Never give up

Name: Jessica Smith
Major: Pharmacy
Year: Junior (first-year professional student)
Hometown: Hickory Hills, Illinois

Her inspiration: Jessica’s grandma unknowingly gave her a gift. “She worked at Walgreens for 37 years, then she got really sick with breast cancer and was put on hospice care. She was given powerful medications. I was in awe reading the bottles. I wanted to know how they worked.” Jessica pursues a career in nuclear pharmacy so she can help make people’s diagnostic experiences easier and their treatments better.

Finding Purdue: “As I began looking at colleges during my senior year of high school, I was underwhelmed. Then I came to Purdue. I fell in love instantly. The College of Pharmacy offered everything I was looking for, and the campus was so beautiful, friendly and bright. I knew immediately that I wanted to be a Boilermaker.”

Raising the bar: Jessica has always done well in school, but realized she needed to change things up at college. “My first exams were not great. I quickly learned that I had to start studying earlier to find out what the professors thought was important and what I needed to focus on. I’m not afraid to say I don’t know something, and I will ask questions until I understand.”

The balance: Jessica is on the board of directors for the Purdue Alumni Student Experience (PASE). Her activities include Bags for Cans and the Nearly Naked Mile. But “me time” is important, too. “I try to always take one night a week for myself. It’s all about time management.”

Determination: Jessica believes the obstacles you face aren’t meant to beat you, they’re meant to better you. “Losing my grandma was the hardest thing I have ever endured. I lost one of the strongest women in my life, and while I was devastated, to say the least, losing her gave me the fire in my heart to work even harder and push for my dreams more.”

By Susan Ferringer