700 miles down, and miles to go before I sleep.

Hey all,

Welcome to my first blog post. I’m currently in week two of twelve of my internship in Pharmacy Services at Corporate Walgreens, and man has it been an amazing ride so far. Speaking of rides, the drive from Pennsylvania to Illinois was approximately 700 miles, but I was lucky enough to split the trip over two days. I left home on Saturday, May 15th and drove to Cleveland where my cousin Megan was kind enough to give me a place to rest up for the night. The two of us hadn’t seen each other in about four years, so this drive was a great excuse to stop and catch up. I continued west on Sunday morning, and finally reached the Chicago skyline by mid-afternoon. Seeing the skyline continuously grow as I creeped closer to my destination was exciting and surreal at the same time. I was notified that I was selected for the internship on April 1, so I was eagerly counting down every day since then waiting to make the move and begin this journey. Seeing the city come into focus symbolized the excitement and promise this summer would bring.

The apartment that Walgreens arranged for me to stay in is located in Lake Bluff, a northern suburb of Chicago. Walgreens Corporate offices are located in Deerfield, approximately 10 miles away from the apartment. The living arrangements that Walgreens provided are stunning. There are four corporate pharmacy interns, so Walgreens selected 2 males and 2 females to fill into 2 apartments. Each apartment has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and just about all the home amenities you can ask for. The apartment complex is huge and spans multiple buildings, and we have access to a swimming pool and gym.

The way this internship works is that each intern rotates throughout different areas in Pharmacy Services throughout the summer. Because we are each there for twelve weeks, they split us up into 3 four week rotations. Prior to arriving, each intern was sent a list of about 12 different rotations offered and we had to rank and submit various rotations based upon brief descriptions. Monday, May 17 marked our first official day of work. Orientation sessions were held throughout the morning introducing us to company policies and allowing us to get to know one another. We were then notified which rotations we received, and I was lucky enough to get my top three choices: Pharmacy Affairs, Clinical Education and Professional Development, and Corporate Innovation Team. In each rotation, the intern is paired up with a mentor in the department who basically oversees that specific department and is our immediate supervisor for the four weeks we spend with them. My next post will detail some of my day to day activities that I perform with Pharmacy Affairs, but many subjects I am not able to write about due to confidentiality agreements and the nature of the material I am working on. I will however still try to give you guys as much as I am able to comfortably write with those agreements in mind.

While I live here for the next few months, I decided to make a list of some personal goals to achieve so that I can look back on this summer and realize that I accomplished something. Some of these goals fit into the academic and professional portfolio, but others are simple reminders to have fun and take advantage of the area.

1. Hop the train downtown every chance I get. This may be the only time I live in the Chicago area, and being a person who loves city life, I want to experience everything Chicago has to offer. At the top of my list right now is Lollapalooza, Second City, Chicago Cubs games, Navy Pier fireworks for July 4th, and various concerts coming to the city throughout the summer.

2. Meet every pharmacist working at corporate Walgreens not in a traditional pharmacy job and learn about how they ended up working in the job they perform. I have already met all the pharmacy attorneys who have both a pharmacy and law degree, and will be meeting with them individually throughout the summer to learn more about why they chose to go to law school after pharmacy school and what career options there are with the two degrees.

3. Prep for the LSAT. I currently plan on taking the test October 9. This may end up being the most important test I’ll ever take, because if I choose to go into law after pharmacy as I currently plan, this is the test that will directly dictate which schools I have a likelihood of gaining admission to.

4. Relax. As much as I say this summer is going to be full of excitement, fun, and hard work – I have a long list of leisure reading I want to accomplish lying next to the pool at my apartment in what is predicted to be a beautiful and hot Chicago summer. At the top of my reading list is finally finishing the last few sections of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, and Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.

5. Stay healthy, fit, and happy. Over the past few years of living away from home, I have slowly began attempting to cook, and I usually choose to make (and later butcher) selections that would normally be considered healthier. I really want to take this time away from home and college to continue honing my cooking abilities. Along the same lines, I am trying to stay healthy and fit physically which is made super easy with a gym in my apartment complex.

Summer in Chicago is definitely the place to be, and I am still in awe that I have this opportunity. The 700 miles to get here might have seemed far, but that was really just the beginning. The “traveling” I will do now that I am out here – that’s the real journey. My destination is still quite distant and out of sight, but just like driving towards the skyline brought it into focus, continuing down this path will only put into focus what lies at the end.


3 Responses to “700 miles down, and miles to go before I sleep.”

  1. Ed B Says:

    Good luck finding your path … and stick with ‘The Fountainhead’ .. it’s worth the time !

  2. Diane Says:

    looking forward to reading about your journey. I am excited for your accomplishment. Keep it up! Remember to sleep though 🙂

  3. Sharon Castano Says:

    Love reading your blog Justin. Keep up the great work both in and out of the internship. Part of what makes your education is experiential as well.

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