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Peter Thao is a current PY2 (c/o 2021) from our Asheville Campus. From Albemarle, NC, he completed his undergraduate studies at UNC-Charlotte. Peter enjoys fishing, learning to play sports, ALL things Taylor Swift, and Disney World (which he visited for the first time this year, FUN!). For today’s student spotlight feature, Sit with Senate’s Megan Tran interviewed Peter.

Sit with Senate: What have been some of your favorite moments at ESOP?
Peter Thao: “I really enjoyed planning a Secret Santa event for my class last year. It was fun seeing everyone in my class participating. Another fun memory was Spring Break. Many people from class traveled to Hilton Head Island, SC and shared an enormous beach front house. The most fun part of the trip was that Dean Scott and some of the 3rd year students happened to also be in the area, and yes, we did invite them to come join us for dinner one night.”

SwS: How have you changed as a student since you started pharmacy school?
PT: “I’m usually a student who is content with whatever passing grade I earned. I would be just as happy with a C as I would be with an A. However, I’ve been striving to get more A’s in my classes in pharmacy school. The motivation for this mainly came from my classmates encouraging me.”

Peter shares that he tried to utilize Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays to get ahead for the next week. When he knows there is a test, he studies a week in advance!

SwS: Who is your favorite professor at ESOP and why?
PT: “It’s hard to choose between them all. I think it depends on the day. I love learning, so if I feel as if the professor made an impact on me that day, he/she becomes my favorite at that moment.”

SwS: If you could give advice to future students or current PY1s, what would that be?
PT: “Be genuine and make lots of friends. If you ever fall and can’t pick yourself back up, those friends will be there to help you. You also need to help your classmates, too. Don’t treat pharmacy school as a competition.”

Peter gave Megan some insight as to why he would like this to be his advice to all. Inspired by Dean Scott’s advice of not treating pharmacy school as a competition, Peter passes down that same sentiment. In addition, he mentions he is the first in his family to attend college. As a first-generation college student, upperclassmen from his high school that also attended UNCC asked a young Peter to live with them. Peter initially thought that this took away his chance to meet new people, but little did he know, he was able to broaden his horizon through these upperclassmen. Through his experience, he felt that they gave him a home away from home. He thoughtfully shares that many people undergo a lot of stress in their lives and feeling homesick is the last thing that people need. Thus, extending a hand to make people feel welcomed is the way to go.

SwS: What do you like to do to relieve stress from school/work/immersion?
PT: “Besides napping? I like to go fish of course, but it’s really hard to find nice fishing spots in Asheville. I love fishing! I’ve been fishing since I was 3 years old. It’s a hobby that’s always changing, and you have to learn how to adapt to it. I really love being outdoors. There’s also a little secret that only a few people know about me; I love magic. I love learning new magic tricks and showing them off. It’s thrilling to show my magic to the Asheville Campus and see their reactions.”

SwS: What do you work towards in your free time?
PT: “I like making videos, especially funny ones. Sometimes people are having a hard time, so if I can create something that makes them laugh, then I have created a happy moment in their day. I love spreading joy to others, it is what makes me happy. At this point it’s just a hobby – I’m just the guy behind the camera.”

Such a kindhearted response, and we are so grateful that Peter stepped out from behind the camera to stand in the spotlight for Sit with Senate!


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