Zareen Zeller is a first year pharmacy student from Arizona. However, she’s not a typical pharmacy student. Zeller is the mother of twins; Zara and Emily, who are nine months old.
She said having children right before she decided to come to pharmacy school wasn’t the plan, but that everything worked out for the best.
“I think it’s a mixed blessing, that everything kind of came together,” Zeller said. “My husband got a promotion that allowed him to move and do his job remotely, which meant I could come to Harding for pharmacy school.”
Zeller and her family arrived in Searcy the Thursday before orientation, which she said was great.
“What I thought was really fun was a photo scavenger hunt. It was actually really beneficial since I’m not from this area at all, but the people in my group–who I would eventually be working with in my classes–were,” Zeller said. “The only thing I could compare it to was my orientation for undergrad. It was overall more centered and a lot smaller.”
Zeller received her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from Arizona State University. She started off as a bio-engineering major, but soon realized engineering was not for her.
“I knew for sure I wanted to go into medicine of some sort. I thought, at that point, that it would be more interesting to see the way healthcare was being engineered,” Zeller said. “It was a mixed blessing again because I realized that it wasn’t for me. It had gotten to the point where I didn’t know what we were doing, but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do.”
After Zeller graduated in 2011, she took a break from school to work and decide what she wanted to do. She started looking for pharmacy schools, and was using the centralized application service PharmCAS. Zeller knew she wanted smaller class sizes and a program that was not as competitive with GPAs.
“What I was looking for in a pharmacy school was smaller class sizes. I wanted something that was focused on a community style of teaching and really focused on the student to teacher ratio,” Zeller said.
PharmCAS led her to Harding, and Zeller said she is glad it did. She said it is difficult, but it will be worth it in the end.
“They give you this analogy at the beginning where it feels like a fire hydrant is blowing information at you. It’s just different,” Zeller said. “I think it’s a combination of how to juggle; time management and stress management are important.”
She said at the beginning of orientation, Dr. Mercer told the students that pharmacy school was the hardest thing he had ever done.
“I’m going to say that’s definitely true,” Zeller said. “It’s something that I’ll be able to say, that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I did it.”