{Disclaimer: This is a long read, but I was very transparent about my process. So my hope is that you can take away something from my experiences.  This is my testimony on how I got admission into Pharmacy School! Enjoy}

“Thank you for applying to our Graduate program. After completing a careful review of your application, our Admissions Committee regrets to inform you, that we are not able to offer you admission into the program”. * Closes Email* … Just another NO to add to the list. Great…now what do I do? Endless thoughts and emotions ran through my body, as I realized I had not got accepted into any of the 10+ programs that I applied to. Is this really happening, is this really my life? Let me start from the beginning…

August 2009 I stepped foot onto Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA in pursuit to get my college degree. To be quite honest, I had no clue what I wanted to major in. I always knew I wanted to be in a field- particularly healthcare, where I could help people, and make a big impact on the world. So with the help and guidance from my parents, I decided to become a Biology Major.

Coming from an African Household (Nigerian to be exact, where having an education is vital & not really a choice lol ), my parents insisted that I should look into pursuing a career in Pharmacy. And after doing my research, it didn’t seem like such a bad idea, especially after seeing the salary figures lol (Don’t let money be your only motivation or deciding factor when choosing a career though, because you want to wake up every day and be excited about going to work). My initial plan was just to take my two years of prerequisites, and then apply straight to Pharmacy School. But as life would have it, of course it did not happen that way. I truly went through every low and high one could possibly face being a Biology major, and saw my GPA (Grade Point Average) dropping tremendously. One course in particular “Organic Chemistry 1”, I retook twice and still could not pass it. Now I had two options, try and take it for the last time (you can only take courses 3x at my school) or change my major. With my GPA now well below a 3.0, I made the decision to change my major to Psychology. It was not an easy decision but it had to be done. So my hopes & dreams of going to Pharmacy School looked like it was no longer going to happen.

As graduation was approaching, I knew I had to come up with a plan B fast. Since I love to write, debate, and watch politics, I thought to myself …hmm maybe I should apply to Law School. Now I directed all of my attention to applying to Law School after graduating college in December 2013. I took a practice LSAT course, the LSAT exam twice, and applied to over 10 programs. I just knew by Fall 2014 I would be starting a program. Well I thought wrong. I received 10 emails back to back stating, ““Thank you for applying to our Graduate program. After completing a careful review of your application, our Admissions Committee regrets to inform you, that we are not able to offer you admission into the program””. I was in utter disbelief… what in the world was I going to do? Luckily for me, there was a school that gave me a conditional acceptance as long as I completed the summer course. So obviously I did everything in my power to do well, only to see that my heart was not in it. Although I had just wasted so much money on exams, practice courses, & more, I knew it still wouldn’t amount to the loans I would have had to take out for Law School.

So now I was back at square one. I was uncomfortable. I felt defeated. How could I, Ogechi Anyanwu be going through all this stress just to further my education. Now I had to start digging deep. Throughout this time, I had the opportunity to intern and work at a hospital and different healthcare facilities. And deep down “Pharmacy” kept popping up in my head, but I knew in order for that to happen, I would have to pass Organic Chemistry, and clearly I had a hard time doing that in undergrad, so I left that thought alone. So I began to look at the degree I actually graduated with “Psychology”, and looked to see if I could apply to any type of Graduate Programs within that same field. Again I took another course, this time to prepare for the GRE. Took the GRE twice, just like the LSAT. Ran around again trying to get all of my letter of recommendations together. And thought to myself, I can’t go through this cycle again. This time I only applied to 5 programs. But out of fear of being rejected as before, I only sent out one application. To make a long story short, I did not get in. At this point it was Spring 2015 and I thought, maybe my plan isn’t to go back to school. I felt life crashing down on me. I smiled, and dressed up to cover up the pain and emptiness I felt inside. I knew I had so much potential, and just needed one opportunity and chance to express my talents. I knew I had people looking up to me, and I felt as though I was disappointing them, especially myself. I saw all my peers excelling and here I was… doing basically NOTHING.

As August 2015 approached, I had a serious conversation with my dad about life and school. He asked me, “Ogechi what’s on your heart, what do you want to do?” I told him I never stopped thinking about Pharmacy but I knew there was a huge road block blocking me from even applying. My dad said, “My daughter as long as you’re still alive and healthy, it is never too late to do something. If that’s what you want to do, go for it.” So October 2015 I found myself enrolled back in school and taking Organic Chemistry 1 and Anatomy & Physiology. My dad asked me if I was going to apply to Pharmacy School during that cycle and I said, “how? I haven’t even taken my PCAT yet”. I proceeded to look at the upcoming PCAT dates and of course the last ones for the year were less than two weeks away. I KNEW there was no way I could take it, but somehow my dad convinced me to sign up and take the exam. And I won’t even lie and say I studied because I was so consumed with tests and quizzes from my classes, there was no way. I literally said a prayer, took the exam, and left it in God’s hands.(Disclaimer: Now this is not to say you are not supposed to prepare for an exam, because you are, but in my case I really had no time to. Because I know there will be some people who may give me the side eye and say I got lucky, but everyone’s situation is different). So now the next challenge was to look for schools to apply to. I was able to narrow my choices down to 7 pharmacy programs. And with dedication and hard work, I got a B in “Organic Chemistry 1”. I was SOOO thrilled!  I really had to change & take away certain habits and distractions to get this grade. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I haven’t posted anything since last year. Reason being I told myself I wouldn’t post anything again until I got into Pharmacy School. I was slightly distracted in undergrad, so this was my chance to prove to myself I can achieve anything if I put my mind to it. Now it was time to get ready to take the next quarter of “Organic Chemistry 2 & Anatomy & Physiology 2”.

Unfortunately, I missed the January 2016 application deadline due to being in Nigeria, but I had my applications ready to go before the next deadline in February. Meanwhile while all this was happening, NO ONE AND I MEAN NO ONE knew I was in the process of applying to Pharmacy School, especially after deciding in college that I wouldn’t remain on that track anymore. Literally only my parents knew what I was up to. People knew I was taking classes because I became distant and stopped going out as much, so I lied and said it was for a Master’s program, so they wouldn’t ask me too many questions. I have learned everything is not meant for everyone to know. We live in a society where everyone wants to broadcast their every move. Not everyone is happy to see you successful. Especially those who thought you were just sitting around doing nothing (And I’m sure there were people who may have said that about me and that’s ok). Show them the end result and surprise them, shock them… shoot shock yourself. Don’t be like the people who announce their every move on Facebook. Trust me, it’s better to keep certain things personal.

Now this is where my faith was really tried, but I thought to myself, I have literally overcome so much in my life, that I knew I couldn’t let this stop me now. As I was taking my Organic Chemistry 2 class, I found out that the school I was taking my prerequisites at, runs on a quarter system meaning, I would have to take Organic Chemistry 3 to be equivalent to two semesters of Organic Chemistry. I know what you’re thinking… ORGO 3 exists??? Trust me I felt the same way. Well I knew I had to finish what I started, so if it meant taking Organic Chemistry 3 then by all means I will. Unfortunately, it is only held once a year…IN THE FALL!! Imagine how I felt, would all my hard work be in vain if I can’t take this class before the Fall semester? I put my tears to the side and came up with a plan. Long story short, after tons of paperwork I was able to get an Independent Study course approved to take Organic Chemistry 3 in order to fulfill and complete my prerequisites. So I took the class alone and finished the class with an “A” in June 2016. But let’s go back for a second. In the midst of all this, I found out that some stuff from my Pharmacy application was missing. Great! Something else. I called PHARMCAS to see how long it would be for them to receive and input all the items in the system. The lady said between 4-6 weeks. My heart dropped. I knew there would be no way I would get into a program if my application was still being processed for that long. I literally dropped to my knees and cried to God. And as my God would have it, less than a week later everything was in the computer and my PHARMCAS application was COMPLETE.

In March 2016, I found out that I had been invited for two different interviews for two schools in April. I was SOOOO Ecstatic, but the only people again that knew were my parents, so there was no one I could share the news with just yet. I went on both interviews second week in April, and not to brag on myself, BUT I knew I killed it! Things were finally falling into place. And less than 5 days later, I got my first acceptance! The Dean called me herself to congratulate me! Chills ran through my body because I was in disbelief. A whole me… Ogechi Jennifer Anyanwu got into Pharmacy School! And the next day, while I was at the airport, I found out that I gained admission into another Pharmacy program!! I literally was on cloud nine. Things were FINALLY falling into place. Now that I knew I got into a program, I finally decided to tell a select few of people who are close to me, especially because I knew I would be moving out of Georgia. Most people know me to be extra and find any reason to celebrate or host something, but to my friends surprise, I did absolutely nothing before I left. Just mentally prepared myself for the next transition in my life and leaving Georgia.

IMG_1108 (1)

(Pictured Above: Out on the road for my Interviews for School)

A couple months later, I moved to Chicago on August 1, 2016. I had my orientation for my program August 16-18. I sat in my chair still in shock and disbelief, as the faculty said “Welcome and Congrats to CLASS OF 2020”! I finally had a place to call “home” for the next four years!

FullSizeRender (40)

And September 6, 2016 a day I will never forget: My White Coat Ceremony. This day has been a day I literally have dreamed about for years, and to me it is more than just receiving my white coat. It is a testimony to everything I have endured up until this moment. I know I wrote a lot, but trust me it could be longer, but I couldn’t include everything. When you have something in your heart…go after it! After making the decision to go back to school to finish my prerequisites for school, everything literally fell in place for me in regards to Pharmacy School. I didn’t have the highest GPA… it was definitely under a 3.0 when I applied, and my PCAT scores although I did not study, were not so bad, but good enough to get me into a program. So what God has for you is for you. You do your part, and the rest will fall in place. I know it will not be an easy journey, but I will remember the days and nights I prayed for God to put me in this exact position. And don’t judge your journey with anyone else’s. It’s so easy to get caught up in someone else’s accomplishments. But remember people will only post the good in their life, not the bad. I truly hope this testimony will help someone to not give up and continue to reach for the stars! (If you have ANY questions or need advice regarding school or anything please do not hesitate to contact me at madamkoverage@yahoo.com)

*Throughout this time I was really able to learn more about myself. I also saw myself always listening to gospel music to keep me encouraged. Below are two of my favorite songs to keep me going! Some people may not ever know your story, but you do, and for that give all thanks & praise to God! Keep fighting until your victory is won!

God Bless!

-From your future Dr. Ogechi Jennifer Anyanwu, Pharm D. (Class of 2020)