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Week 1 - Introductions by J. Michael Brown
On Being the New Guy
October 21, 2013 - October 25, 2013
If you have a fear of the unknown, your fourth year of pharmacy school will either cure it, or cause you to curl up in the fetal position.  My fourth year curriculum is structured with 8 rotations which are 5 weeks in length.  That means 8 new sites, 8 new sets of people, 8 new ways things are done, 8…well, you get the picture.  It also means 8 first days at new sites.  I did not think much of the first day at a site until my first day with the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). 
I knew this would be different when I received an Email from my preceptor, Dr. Adams, stating that I would be treated to a welcome breakfast with the staff of AACP.  Most rotations have a controlled chaos feel when you first arrive.  There is rarely time to pause and welcome a new member to the team, especially when they are only going to be around for 5 weeks.  Perhaps that is why first days always feel so awkward to me.  Usually, the “first, do no harm” axiom is the Golden Rule of first days on a site.  Of course, I have never had a first day rotation welcome quite like the one at AACP. 
My first day breakfast consisted of fruit, bagels, yogurt, and FELLOWSHIP!  I was immediately struck by how much the staff seemed to genuinely enjoy being around each other.  Not only that, they actually knew my name.  I know they got an Email, but honestly, this is the first time not having a faculty member preceptor that I was even 100% sure my preceptor knew my name!  It honestly made me feel very good.  I would expect nothing less from AACP, but they seem to love having pharmacy students around. 
We all get one shot at a first impression, and AACP taught me how to handle my future student’s first days.  A rotation is a short experience, but welcoming a student with open arms helps them more rapidly integrate into a contributing member of the team.  Investment of time up front pays dividends down the road.  Although I may not always be able to have a breakfast for future students, I can make an effort to talk to them personally before they show up the first day.  Additionally, I can clearly spell out all expectations and make sure they understand them on the first day.  I can extend the same hospitality to my future students as that afforded me by AACP during my fourth year of pharmacy school.
J. Michael Brown, Ph.D.
Pharm.D. Candidate
University of Charleston School of Pharmacy
Class of 2014



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