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Week 1: Ready, Set, Go!
Ready, Set, Go!
September 9, 2013 - September 13, 2013
 
Hi! My name is Justin, a Washington, DC-home-grown boy hailing from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. It’s been one week here at AACP, and what a whirlwind of a week it has been.
 
 
Before I arrived at the Association, my main question walking in was, “What do I want to do?” It’s been the same question that I’ve asked myself at the beginning of every rotation because I still don’t really know what I want my future career to be; consequently, I prepared the same as I always have. I came with whatever knowledge I could find and just started working. For a typical pharmacy student, this usually means answering drug information questions, reading articles, counseling patients, evaluating drug use, and doing other clinically based tasks, but there are no patients at AACP. There are no drugs. There is nothing really clinical about this rotation.
 
Now, working has a completely different meaning. Most of my first week was spent meeting the senior staff. It was all about getting to know the faces of AACP and learning what each person did to contribute to strategic planning. One of the things I was so surprised about was how small AACP actually was; I imagined a whole office building dedicated to AACP, but it’s only about 30 people all together. I attended some meetings and did some small projects here and there, as I tend to work rather quickly. Most of my projects were research type tasks. AACP is all about providing and catering to what the academic community needs; therefore, they do a lot of needs research, data crunching, and self-assessing. For one of my projects, I took data from surveys about a recent admission workshop that was done and wrote up what participants liked, didn’t like, and what else they wanted to see. Another project of mine was pulling some of the background research to a workplace personality indexing tool and evaluating whether or not it was valid.
 
One aspect of this rotation that I had to get used to was “cubicle life.” It was hard for me to adjust from constantly being on my feet to being completely sedentary in a chair for hours on end. What I ended up doing was turning my traditional desk into a makeshift stand up desk. I found an old box in the storage cabinet and placed it in front of my screen to bring up my keyboard and mouse. I also got some old binders to raise my monitor a little more to keep my posture straight. It didn’t take long for other people in the office to notice, and from the responses I received, I might even be starting an office ergonomics revolution.
 
 
Essentially, this week has just been getting comfortable and getting a feel for the Association. Though the work was drastically different, I still approached it the same way. I made a checklist of what I had to do, and I did them as expeditiously as I could. I like to think of checking things off the list as racking up points. The more I do, the more points I get, and the more satisfied I am. To me, it’s all just work.
 
When I become so task oriented, it’s easy to get lost and forget about what I first came here to figure out, “What do I want to do?” After meeting with most of the senior staff and completing my tasks for the week, I gained a bit of wisdom after slowing down and thinking about it for a while. Most of the people I talked to didn’t think of working for an association when they were studying for their future careers, but here they are, content with where they ended up and very much driven with strong intentions and real purpose. A part of their success, and largely why AACP has been as successful as it has, is all the planning they have done. All of the work that is done serves a purpose; all the effort supports a strategic goal in some shape or form. When opportunity comes knocking, it’s more like another puzzle piece has fit in place rather than stopping at a fork in the road.
 
What this means for me is still quite ambiguous because I’m not patient enough to wait to end up where I’m meant to be nor do I have a predefined finish line. I find it easier being a cog in the wheel than steering the whole wagon without knowing what lies ahead. I want to know now, know how to get there, and know how to get there faster. All we can do is plan, and plan meaningfully, the major lesson of this week. No one gets anywhere by aimlessly working; direction and a destination are key components as well. As I continue to work, I’ll keep it in mind that what matters now is planning for whatever opportunities will come my way.
 
Justin Bioc
Northeastern University
Pharmacy Student | Class of 2014
 

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