This past October I had the opportunity to travel to National Harbor, Maryland with 15+ classmates to attend the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Annual Convention. I had never been to a conference for both pharmacists and students so I had no idea what to expect. The conference lasted for 5 days and yes; I was lucky enough to attend all of those days!
The majority of each day, we spent at the Gaylord National Convention center attending meetings, educational programming (which we got school credit for), general sessions, and lunches which were sponsored by various drug companies. Not only did I gain a ton of pharmaceutical knowledge, but also I was able to interact with both pharmacists and pharmacy students from other states. This provided me the opportunity to work on my networking skills and gain new friends. It was great to bounce ideas off of each other and compare the differences in pharmacy from state to state.
The other half of the conference included the trade exposition, which was about 2 days long. Over 100 companies were represented at the exposition and had booths set up. This was a great experience because I was able to interact with drug reps, banks, pharmacists, and other professionals. They also provided free merchandise 🙂 Each night the conference held various networking events and dinner with entertainment. On the last night we had Jason Alexander from Seinfeld pay us a visit and perform some of his famous acts. Needless to say we had a blast! On the nights that entertainment wasn’t provided, I was able to explore Washington DC with my classmates. It was great to interact with everyone outside of the classroom and get to know them on a more personal level.
Overall, I would highly recommend attending a national conference to any pharmacy student. I was able to gain networking skills, new friends, pharmacy knowledge, and have a fun! It was definitely the “middle of the semester pick me up” that I needed as I came back home more motivated than ever. Not only do I encourage you to join student organizations, but get involved and attend these events! They will provide you with lifelong memories and a newfound passion for the profession 🙂
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As Always, Go Bucks!