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Rina Senderskaya, College of Pharmacy Valedictory Speech 2010, Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus


Alka Gupta,Assistant Director of Public Relations
Brooklyn Campus,
Long Island University

Thank you, Dean Taft.

Good afternoon and welcome Chairman Travaglianti, Chancellor Lachman, President Steinberg, Provost Haynes, Trustees, Overseers, esteemed faculty and staff, fellow students, family and friends.

I feel truly honored and humbled on this joyous day to be representing the graduating class of the Arnold and Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences of Long Island University.

On behalf of all my fellow students, I want to extend a very special thanks to the faculty, administration and staff for the guidance, support, and most especially, for the precious knowledge that has gotten us all to this point in our lives.

I want to briefly address the mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters of the graduates. On behalf of my fellow students, I want to thank all of you for your support along this journey. Thank you for being there for us every step of the way. I would like to point out that each and every graduate that is sitting here today was chosen by a highly selective process. These are the selected and fortunate few who have been chosen to attend this highly competitive program, out of thousands of equally excellent candidates. Be proud of them and their hard work and achievements.

At this time I want to thank my mom, dad, and Eugene, whose patience, love, encouragement and support have been endless and without whom I would not be standing here today.

Most importantly, I want to thank my fellow students. We could not have achieved this alone, we could not have done this without each other. I feel privileged to have made many friends here, but I want to acknowledge by name my dearest friends here at school—Yuliana, Olga, and Yelena – who shared this experience with me each and every day for the last four years.

Today I can’t help but think about my grandmother, who was for many years a beloved physician in my native town in the Ukraine, and the memories of my childhood, when our home was always open to friends and neighbors for treatment, medication, advice and comforting words. She was my inspiration, whose memory has lighted the way for me to this day.

Originally, I earned a degree in computer information systems, but after I embarked on that career path, I realized that my true calling lay in the health professions. So I began working towards getting accepted into this pharmacy program. It was not easy, but it was worth it, and as soon as I began my studies here, I knew that I had made the right decision, and that I had found my professional home. Since then I have never felt otherwise.

As Doctors of Pharmacy, we are privileged and fortunate to have chosen a profession that has been at the center of the most revolutionary advances in medicine in the last century. Pharmaceuticals have made the biggest and most profound difference in saving and improving people’s lives. Of course, along with the rest of the healthcare industry, pharmacy too is being rapidly transformed. In light of the historic reform legislation that passed Congress several months ago, the entire landscape of healthcare in America seems somewhat uncertain. The ongoing financial and economic crises pose additional uncertainties. But because of the fundamental values at the heart of our profession, we remain confident in its overall stability and in the range of career opportunities it will continue to offer.

When we began our studies here four years ago, we met as strangers from vastly different backgrounds, with different histories, from different parts of the world. While some of us were older and had already earned college degrees and had other life experiences, others were fresh-faced, straight out of high school. Ours is a wonderfully, amazingly diverse class that is a reflection of this great city and of this great nation in which we live.

At the beginning, choosing pharmacy or having the good fortune to have pharmacy choose us was all we had in common. Now, as the Class of 2010, we will always be united as much by the adversity we have faced together and have overcome, as by the achievements we celebrate today. I want to take a few moments to look back with my fellow graduates on this difficult journey we have just completed. As I stand here, I cannot help but remember the endless hours and days in lectures in HS107, the sleepless nights before our weekly exams… memories of hours on the telephone, of frantically reviewing clinical or kinetic notes. If someday I am diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, I will know the true cause.

From here, of course, we each take our separate paths. Some of us have chosen to go on to do PGY-1 clinical residencies. Others have accepted fellowships in the pharmaceutical industry. Still others—especially those who feel that LIU shortchanged us in the way of 18-hour study days, or simply not hit us with enough exams—will hunger for more education, and go on to earn MBAs or other advanced degrees. And truth be told, many more of us leave to work in community practice, either with one of the big chains or perhaps for an independent pharmacy, or to staff positions in hospitals around this great city. Whatever path we take, my final wish is this: that we will each find the path that suits both our temperaments and our ambitions, and that, in spite of all that will come between us in the years ahead, that we will work to stay in touch and share our accomplishments and joys, both personal and professional, in the coming years.

Thank you.

Posted 05/18/2010

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