The second year at University College London School of Pharmacy was an amazing experience from the go ahead. Be prepared to throw away the ileum and slip into overalls as you step into the suite for sterile products, learn practical clinical skills during CVS tutorials and produce real tablets!
The year is packed with many 9am lectures and the work load can be overwhelming; but I found that making a checklist and a REALISTIC revision timetable will help you keep on track of the content, as well as submitting all your coursework on time! At times you may feel that certain things being taught will have no use to you once you graduate, however having personally witnessed those very skills being used in real life situations, both in a community and a hospital setting, I can assure you that is not the case.
Many sub topics throughout course C and D require synoptic knowledge from topics taught in first year, as well as a good understanding of Organic Chemistry and Pharmacology; so I strongly advise you to read over your notes.
There were days where I was just simply unable to understand certain topics; and those are the days I found myself using the Library. There are many books, filled with annotated diagrams (that actually stick in your head) and resources which will aid your lectures and practicals throughout the year. I have recommended a few below. And if you still don’t get it, ask your peers or lecturers (trust me it helps!!!).
You will be going into Pharmacy Practice once again, but this time it will be much more intense, focusing on the core of community care. The sessions will enable you to practise how to prescribe and dispense, along with learning legal requirements and the use of clinical knowledge learnt in lectures (another reason for you to stay on track). I would recommend familiarising yourself with a BNF and the MEP, as you will use both at university and when you’re a pharmacist, whether you’re in the community, at hospital or in industry. Other resources I found helpful include the NICE guidelines and the eMC online database.
Having read all the above, you’re now probably thinking second year is going to be a nightmare – but believe me, it’s not. You will have enough time to balance the work load as well as participate in extra-curricular activities. I represented UCLSOP and participated in charity week 2013, and still take part in weekly sport activities with my friends in the afternoons.
If there is anything I want you to take from reading this then it’s that time-keeping, being organised and sticking to deadlines are essential tools to survive second year. Remember you are doing a master’s degree; a truly rewarding degree which will allow you to branch out and explore various career opportunities in the future – so make the most of it!
(Third Year Student)