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My Manchester Story

Patrick Hallis

by Mam Samba | Jun 06, 2019

Patrick Hallis, first-year pharmacy student from Redfore, Mich., originally from Beirut, Lebanon, shares his love of helping others through volunteering and reflects on how Manchester’s Pharmacy Program gives him the tools to impact his community.

“How did you become interested in Pharmacy?”

“Throughout my undergrad, I always wanted to be an MD, but in my journey I decided that wasn’t for me, and I found another calling. I got a job at CVS Pharmacy and while working there, it just clicked, ‘why not pharmacy?’ I really thought that I could do something, make a change, and have an impact on the field. My district managers [at CVS] and everyone around me that I spoke to was like, ’Manchester, Manchester, Manchester, it’s a great school!’ so I applied! It was my first choice, and I got in! It’s been really good; I love it.”

“What do you enjoy most about pharmacy?”

“What I love about pharmacy is that any person who needs help or health care attention can just go to a pharmacy and speak to a pharmacist, someone who can help them and advise them and tell them what to expect. It’s an alternative to waiting and paying for a doctor’s appointment. And a lot of people aren’t educated on what to expect from a medication. I’ve met people who are baffled by what a prescription is – simple things like that – and I want to change that because I love people and want to help them.”

“Do you know what area of pharmacy you’d like to work in?”

“Not really. I would work in retail just because I like that direct patient contact, but I could have an impact in hospitals or in ambulatory care as well. The field may change, and what I want may change through my experiences, so for now. I’m just experiencing everything. During my undergrad, I really didn’t get the chance to be involved or go out and see what things I could do in the community. I was working 62 hours a week with a full load of classes. Coming here, I’m setting myself up and taking every opportunity to be a part of the community or do service because it opens up so many doors! You learn so much about your community and about people, and that plays a big factor in being able to help people in the health care field. Just knowing who people are, how they function and the way they think helps. I love it.”

“You mentioned you’re taking advantage of a lot of opportunities, what are some of those opportunities?”

“I love that this school is all about the humanistic approach, pro-community and volunteering, helping and caring, because we’re missing a big part of that in the world. We have to care for each other. Day one of orientation, we were required to go volunteer. Most people were like, ‘why do we have to do this?’ but after we did it, I found the majority agreed that it was an awesome experience. We went to a food pantry to help out there, and it was just amazing. They had a pharmacy where people could donate over the counter meds, and people would have a voucher and be able to pick up things like Tylenol, bandages, diapers – anything that one would need. I was asking them so many questions about what they need and how we can help. Not everyone can afford that stuff, and it’s sad to see. I saw how people had to come wait in line for canned goods and simple stuff that many people take for granted. From there I thought ‘I have to keep doing stuff like this.’ I did a flu vaccine at a hospital, where we vaccinated many people who came in. My classmates and I set up teams in our class to be a part of the #UCanCrushHunger campaign at MU and helped promote it. We even created a group where we walked around blocks to collect canned goods to donate. There was also a Day of Service, and I think that was awesome. So a lot of opportunities! People had to make a portfolio about what they’ve done so far and then present it to the other students and faculty members, which was so important. I think it was great because you could highlight what you’ve learned and why it’s important, and seeing you do that is going to spark some inspiration in someone else’s brain.”

“What are you looking forward to in the next three years?”

“I take it day by day, but I always aim to make progress and build upon what I’ve done so far. I feel this first semester was a learning curve, a rough patch while trying to adapt, but I feel like next semester I’ll be able to go for what I really want and focus on the side of community service. Now I have the hang of things and know what’s expected, and it will be better and I’ll be able to do more.”

“Anything else you’d like to add?”

“To be honest, I’ve always had this feeling that I want to make a change, and I don’t know why, but for some reason it feels like this is it, and Manchester is where I can do it. I’ve spoken with my mom and all that, and I told her ‘I don’t know what it is about this place, but I feel like something great is coming, and it’s going to happen.’”