Headed home, then to another new home

Where's Zach? By Zach A. Pape, PharmD

The months of June and July are a time of transition for many. The season undergoes a change from spring to summer. Those in colder regions finally begin experiencing the warmth after a long grueling winter, while people in the warmer regions find themselves seeking good air-conditioning and shade. In the world of pharmacy, rotation students turn into PharmD graduates, postgraduates continue onward to specialize or find jobs, and those in academia prepare for a new year with new students.

For many people (myself included), the career transition also means a transition in where you call home.

My long journey to date

Those who have completed a postgraduate residency or fellowship and went through the matching process know the end of the year can sneak up on you very quickly. Picking up and moving yourself from one place to another is sometimes a daunting task, but also an exciting experience.

Completing multiple years of postgraduate experiences can seem like a long journey. Mine has been filled with great experiences, fantastic people, and several opportunities to practice picking up and moving my life. I started by completing my PharmD at Drake University in Des Moines, IA. From there I moved to Morgantown, WV, to complete a PGY1 in community-based pharmacy at West Virginia University–Waterfront Family Pharmacy, and then to Fort Lauderdale, FL, to complete a PGY2 in ambulatory care at Nova Southeastern University. Now, following residency, I find myself packing up the car and traveling across the country yet again as I move into an academic role at the Medical College of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy in Milwaukee.

And you can join me in my latest adventure!

1,500 miles of music & self-reflection
Although moving (especially long distances) can be an exhausting process, there are plenty of things to be excited about as well. Travel allows you opportunities to expand your personal and professional connections, especially if you stay involved in the APhA New Practitioner Network (NPN). Each move gives me the opportunity to stop and visit friends and colleagues along the way. As I leave warm and sunny Florida, of course I will miss the warm weather and readily accessible beaches. However, I also look forward to heading back closer to home, to old friends, colleagues, and family.

You may hear others say that packing and unpacking your belongings is always the biggest chore in the moving process and the least exciting part of any big move. Others may argue that the worst part, and the one that gets to them, is driving hours on end to the next location (sometimes alone) in a cramped vehicle, and dining on unhealthy food options right off the highway. Personally, I enjoy the time in the car. I make sure I have my music downloaded, reserve a few hours for self-reflection, and spend some time looking forward to what the future holds—and time flies by.

My trip will begin with me returning home to Iowa first before officially moving to my new job in Milwaukee. It will span a few days and about 1,500 miles. Although the trip will be long, I look forward to some exciting stops along the way through Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri before arriving home. My NPN friends have asked me to chronicle my journey on our Instagram story (@aphanpn), and I hope you all will follow along, starting on June 29, to see what the trip entails.

Let me know if you think there are any stops along the way that I just cannot miss. Also, feel free to comment and post on the NPN Facebook page to share your own moving experiences!