SASKATOON INDUSTRY EDUCATION COUNCIL

Finding Balance and Purpose in Your Career – A Pharmacist’s Perspective

December 7, 2020

Thank you to Kierra FineDay for sharing these inspirational words. Kierra is currently a Pharmacist in Saskatoon. She is a Nehiyaw woman from Sweetgrass First Nation, and she received her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the University of Saskatchewan in 2018 

Growing up, I always had an idea of what I wanted to do – I wanted to help people. For six years in university, I worked to achieve a Pharmacy degree to one day work in the healthcare field. During this time, I learned a few key things that I’d like to share with you: to find balance, find purpose, and not to be too hard on yourself. 

The first insight I have is something that would apply to us all – and it is to find balance in life. In my first year of university, I quickly learned that finding a balance between school and personal life was necessary for my relationship with others and myself. In my first semester, my days consisted of going to class, going straight home, and then studying until bed. By December, I wasn’t happy and started to wonder if university was really where I belonged. Especially as an Indigenous student, I had difficulty seeing myself and my community represented on campus. After careful consideration, I returned for my second semester after the holidays. In my second term, I found a community of support at the Indigenous Students’ Centre. I learned having that support system at school helped me cope with common academic stressors like assignments, exams, and deadlines. 

By engaging in the campus community, I also learned the value of volunteer work. Volunteering allows you to lead and start new initiatives, meet new people, and allow for opportunities to practically apply the skills/theory you’ve learned in school. Through volunteer work and leadership, I learned to contribute to the values and goals that were important to me, which allowed me to discover my second insight, which is to:  

Bring purpose to your work and remember it. 

It’s important not to forget WHY you chose the path you are on, whether it be a dream job or simply a stepping stone to another opportunity. For example, I always knew I had wanted to help people somehow in the healthcare field. I found my original purpose in Pharmacy was to bring awareness and education about modern medicine practices back to my Indigenous community. My vision is continuing to change. As a healthcare professional, I hope to improve Indigenous people’s overall health outcomes while also understanding the profound importance of both traditional and modern medicine practices.  

The overall goals you set for yourself are everchanging, but they will help motivate you to leave your comfort zone, try new things, and grow from your experiences. Through learning and challenging yourself, you may even find an unexpected interest, and with that comes new uncharted territory. New experiences can be intimidating and challenging at times, which is why it’s also important to remember –   

Don’t be too hard on yourself! 

When you move into a new role, you may feel overwhelmed or like you don’t belong. It’s important that you remember wherever you choose to go, that you have resources to help you. Whether that be an academic advisor, your professors, mentors, manager, tutoring opportunities, or even the coworkers you’ve become close to – there is always help. The resources are there, and it’s vital to utilize them. As a new graduate, I found it difficult to transition from school to work and to feel confident in the role that school was preparing me for. I spoke to my family and friends about this, and they all experienced the same thing – this reminded me that everyone was new once and have experienced growing pains. Routines change, but as long as you try and ask for help along the way – you will get there.  

Finally, I thought I would share one final thought.  

Continue to dream! 

I guess the main point that I am trying to make is that you can always grow, change, and look forward to new beginnings where ever you choose to go in life. Continue to find joy, find purpose in your work, and believe in yourself! 

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