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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

In Their Own Words: Timothy

(Note: I remember meeting Timmy when he was an undergrad student. He was in San Francisco one summer as part of UCSF's Summer Research Training Program and asked to meet with me to discuss the PharmD program. The pre-pharmacy student I met back then is the exact same 4th-year PharmD student I know today. Let me explain. As you can imagine, I meet a lot of pre-pharmacy students. Some end up entering our program. It can be both fascinating and frustrating how some present themselves as applicants versus how they carry themselves as students. Not so with Tim. His inquisitiveness, compassion, passion for social justice, and gratefulness for the opportunities that have been provided to him -- all characteristics I saw when he sat across the table and asked me thoughtful questions as a pre-pharmacy student -- are evident to this day. There are no illusions. There are no pretenses. With Timmy, every person who comes in contact with him gets the benefit of the doubt. Really. It was a no-brainer to have Timothy serve on the Admissions Committee.)

Name: Timothy
Year: Class of 2015
Hometown: Oakland, CA
Previous institutions attended: University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
Undergraduate Major: General Biology

Why did you apply to be a member of the Admissions Committee and what have you enjoyed the most?
My motivation to be a member of the Admission Committee comes from being inspired by my classmates. Each person comes with experiences that have shaped him or her into a conscientious individual with a goal to advance care through pharmacy. Being an Admission Committee member allows me to participate in the process of selecting change-agents, while gaining a glimpse of future leaders in healthcare.

Reading applicant stories was exhilarating. It allowed me to learn about the world through the eyes of others. I gained perspectives that I would never have the opportunity to experience because of our unique differences. I am grateful to be a member of the Admissions Committee because it has expanded my horizons surrounding struggles and challenges that others face, and how pharmacy can contribute to improving them.

What surprised you most about UCSF’s admissions process?
The amount of care that each applicant receives! For an applicant that is admitted, there are many individuals from the Admission Committee who review either the application or the interview. Since each spot in the entering class is highly valuable, we look at every detail of an applicant to build a community of the best and the brightest.

In your opinion, what are the most common mistakes applicants make?
The most common mistakes are grammatical errors and impassionate essays. Part of being trained as a pharmacist is to have an eye for detail. Misspelled words (especially if it’s your own name) hints at carelessness. Essay contents tell us about your ambition to become a leader in pharmacy. After reading many applications, it’s easy to determine which set of essays was given tremendous thought versus those written on a whim.

What stands out to you on an application?
Applications that leave me with a great impression are those that catch me off guard. They are bold in their academic preparation and involvement in organizations, creating experiences that allow them to expand their minds beyond the sciences. They take risks with their essays and bring them to life. Every word is meticulously chosen to convey their thoughts. At the end of reviewing their application, I feel as though I know them AND gained a unique perspective of the world.

What are your pet peeve(s) when interviewing an applicant or reviewing a file? (What drives you crazy?)
My pet peeve during an interview is when an applicant replies with answers they think I want to hear. It’s incredibly easy to detect insincerity. Just be yourself and speak with your own voice! We just want to get to know you.

What characteristics are necessary in order to succeed in UCSF’s PharmD program?
A zest for knowledge is important! The PharmD program is rigorous and the addition of extracurricular activities can be trying for many students. Amidst the challenging classes, especially non-clinical ones, it’s important to realize that building a strong foundation is important to understanding the complexities of medications. Having a love for what’s taught will make your pharmacy journey exciting and memorable.

What tools or resources would you recommend to prospective applicants?
Joel’s blog!! It was a great source of inspiration, information, and, at times, comic relief! I would also speak with pharmacy students at programs you’re interested in. We always enjoy speaking with prospective students. Students are really honest about the program, so you can get good insight on whether you think a program is a good fit for you.

What single piece of advice would you give to a prospective applicant?
Getting admitted into UCSF doesn’t mean you’ll only interact with UCSF affiliates. We are inherently part of San Francisco, and there are amazing individuals out there. The city attracts the best and the brightest in every field, so imagine all the wonderful people you’ll meet! So include researching the city on your to-do list

Why do you think you were admitted into UCSF’s PharmD program?
Of all questions, I think this one is on par with the human condition question. Perhaps it’s because I took risks on my application and wrote bold statements. Or maybe it’s because I made sure my essays reflected the real me: my past, personality, and ambitions. Only Joel knows

What do you do for fun?
I really like noodles, especially ramen. I’ve been trying to find some of the best Bay Area ramen restaurants! I also enjoy going to the gym. It’s my sanctuary where I can think, reflect, and tune out of the world for an hour. Also, I work out daily so I can eat whatever I want! 

(Note: Timothy is also profiled on our website.)

(To read all previous "In Their Own Words" profiles, click the "committee profiles" label link below!)

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