Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

After all of the trouble I went through to become a pharmacist, I’m being forced out of my profession because holding a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy no longer meets the minimum requirements for licensure. In short, pharmacists with bachelor’s degree are becoming obsolete.
This is what drives my pursuit to get my doctor of pharmacy degree (PharmD).
When I began working in the pharmacy field, I was really excited because I had to overcome numerous challenges to become a registered pharmacist (RPh).
I moved to the USA in 2002, and even though I had graduated from the third-ranking university in the Philippines, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) didn’t recognize the accreditation of my alma mater.
Therefore, I needed to pass four crucial examinations to become RPh in America: Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Exam, Test of English as Foreign Language, North American Pharmacy Licensure Exam, and Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam. I also needed 1year internship. As much as I wanted to overcome these obstacles, I couldn’t because my situation at the time meant I had to work XXX hours per week to pay my bills. However, I always maintained the hope that I would achieve my goal of being a licensed pharmacist.
I studied in my spare time. I volunteered at the Red Cross, and eventually met all the requirements set forth by the NABP. In 2012, I finally achieved my goal.
The last job I held was as a staff pharmacist in an Army hospital. My husband’s in the military, and working with troops and military families was the best thing I could do to serve. However, my husband suddenly received orders assigning him to New York; we would leave North Carolina. My colleagues warned me about leaving, but I couldn’t leave my husband – I stayed with him on three deployments and I wasn’t about to live under separate roofs for the next three years. So, I made the tough decision to move to NY. Since, I was working in the federal system, I underestimated the difficulty in transferring to another facility.
Recently, I have applied to several pharmacist positions. However, because I haven’t earned a PharmD, I got denied. But, I have gone this far, and I will not stop chasing my goals. I truly believe that there will be more opportunities for me once I finish, so I can continue my mission to save lives.

Katherine from New York
Howard University