I have officially finished my first two weeks at PA school. WOOO! We’ve had our first exams, meet all our professors for summers, and been thrown into the craziness that is school. I wanted to go through and talk about some of the things I’ve learn to give y’all applying a little taste of what it’s going to be like.
Living in DC
This is totally new for me. UF is more of a rural city so coming here with all of the people and the metro and all of the craziness is so different. I have to say I love it! I chose to live within walking distance to school, which was one of the smartest decisions I could have made (DC is actually redoing a lot of the metro this summer and single tracking-which means the trains all run in one direction all the way down the line and then turn around. This = chaos). For instance, I went home today during lunch to hang out with my cat! It’s a little more expensive for the space I’m getting than places out on the metro line; our two bedroom 1 bath is only 600 square feet. But I don’t have to pay for the metro on a daily basis and it literally takes me 6 minutes to walk to class! Score!
A lot of people I met on my interviews suggested not living with another member of your PA class. You spend all day in class with them (literally ALL day) and then would come home to live with them. It’s just a lot of time to spend with someone you might not know too well before the program starts. I chose to live with a dualer. So, she’s part of the PA class of 2019 and is currently taking MPH classes, and one anatomy class with me. It’s so, so nice. Both of us are super busy and understand the strains of school, but we don’t spend all day together and actually have things we can talk about without already knowing the story. I definitely recommend it. If I hadn’t had the option to live with my dualer, I would definitely live alone.
Okay here’s what y’all are really interested in, the nitty gritty of my classes. Honestly, I love them so far. Undergrad was fine, but a lot of the classes I took were annoying and not things I was actually interested in. Here, it’s the opposite. I’m literally fascinated by 95% of my lectures (I’m looking at your Biochem. I don’t like you.) I have a clinical assessment class that goes over how to take a history and preform a physical exam-it’s my favorite. It makes it so much easier to learn the material and actually retain it. Which is the most important thing to do for school. Downside, I’m in school from like 9-5 most days and we rarely change rooms.
So, I was told that PA school was going to be like trying to take a sip out of a fire hydrant. And let me tell you, it is. Honestly, I barely studied in undergrad. I would review maybe a couple of days before the exam, do some flashcards, do well on the exam, and then forget the stuff I didn’t find interesting. This is not the way to do it for PA school. I pay attention in class, take detailed notes, and normally go home and spend an hour reviewing for every class I had that day. So today I have Clinical Assesment (3 hours), Physiology (2 hours) , and Evidence Based Practice (2 hours). I’ll probably go home and spend about 2 hours reviewing for all of these classes. Now, I also have a Biochem exam this week (THANK GOD MY LAST BIOCHEM EXAM EVER), so I need to spend an additional 3-4 hours studying the material. And let me tell you, I’m not studying nearly as much as some of my classmates. The hardest part for me is the difference in how well I need to know the material and the amount of material given. It’s a HUGE amount and none of it is things I can learn and then put out of my mind. All of our exams and quizzes build on each other, so you could be tested on material you learned the first week of class.
My biggest tool right now is making a list of all the things I need to do and the rough time I think it will take me, and then crossing them out. It really gives me the sense of accomplishing things while still keeping me on track
Oh, and the best thing, PA school is not competitive. We all share study tools and information with each other since we want everyone to do well and we’re not ranked based on grades.
HARD. A lot of our questions are applied, which means you need to take the knowledge and be able to put it into real life or a situation. This can be hard for some students, I personally like it more. When studying, I try to think about how it affects me. Another great point about our exams is some classes have group exams. So, we take an individual exam and then join a group to discuss and retake the exam. It’s a nice way to promote teamwork and work on our compatibility skills.
I’m in love. My professors are all interesting, approachable, and understandable. The best thing about PA school is that they really want us to succeed at school and are willing to help us as much as we ask for. My advisor, who I was slightly apprehensive about since she’s as new to the school as I am, is great. She’s so approachable and nothing at all like the advisors in undergrad who don’t know you from Adam. We do have different lecturers for each class and different sections of the class, which can be kind of confusing, but they all follow the same basic rules. Every professor gives us an outline that highlights the major things we need to know and then uses bold or italics to emphasis things in the power points.
This is maybe my favorite part of school and I’m not just saying that since some of them read the blog (hi guys 👋🏻). I can honestly say that I could easily get along with anyone in my class and that every is very nice. It’s wonderful. When I was interviewing places, I really focused on how the current students seemed to get along with and like each other. It was important to me that I felt at home with my classmates-which I can proudly say I do. We’ve done lots of different things with each other, from going out to eat and brunching to study groups and going out to have fun.
My overall happiness:
Very happy! I’m truly thankful I got the opportunity to go to PA school and join my family of 66 other people. It’s only been two weeks, but I’m so excited to see what the future holds.
Hopefully this gave you some insight/motivation/excitement to enter PA school. I’ll make sure to keep updating my thoughts and feelings about the program as I continue on my journey.