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Students start ‘Easy Pills to Swallow’ podcast

Lexi Dauner, Peyton Braun and regular guest Iris Browning spoke in "Easy Pills to Swallow" about their time studying pharmacy. Photo courtesy of Peyton Braun

Lexi Dauner, a P4 or final year pharmacy student at Drake, was in class when the power suddenly went off. Her professor shrugged offhandedly and decided to keep teaching anyway. Her classmates were caught between astonishment and laughter. 

Dauner decided that she wanted to document these little memories of pharmacy school so she could reflect upon her memories with her friends and classmates. 

As a joke, she started a podcast — “Easy Pills To Swallow” — with her friend, classmate and now co-host, Peyton Braun, also a P4 student in the pharmacy program. But what started as a joke soon became a way for them to share their experiences in pharmacy school and create a resource base for incoming pharmacy students. 

“We started off with recounting our memories from pharmacy school and just sharing funny stories, but as we thought about it more, we realized that there wasn’t really an outlet for students who were going through pharmacy school to get an outside perspective on the whole experience,” Braun said. 

Braun and Dauner made a potential schedule spreadsheet and put down some rules about podcasting after realizing that they could use their experience to make something that could help others. 

Dauner dove into researching podcast production and editing while Braun dug into the logistics — emailing guests and setting up questions, and soon enough, the pilot episode of “Easy Pills To Swallow” dropped last May. The podcast currently has 27 episodes and is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Rephonic, Goodpods and Listen Notes.  

I’m grateful to have Peyton [Braun] to help keep us on schedule. We had a schedule planned out for the whole year when we started the podcast,” Dauner said in an email interview.

  Braun reaches out to the guest for their episode a month before they plan to record and asks for their availability for the week prior to when they plan to post. They then set up a time, and Dauner gets the weekend to edit.

After a brainstorming session for names for the podcast, which included the “Farming Pharmers” due to both the hosts hailing from Minnesota, the two came up with the name “Easy Pills to Swallow.” 

“We’re not really difficult people, so we definitely couldn’t be hard pills to swallow,” Braun said. 

Dauner thought that “Easy Pills to Swallow” was a more accurate representation of their overall positive experience at pharmacy school.

Braun and Dauner’s friendship played a big factor in making their co-hosting dynamic feel natural. Understanding each other well helps make their dynamic flow effortlessly like a well-oiled machine, they said.

“Peyton [Braun] is my absolute best friend. I would not have made it through pharmacy school without him,” Dauner said. “We complement each other so well, and I just knew that he was the only person I wanted to do this with.”

Braun and Dauner went through pharmacy school without a mentor who could share their experiences and highlight the tougher aspects of the experience — things like managing finances during their rotation year and applying for jobs post-graduation.

“Lexi [Dauner] and I thought it’d be great to record ourselves throughout our final year and see what we could teach others through just existing in our experience,” Braun said. 

The podcast also did something they hadn’t planned for — it helped them reconnect with old friends and classmates. 

“I’ve gotten to interact with wonderful people in my class that I just hadn’t had the chance to get to know as well,” Braun said.“It’s really bolstered these relationships, and that’s so important because it can get really stressful some days when you’re learning and you’re on your own.” 

Their podcast also gave Dauner and Braun a way to stay connected through their final year while they were doing rotations in different states and time zones. Dauner is currently doing a rotation in Alaska.

“We would interview [different guests] every week, and for us to be able to catch up once in a while was amazing because this was our first time not living right next to each other for a very long time,” Braun said.

Their biggest logistical challenge was scheduling people with different schedules living in different time zones while recording over Zoom. 

“There was a point when I was in Alaska, Lexi [Dauner] was in Iowa and we had guests in Arizona,” Braun said. “It was tough for us to coordinate because there was spotty internet sometimes, and Lexi [Dauner] and I could just disappear at some random point. We could also lose the entire recording.” 

Braun highlighted how important it was for first-years interested in the pharmacy program to enjoy every step of the experience despite the seemingly endless length of the program, which consists of two years of pre-pharmacy and four years of pharmacy school. 

“Time flies fast — make the most of it because it is an extremely fun experience. It’s great to look forward to life post-graduation, but this experience of being in school is not forever,” Braun said. “There are things you can only do as a pharmacy student. Once you’re a pharmacist, you have a lot of responsibilities, so make it as fun as possible while you can still learn.”

Dauner also explained how important it was to value the difficult times during pharmacy school. 

“Looking back at it all, I wish I would’ve appreciated it more,” Dauner said “Take in the hard times too; your experience would not be your experience without them. You learn and grow from those moments that prepare you to be the absolute best pharmacist you can be.”.

For Braun and Dauner, this podcast is a fun experience that reminded them of memories that they will cherish forever. 

“Even if nobody listened to it, I would still be proud of what we have accomplished with it because it truly is for our friends we share the experience with, Peyton and I,” Dauner said. 

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