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The University of Mississippi

Life in Jackson: A Different World

Posted on: January 19th, 2016 by gegero

Stephanie Sollis, PY3


Students at Fondren's First Thursday.

Stephanie Sollis (far left) and students providing health screenings at Fondren’s First Thursday.

As I started writing this post, I thought about a question that comes up all of the time in pharmacy school: “So what do you do in Jackson, anyway?” While spending so many years in Oxford, I often found myself asking the same question. Well, I found the answer when I moved south this past July and I’m here to solve the mystery!

Jackson is quite the change from Oxford. While city life is obviously different (many suburbs, heavier traffic, different food and shopping options, etc.), the school atmosphere is different as well. We are attending school on the campus of an academic medical center. UMMC is quite large and always busy! On a typical day, I may see students from all different disciplines, patients, employees, professors and beyond. It is pretty cool to be in the medical environment here. We can be exposed to so many different areas of pharmacy practice with a walk across campus as well as meet new people with the same goal: caring for patients. There are plenty of ways to get involved with other professions as well, whether it be through an ASB event, interprofessional event or other method.

Students volunteering in Jackson.

Students volunteering in Jackson.

Our school days are not so typical compared to Oxford students. PY4 students are on APPE rotations all over the state and beyond (with eight, five-week rotations throughout the year.) PY3 students have a varying daily schedule, and we do not see all of our classmates every day. We have four core classes (Group, Knowledge and Comprehension, Problem Solving, Skills Lab/Preventive Medicine) as well as IPPE rotations.

A typical week for PY3 students would be as follows:

  • Monday: Group (new case(s) with treatment plan assigned)
    • Group consists of approximately eight students in a PBL type environment. These groups can meet any time from 7 AM to 7 PM on Monday/Wednesday/Friday. Groups are usually scheduled for two or 2.5 hours each.
  • Tuesday: No class commitments, but this is dedicated to IPPE time. Each student attends rotation one day per week for four hours, and this schedule is different for every student, but classes are blocked on Tuesday to allow for this time.
  • Wednesday: Group (treatment plan due) and Assembly
  • Thursday: Skills Lab (Fall) or Preventive Medicine (Spring)
  • Friday: Group (with Journal Club in Blocks 2-4)

Other commitments for PY3 students include PDAT, Pathway deadlines, Twitter consults (all day “on call” simulation one time per block), Knowledge and Comprehension exam (two times per block), and Problem Solving exam (one time per block.) Note that “one block” is, basically, one-half of a semester so there are two blocks in a semester.


Students participating in SpookyU.

Hopefully this helps everyone to understand what life is like for a typical PY3 or PY4 student. While our atmosphere and schedules are quite different, we have the capability to learn so much! It blows my mind to know how much I have learned already this year. We have many great faculty and staff who are willing to lend a helping hand.

As the spring semester begins, I think back on all of the wonderful events that happened over the last few months of 2015! The final two years in Jackson are quite busy, but our students still take the time to make a difference, both on campus and in the community. We also find the time to have fun!

From a community service perspective, all of our events have been successful. A few “core” service activities are the Jackson Free Clinic (weekly) and Caring Hands Clinic (monthly.) Our community service co-chairs, PY4s Patrick Reed and Tate Davis, have been instrumental in our success at these events. Spots fill up quickly… and we often have too many volunteers, which is a very positive thing! It is great to see our students so eager to participate. A few other events have included Spooky U (where the SOP won “Best Costumes”), the campus-wide Hungry Games food drive and a few other projects.

Holiday event at High Heaven.

Holiday event at High Heaven.

Our organizations have been busy as well! From nights spent serving at the Ronald McDonald House to Clinical Skills competitions, research day, leadership retreat, screenings, flu shot drives and beyond, it was a successful fall semester! Our many organizations are constantly striving to do more. Each group is excited and eager to make a difference, and I can’t brag on them enough!

Finally, we have had time for some fun as well! Mocha Mornings have been going strong, and caffeine is never a bad thing on Monday mornings! Student Body Week was a success, with free meals, Battle of the Sexes and Fondren’s First Thursday. We have also enjoyed a few ASB parties, where our students met other students on campus. ASHP hosted a party at Pump It Up after Block I, and we enjoyed playing in the bouncy house and on the slides! In November we had our holiday event at High Heaven trampoline park in Flowood. I can safely say that everyone had a great time (and enjoyed a workout!). We hope to return to High Heaven this semester.

All of our Jackson students just returned from a much-needed winter break. We have returned rejuvenated and ready to tackle this semester. While we miss our friends in Oxford, I think that everyone is adjusting well and enjoying a schedule change. Can’t wait to see some of you here in the fall!