So this is kind of a more serious subject.
I know a lot of you have struggled with the journey of getting to Physician Assistant school, and I wish I could tell you that once you get in, everything is magic and sunshine. And honestly, being here is the most amazing feeling ever and it does feel like every dream I’ve ever had is within my grasp.
But it’s still hard. And we’re still struggling. Our classes are intense, we’re in school all day and then go home and study, people sometimes aren’t the most supportive, and we feel like we’re facing this huge, impossible challenge (or at least I do). Last night I cried because I spilt water on my backpack and it didn’t totally dry while I was at school yesterday. Looking back it’s completely silly and I can laugh at my being so distraught at simple water, but in the moment its a big deal.
That’s what I want you guys to realize: is that even though something can seem like a big deal in the moment, and like something you’re not going to be able to overcome, that’s not reality. Our lives are filled with so much promise and hope and for every obstacle we overcome, we turn in to such better humans.
So while many of you may be concerned about how you’ll ever make it to PA school, take a step back. Look at how much you have learned and grown as a person and remember that. Look at all of the experiences that have shaped you and find something to be thankful about each one. And then remember, even if you’re not the smartest person in the world, or testing is something you struggle with, you can still make an amazing clinician based on your experience and ability to interact with a person.
I read an article the other day about the rude awakening many med and PA students face once they leave the program. It explained how we spend SO much time memorizing and learning all of this material, and then we get to the real world and realize not all of it is actually things that help us treat a patient. That our memorization doesn’t help with clinical knowledge and many of the things we learn can, and will, be looked up as we go. I feel this a lot now, when I’m faced with learning for a test and memorizing (even though technically I shouldn’t be regurgitating the material but learning how to apply it) things I can’t imagine being able to remember in my clinical practice. And it makes me question how well prepared I will be.
But then I remember all of the life experience I have that came JUST from applying to PA school. The thousands of hours I spent working in a hospital under RNs, PAs, MDs. The experiences I got to witness, from patients dying to holding newborns less than a day old. The techniques I learned because I was that PCA who asked questions constantly. The shadowing hours. The interviews. The explaining what a PA is to family members. And I realize I am prepared. I do deserve to be here. And I will make a great clinician.
I guess that’s what I wanted to tell you guys. Even though this daunting and challenging and stressful and sometimes we just need to cry over spilt [water], it all comes together. The great part of becoming a Physician Assistant is the fact it does look at your experience. The admission’s committee WANTS you to have experience. They want you to know how to interact with patients. They want you to have grown as a person from some event in your life. They want you to have overcome challenges. Having a stumble is not a bad thing.
So I want you to keep this in mind the next time you feel like you can’t accomplish this. We have all been there (I know I certainly have) and it is something we overcome. And without it, I truly don’t feel we will as be as good of clinicians. So appreciate your challenges.