Sadaf Syed '09
Area(s) of Study
Major in Biology
Vernon Hills, Illinois
Pharmacist with Walgreens and Pharmacogenetic Counselor/Pharmacist with DNAVisit
Graduate Study and Major and Minor
What made you choose Lake Forest College?
I chose Lake Forest College because of its reputation in the community. I was also attracted to its diverse student population. I made some of my very dearest friends there, and I would have never met them had it not been for Lake Forest College’s welcoming embrace of students from other countries. My older brother chose Lake Forest College, and his great experience there is another reason why I chose LFC as well. From him, I learned of Lake Forest College’s excellent science programs. I knew I wanted to go into healthcare, so I was eager to see what they had to offer me.
How did a liberal arts education make a difference for you?
Because of the education I received at Lake Forest College, I feel I am more well-rounded and have some knowledge of other fields, even though I did not intend to pursue them long-term. While at LFC, I discovered I had an interest in sociology as well as religious studies. I still think about all I learned there, and it really has made me more aware of others around me.
What experiences outside of the classroom do you think helped prepare you for the graduate program you engaged in?
I worked part time in a pharmacy as a senior pharmacy technician. Working as a pharmacy technician actually made me change my goal of medical school to pharmacy school. I learned so much about what it means to be a pharmacist while working there. One of the most valuable things I was able to do there, aside from being able to constantly shadow a pharmacist, was to converse with a diverse population of pharmacists and get advice from each one of them about my future.
How did your time at Lake Forest help you prepare to apply for your current career position in general?
At LFC, I learned what I needed to do to be a good candidate for pharmacy school. I went to see a few professors in the biology department so they could help me map out my plan and tell me what I needed to do or work on to become a better candidate. That was probably the best thing about LFC. You knew you could always go and talk to a professor and he/she would be more than willing to help you.
What do you think of the new Health Professions Program between LFC and RFU?
Honestly, I am pretty jealous that there is now a Health Professions Program between LFC and RFU! I think my life would have taken a different path had this program been available when I was attending LFC. I was pretty set on pharmacy school upon graduating LFC partly because I did not know, or care to know, what else was out there in healthcare. This program may have opened my eyes to what else was possible for me. Working with physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare providers, I often wonder what it would be like to be one of them. I am happy as a pharmacist, but there’s always that “what if.” It would have been nice to have this program to give me all the options up front, and be able to understand what each profession entails.
What skills and experiences at Lake Forest do you believe will help you be successful?
Doing things that were out of my comfort zone really helped me. I never really liked public speaking, but spending a lot of time in the Biology department, I presented quite a few research projects. I never really knew how much this would help me in pharmacy school until I got there. Being a pharmacist is all about communicating, whether it is with other healthcare professionals or explaining complex medical ideas to patients in terms they can understand.
What advice would you give a high school student looking to pursue health professions preparation and is considering Lake Forest College?
I would tell that student to go visit LFC, talk to current students and professors. If you don’t have a specific goal yet, ask how they would help you to find that goal. Honestly, LFC has a great science program, and especially with this new partnership with RFU, you can’t go wrong.