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Gozie Uzendu, Class of 2017

Gozie Uzendu is a member of the class of 2017. His hometown is St. Louis, Missouri. At the age of seven, his family moved to Nigeria for four years. Gozie returned to St. Louis in 2005 and completed middle and high school.

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What was it that attracted you to the profession?

I've always felt a tremendous gratification when I do something for the betterment of someone else, whether it be giving them something specific they need, or providing a service to help with a certain task. Growing up, I was always told how caring I was toward those around me. I wanted to choose a career path where I'd be able to use the passion God gave me to make a difference in the world. What better field to help others than the health field? My mother being a nurse practitioner and my brother being a doctor also helped me lean toward health care. I chose pharmacy in particular because it was something different than what my family already practiced, and I feel that medicine itself is the core of health care. Being a drug expert and using my knowledge to improve therapeutic outcomes for patients seemed like a dream job to me at a young age, and so far, I’m glad I chose this profession.

Were you involved in activities or organizations?

I was a member of the men’s basketball team from my first year at St. Louis College of Pharmacy (STLCOP) to my fourth year. I found that through the sport I loved the most growing up, I was able to find an escape from the stress of pharmacy school. After a long day of lectures, I had practice to look forward to, after a long week of exams and quizzes, I had games and road trips to look forward to, and after one season ended, I had the next season to look forward to.

How did those experiences help you grow?

My desire to be a crucial part of the team caused me to make sure I was on top of all my assignments and studying, and also helped me manage my time. This way, I’d be able to make it to all of the practices and games, and have the opportunity to do my best to help the team win games. I also learned the value of teamwork. As much as I sometimes believed that I was the best option in certain situations, I had to realize that it wasn’t all about me. Every person on the team makes their own contribution that is vital for the team’s success. This lesson will help me in the work field to rely on my co-workers for advice and contributions, rather than taking on the full load and burning out.

What advice do you have for current and future students?

For future students:
Try not to get overwhelmed when you arrive at STLCOP. When I first got here, I didn’t think I was going to make it through the first semester. All the freshmen I met had higher grade point averages than myself in high school and scored much better than me on the ACT. I also didn’t have many assignments and projects to take home in high school compared to my first year of college. However, I believed in myself and my family and friends believed in me, and looking back on my STLCOP experience, it has taught me that anything is possible with the right attitude. Once you know where you want to be in life, you’ll do your best to get there, and nothing is more satisfying than reaching your goals.

For current students:
Get involved in something. Although I’m glad I invested most of my free time in basketball during my schooling, I wish I had also branched out into other activities such as a fraternity or a pharmacy organization, especially since I became interested in pursuing a residency. I also urge you not to procrastinate. I learned this the hard way during my first year and my grades suffered for it. It’s very easy to push off an assignment for later, but it’s difficult to do the best you can on something when you’re rushing to complete it on time. Do your work early!

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