In Their Own Words

April 16, 2020

Esam El-Fakahany portrait
Caroline Patz portrait

Caroline Patz - Class of 2020

When I started to realize the impact COVID-19 was going to have on the United States and the world, my mind immediately jumped to one thing: graduation. I was worried about being able to finish rotations, and also upset at the prospect of the graduation ceremony being cancelled. We work incredibly hard for four years, and the hope is that we'll finish strong and also get to celebrate with our classmates one final time in May. When I learned that all of this was in fact, cancelled, I felt a profound sense of loss. As one professor astutely observed, "This is a very unsatisfying way to end your pharmacy school experience". In light of all of these abrupt changes, I've had to adjust my mindset when thinking about my education. The value of this education is not defined by the pomp and circumstance of graduation. It is defined by the countless hours we all put in studying for exams, participating in and leading student organizations, attending conferences, working, and learning on rotation. It is defined by the friendships we made that we'll have forever. It is defined by the residencies, fellowships, and jobs we all now have. I have been trying to focus on all of the amazing things we got to do, instead of dwelling on those we are missing out on. And while the fact that all of our graduation festivities and final rotation blocks are cancelled is tough to stomach, I find myself reflecting on all we have to be proud of, especially the Class of 2020. Watching the CoP community come together is something that has been incredible to witness, and I hope we remember this sense of community and collaboration when this is all over.


Carolyn Odonnell portrait

Carolyn O’Donnell - Class of 2020

I have been focusing in on mental wellbeing and also providing resources to anyone who has questions. Being in healthcare means that you may not only be on the front lines, but also that you are expected to provide knowledge and reassurance to people who may feel scared right now. I have been working to provide others with reliable resources that can help them find more information on COVID-19 to help answer their questions. 

The importance of mental wellbeing and having a support system [are key]. I have been surprised by how many people I have talked to that feel anxious or depressed, so I have been making an effort to reach out to as many people as I can to see how I can help during this time - whether it is setting up a phone call, providing resources focused on mental health or COVID-19, or just letting them know that I am there for them if they need it. I hope others feel comfortable reaching out to me if they need it and I hope that together we can all be with each other virtually to act as a large system of support.


Esam El-Fakahany portrait

Esam El-Fakahany, PhD

While I still enjoy teaching online due to the COVID 19 crisis, I truly miss being with the students in a classroom. I miss the energy this environment gives me. I often think of students, both professional and graduate, and wonder how they are handling the many challenges imposed by the crisis. We all had to make so many immediate changes in our lives. These changes have created problems for some. I would like to assure students that I, like many other faculty, are here to help in any way we can. I also encourage students to keep up with their social life and hobbies. I can't wait for the growth season to arrive so that I enjoy another year of flower gardening. Till then, I have been biking and dancing with my lovely wife. We also recently started taking guitar lessons online. Watch out for an invitation to the first performance of our band!