June 13, 2024
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Future pharmacist finds calling — and himself — at Binghamton

The road to becoming a pharmacist wasn't easy for Eshraq Islam '24, but Binghamton University helped him every step of the way

Eshraq Islam has found his calling as a pharmacist and is ready to follow in his father's footsteps Eshraq Islam has found his calling as a pharmacist and is ready to follow in his father's footsteps
Eshraq Islam has found his calling as a pharmacist and is ready to follow in his father's footsteps Image Credit: Jonathan Cohen.

For Eshraq Islam ’24, the journey to earning his pharmacy degree wasn’t easy. There were a lot of ups and downs along the way, but he finally found his calling at Binghamton.

“Coming to Binghamton was like a fresh start for me,” he said. “Originally, I didn’t come to school here for undergraduate — I went to Drexel. I went to their combined medical school, but I think it also burnt me out. I didn’t know what I wanted to do exactly. So, I left and had to take a year off to figure it out.”

Originally, he planned on traveling and seeing the world, but then COVID happened. Those plans were put on hold, and Islam, like so many others around him, felt stuck. He got a job at a local pharmacy near where he lived, called Americare. That’s where his love for pharmacy really started.

“My dad’s a pharmacist, and he joked with me early on saying, ‘Don’t go into pharmacy! Go do something else!’” Islam said. “But I spent some time at Americare, and I spoke with a pharmacist named is Jeff Kwan. I asked him all sorts of questions, and I became more and more interested as time went on.”

Even though his father tried to sway him away from the pharmacy world, Islam knows just how proud he is.

“My dad immigrated from Bangladesh in the early ’80s,” Islam said. “He got his pharmacy degree in Bangladesh, at the only accredited pharmacy school there at the time. Then he immigrated to Long Island and has worked at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center for 30-something years. He’s always been there, but he never really spoke with me about pharmacy, so I never really got a good idea of what it was like to him. Still, he’s been a huge supporter of mine and has always been there for me. He’s always making sure I do what I want to and what makes me happy.”

Between his dad and Kwan, Islam was getting some insight into the different tracks and options he could do. He says his skills were always in healthcare, specifically healthcare advocacy and working with communities. He really felt like pharmacy was something that he could excel in and knew Binghamton could help him achieve it.

“I was coming out of medical school and feeling a bit like a failure at the time,” Islam said. “I wanted a fresh start somewhere where I could get away from distractions and come out of my shell. I knew that Binghamton had a great reputation for undergraduate school, so I had no problems coming here.

The longer he studied at Binghamton, the more Islam realized just how special the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences was.

“I’m really happy that I came here, because my time here was really transformative,” he said. “Binghamton does a great job at attracting a variety of different students and faculty from all walks of life. They helped me so much grow as a person and a professional. I feel like every single professor I talked to here has a completely different background or practice that they’re in, and they’re all really open and welcoming to share what they did, how they got there and giving you ideas on how you can get to a similar space if you want to. If they don’t know, they’ll point you to someone who’s also been in that space and try to figure out what you want to do. They helped me every step of the way.”

With the end of his time at Binghamton in sight, Islam is taking time to enjoy the final moments at Binghamton. His time on campus went by fast, but the memories he made will last a lifetime.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet, because I’ve been holding on to the fact that I’m still here,” he said. “Being on our rotations for this last year, a lot of us felt that we were not going to be able to see each other again for a while. Once we hit Commencement and finally get our degrees, when we have the cap and gown, then it will hit like a ton of bricks. Then I’ll realize, ‘Oh wow, oh wow, we made it!’”