Q&A with Pharmacy Technology Student Andrea Olguin
Andrea Olguin is a recent graduate of Carrington College’s Pharmacy Technology program. She began her journey into the Pharm Tech field after a decade-long career in receiving, and while raising three children. She was a determined student who completed her 5th term heavily pregnant and was ready to come back for her 6th term externship after just a short leave. Now, she’s already been hired and is working on her bachelor’s. Here, Andrea tells us about what and who inspired her, kept her going, and advice for students entering the field now.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m actually a full-time mom, and I worked in management for 11 years. But right now my life revolves around my kids. When I started Carrington, I had a nine-year-old and I had just had my daughter, she was a month. During Carrington, I had another daughter, so they’re five months, a year, and a ten-year-old now. I was busy!
Have you always been interested in the pharm tech field?
I have. I am surrounded by strong women who are in the medical field, so I’m the last one to actually get my career started. But pharmacy has always intrigued me.
When did you decide to pursue a career in pharm tech, and was there any person or event that influenced you?
Yes, my shipping and receiving management job I was at for 11 years took away my pay because I wanted to step down from management to a regular employee. That’s when I was like, “Yeah, I can’t do this anymore.” And I just did school.
Why did you choose to attend Carrington?
I actually did it because of the quick response they had. I just submitted an email, and I literally got a call within 15 minutes. The financial aid representative through Carrington just gave me a quick update on the requirements, what I have to do, how it’s the hybrid class because of COVID, and what I would expect from them. And that was it. It was a very quick process. It was so quick I didn’t have my materials ready.
How did the Carrington program prepare you for the career that you’re in now?
I would actually say it was more the teacher that prepared me and helped me. Especially Wendy Christensen.
What did you enjoy most about your studies?
The hands-on lab was not only interesting, but it showed me that I can actually put into practice everything that I was learning through the books and the papers.
What got you through the hard times? What kept you going?
Just the support of my husband, because honestly, I don’t have family like that. So just to have at least one person on board with me, because with three kids and working nights and going to school, I actually had moments where I was like, “You know what? Maybe this isn’t for me. Maybe I am going to be stuck as a receiver the rest of my life.” But just having one supportive person helps tremendously.
What was your extern like?
My externs were different. I had one retail and one non-retail. So it was a different environment and different settings, but I would have to say that helped me get an idea of how my peers would be around me, what they expect. So all the business and professional aspects of Carrington helped me tremendously. It was a stepping stone to what I would experience when I got hired.
Was there any advice you received or a motto you used to get through school?
If you don’t complete it, you can’t achieve it.
You can’t have a career if you don’t put into practice the hard work before getting that job, or before actually saying, “I have a certificate. I’m actually at the first step of being a pharmacy technician.” I have to complete it to get it.
What advice do you have for students who are looking to go into the pharm tech field now?
It’s not going to be easy, but if it’s what you want to do, it’s going to be worth it. It actually wasn’t what I expected at all. I had a lot of peers around me that dropped out during the course. So it kind of made me feel like, well, maybe this isn’t for me, even though I wanted to always do it. But it’s not going to be easy. It’s hard work, but it’s work that you’re going to benefit from.
What’s next for you in your career?
I actually already got hired, but because of my baby situation, I’m putting it on hold to go to continue to get my bachelor’s.