This is the second of five installments of a series exploring the culture and perspectives of self and others within the margins of Ohio Northern University’s (ONU) five colleges: Claude W. Pettit College of Law, James F. Dicke College of Business Administration, Raabe College of Pharmacy, T.J. Smull College of Engineering, and Getty College of Arts and Sciences. This publication investigates the Getty Raabe College of Pharmacy students, their identity, routines, and their insight on students belonging to other colleges. 

Ohio Northern  is known for its prestigious pharmacy program that has attracted students from all over the country. The Raabe College of Pharmacy program at ONU is seen as rigorous and daunting to outsiders. Due to the unique 0-6 year graduate program–as opposed to the four years undergraduate plus four years graduate at most colleges of pharmacy–many seem burnt out and self-isolated, yet competitive and extremely prideful. Independent, self-sufficient and popular, ONU pharmacy students wear their top status.

Pharmacy students at ONU, much like law students, often find themselves in a “bubble.” They spend long hours studying for exams, working on group projects with other pharmacy students, and accomplishing the extra requirements of their PharmD degree set by the national governing board, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), such as outreach, internship, and Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) and Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE). This can lead to a feeling of exclusivity, and it can be challenging for them to integrate into the larger campus community. Pharmacy students at ONU tend to interact primarily with other pharmacy students, limiting their social circles. It is easy for pharmacy students to become socially isolated within their college community. With the addition of an extra year on campus as P5s than all other majors, it explains why they may group naturally.

Despite their isolation, pharmacy students take pride in their reputation as a difficult major – almost to a fault. They often agree with the notion that their program is one of the most challenging on campus. Pharmacy students are required to take many science courses, including biology, chemistry, and physiology, which require extensive knowledge and study time. In addition, they tackle non-clinical studies for patient-care, law, entrepreneurship, and management. They also have a significant 204 required credits for their major, which can limit their ability to take elective courses outside of pharmacy – furthering the natural isolation already experienced. Pharmacy students are expected to maintain a high GPA to not only remain in the program, but also in hopes to apply to residencies after graduation. They also have a standard for their level of professionalism. This seems to have caused a common notion in the college that others are not their equals. Pharmacy students have a tendency to look down on some colleges. They have a sense of superiority, which can be off-putting to other students. This attitude may be a result of their academic challenges and hard work, but it may also be due to the prestige associated with being a pharmacy student at ONU. This is further supported by some of the silent – professional and tactful – jabs within the interviews. This can be compared to law students in this aspect alongside their social loyalty to their programs.  

It is important to note that while many pharmacy students at ONU may have a tendency towards exclusivity and a competitive nature, this is not true  of all pharmacy students. Many pharmacy students are friendly and heavily involved outside the college. It is noted in the video that most pharmacy students labeled, “successful” are those who go out of their pharmacy bubble. 

Pharmacy students at ONU tend to be socially isolated within their college community due to their demanding coursework and lab work. They take pride in their reputation as a hard major and often can look down on other colleges. While some pharmacy students may have a competitive nature, this is not representative of all pharmacy students. Pharmacy students also have unique challenges that require significant time and effort. The pursuit of becoming future healthcare professionals is unique to them and affects their relationship with the greater ONU community.

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