Graduate Q&A with Pharmacy Technology Graduate, Marissa Wong
Marissa Wong recently graduated from the Pharm Tech program at the San Leandro Campus and is now working at a pharmacy in Hayward. Wendy Christensen, CPhT, BS – Lead Instructor, Pharmacy Technology, who taught Marissa, says that she “had some setbacks during the pandemic school year that would have really delayed her graduation status, however, she did not let the setbacks hold her back. She motivated herself throughout the program and really pushed to finish the course. She became one of my class leaders – tutoring and leading open class discussions. She was always willing to lend a hand whenever her classmates needed help.” During her externship, Marissa secured a position as a Pharmacy Clerk that is helping her step foot into the pharmacy industry. “This opened doors for her even prior to obtaining her pharmacy technician license,” Christensen says. “This type of motivation and encouragement is what we strive for in our students!”
Here, Marissa tells us about her interests and hobbies, her time in school at Carrington and after, and has some wonderful advice for current and prospective students.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your interests and hobbies?
I like to try new places to eat. I like to see new scenery. I love going to different cities locally, just seeing how things are like restaurants or bars and whatnot. I also just like to relax and chill at the house with friends or family. I’m super outgoing, although I can be pretty introverted at times.
Have you always been interested in the pharmacy field?
No, I haven’t always been. It wasn’t until the last couple of years that I was. That’s why I chose to go to Carrington.
When did you decide you wanted to pursue a career in pharm tech?
It was at the beginning of 2020. I wanted a future for myself and I thought, why not, during the pandemic, get a kickstart and get ahead while everything else is on hold.
Was there anything specific or any person who influenced your decision to pursue this career?
Mostly myself, but also my family. I wanted to make my family proud and have an education for backup.
What were you doing before you enrolled at Carrington?
I was working at a warehouse, an eye contacts warehouse in Alameda.
Why did you choose to attend Carrington? How did you hear about it?
I’ve always known about Carrington and I chose to go there because I knew it was a quick start to a career path. I knew that I wanted to get a quick science degree, something that I knew would be very beneficial to my future.
How did the Carrington program prepare you for your career?
I actually had a really good instructor, Ms. Wendy [Christensen, CPhT, BS – Lead Instructor, Pharmacy Technology]. She kept it real, she didn’t sugar coat anything about how it would be in the real world with that career path. She was very detailed when she taught us.
Can you tell us a little bit about your current work?
Yeah. I currently work at a Truepill Pharmacy in Hayward. As of right now, because I haven’t got my license approved by the board yet, I’m currently doing data entry while I wait for my license to be approved. I work early shifts, which is pretty nice.
What do you enjoy most about your work and what do you find most challenging?
I enjoy translating the prescriptions that doctors send down for their patients. There isn’t really anything that’s challenging about it, quite honestly. I think once I start my position as a tech, I will see some more challenges, but right now data entry is pretty easy and self-explanatory, and repetitive.
What was the hardest part about school and what got you through the hard times?
Some of the hardest parts were definitely remembering the medications, the brands, and generics, and then also understanding the math, which is why I said earlier, Ms. Wendy, was a really, really good instructor. She was very patient with us, especially when we didn’t understand the math. She would find different ways of teaching us math and how we would understand it.
What was your externship like?
My externship in the retail pharmacy was a good experience. I feel like they’re very helpful and I learned a lot of skills that would be beneficial to me once I started my career. In my non-retail pharmacy, I feel like I didn’t learn what I could have learned at a different location. I felt like I was just helped. I didn’t feel challenged at all. I didn’t feel like I was learning new things hands-on that I didn’t already know how to do that I learned from the program.
Was there any advice you received or a motto that you used to get through school, or any advice you would have for students in school now?
For students, I would tell them don’t give up, they are already smart. Take the advice that my teacher gave me. I don’t know if it would be beneficial to other students, but she told me that people around me like instructors or school staff, or even just family and peers, see me on such a high level. I present myself at such a lower level and I have to see how they perceive me. Just basically showing myself at the level that they perceive me because I’m capable of it.
Do you have any advice specifically for people interested in going into pharm tech?
My advice would be that this is a career field that will always be needed. Also, you’re learning about medications that could potentially help your family in the future and also yourself. It’s really good knowledge to have.
What’s next for you?
The company that I work for was actually just in Forbes magazine. It’s a really good opportunity for me to have this company on my resume if I choose to not stay with it forever. But it’s a really good stepping stone, especially it is my first job out of my program.
Is there anything that you would like to add?
Make school fun, make studying fun. Because it’s your education.