GUSTINE - Perseverance has paid dividends for Gustine High alum Kristin Rose.
Rose, a 1996 GHS graduate, recently earned her Doctorate of Pharmacy from California Health Sciences University’s Clovis campus.
While she grew up with an interest in the field after often tagging along to work with an aunt who was a pharmacy technician, Rose’s journey to her Ph.D. years later proved long and winding. After graduating high school, she went to junior college before taking a break to raise her son and start her career. She went to pharmacy technician school and has worked for nearly 19 years in that capacity at Doctors Medical Center, Modesto (DMC).
While working in the DMC pharmacy, when her son was getting ready to enter fourth or fifth grade, Rose began to feel that maybe she was ready to take the next step toward becoming a pharmacist.
“I made good money, but I wanted more,” she recalls. She credits her first mentor at DMC with pushing her to pursue her Ph.D.. Not only did he encourage her advancement, Rose related, he also helped prepare her for the journey by having her take a hands-on role in her work. “When I became a tech there, [my] boss really wanted [me] to be the second eyes for the pharmacist. He wanted us to know what we were doing.”
Once she decided that the time was right, Rose eased into her schooling. She said it was important for her to start at a pace that allowed her to be present for her son and maintain enough work hours to pay for living expenses while still devoting enough time to her studies. She quickly picked up the pace, however, and ultimately was able to complete a two-year online bachelor’s degree program in 14 months.
“I was focused on the end result. The closer I got to the end of my program, the more time I took out from work to focus on school,” she stated.
A close-knit support group of classmates, co-workers, family and friends helped Rose navigate the hectic schedule and balance parenting, full-time work and full-time studies.
Working concurrently at DMC provided an unexpected benefit as Rose’s work hours were a study session of sorts.
“The good thing about my job is that I wasn’t doing one (thing) where I wasn’t learning,” said Rose, who continues to live in Gustine. “I used what I did on a daily basis to broaden my knowledge.”
She said that her parents would help her with her son, watching him when she stayed at a hotel in Clovis to prepare for her classes or a big test. Friends and family would bring by dinners when she didn’t have time to cook, while co-workers would cover her shifts whenever needed. Their support was instrumental and she is forever grateful, Rose shared.
Any doubters, she reflected, only made her more determined to succeed.
Rose also credited her school and classmates.
“I think because I had been in the field for so long, and they knew I had a lot to bring to the table, the school was very supportive. They wanted us to be there because it was a new school. Those who weren’t supportive of others didn’t make it in the program. My classmates and I stood by each other,” she stated.
Her son Justin, who graduated Gustine High in 2017, was also an inspiration.
She started her pharmacy school in his teen years. When life started to become overwhelming, Rose recalled, “I needed to remind myself that I was doing it for him.”
Now that she is done with her schooling (although still waiting to take her final tests to officially be able to practice), Rose can look toward the future. Ultimately, Rose said, she hopes to work in the DMC emergency room.
She also encourages others to pursue their dreams and not be deterred by detractors.
“Don’t ever give up on your dreams no matter how old you are. It gets harder [at times], but it always ends up showing you how strong you are,” she reflected.