We will be taking our foot off of the breaks and putting it back on the accelerator in the new academic year. We plan to bring back our professional, social, philanthropy, and fundraising events at full force and develop our RFUMS ICHP chapter and students. The pandemic didn’t put out our light; it simply made our will stronger to burn.