The personal statement is something that a lot of pre-PAs struggle with. How do you begin to put in to words why you are interested in being a Physician Assistant, and in only 5,000 characters? And, how do you do that while being professional but still showing your uniqueness?…
For me (and for most people), Clinical year has been a thousand times better than Didactic year. I didn’t enjoy sitting in a classroom and getting lectured to every day. After I while I struggled to be able to imagine myself treating patients with the knowledge I was learning, because I felt like it had been so long since I had actually interacted with a patient.
But as much as I was looking forward to Clinical year and going back to seeing patients, I was also terrified. Would I actually be able to remember all the things I was taught during Didatics? How would I make sure to impress my preceptors – their evaluations would make up a huge portion of my grade! I wanted to succeed, and I wanted to be successful from the moment I started rotations.
This is something I think a lot of students can relate to (mainly because I get asked some variation of this question all the time). So I finally sat down and wrote down my tips for succeeding during clinical year.
I would love to hear your thoughts on these tips, and what you did to succeed during rotations!
So, this post is based off my knowledge of CASPA in previous cycles, and the way things were done back then. I also combed through the CASPA HELP CENTER to make sure I wasn’t saying anything grossly incorrect. My goal is to go back through this post and update it once CASPA does open (April 26).
Until the open date, I wanted to give you guys some ideas of what you need to have prepared for when CASPA opens. I’ve been seeing a lot of posts lately (PRE-PA BIG BROTHERS AND SISTERS, THE PRE-PA CLUB, PRE-PA ROCKSTARS) about whether individuals need to start a CASPA application now to fill in their information and whether or not it will roll over to a new cycle. In my experience, I’ve heard that only applicants who SUBMIT an application to a school will have their information transfer over to the new cycle. I’ve also heard of a ton of problems that occur when people then try to edit this information. So, I would really suggest holding off on opening a CASPA application until you are actually ready to apply (unless you want to go look around on the site and not fill anything in – this I totally suggest)
To hold you guys over until April 26, here are some of my ideas on what you can be doing to prepare until then! I go through my tips section by section based on how CASPA is set up.
Two years ago today, I got off the phone with my mom, sat down at my desk and started this blog. She thought I needed a hobby and some form of “creative” outlet during PA school. And somehow we came to the idea that a blog would be a good route for this. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Seriously. I came up with the name Stethoscope and Sparkle on a whim (I’m not typically creative so I have no idea how this awesome name popped into my head) and just started running with it. I figured my mom would read my blog; that maybe a friend or two would entertain me and like some of my stuff.
I had absolutely no idea what this random, spur-of-the-moment decision would grow into.
Having a blog these past two years has been an adventure. There have definitely been ups and downs but I wouldn’t give up my experience for anything. My application to PA school was one of the most stressful time periods of my life. I was near tears a lot during those months – first from dealing with the stress of CASPA, then from waiting for interviews when everyone around me seemed to be getting so many, and finally when I was waiting to find out if I had gotten in anywhere. Back then, I didn’t feel like there were a lot of options for places to turn to. Sure I could read the PA forum or talk to my friends, but most of the times those options seemed to stress me out even more. So when my mom and I were talking about creative options for me, helping pre-PA students just seemed like the route to go. I wanted to be the kind of guiding, calming person that I wish was there for me when I was applying.
I didn’t realize that people would actually read these rambling narratives of posts. Or that I would be getting tons of DMs and emails from people actually wanting me to help them. And for a while, it was super scary. To be honest, it kind of still is. Who am I to try and tell you guys anything?
So I try to sit down and write to you guys how I wish someone would talk to me – honest and encouraging. And it seems to be working so far.
This blog has made me stronger and braver and more well rounded.
I’ve met some of the most amazing individuals from it (shout out @_DorothyFaye, @Palindrome_PA, and @StudyingInScrubs). I’ve had people tell me that they thought that the things I was saying were inspirational, and that I made their day brighter. It’s forced me to go WAY outside my comfort zone and do things I never would have normally – like share my insecurities and failures with more than just my mom. I’ve gotten better at articulating my thoughts, and I’ve learned a lot more about this profession than I ever would have just by going to PA school.
I’ve also been told how stupid I am, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, and that I’m wasting my time doing this. And there definitely has been a lot of self-doubt and comparisons on my end, especially when I felt like I actually was wasting my time by doing this. There have been days were I wanted to stop, and I honestly hesitated for quite a while before renewing my domain. For a long time, I didn’t ever talk about my blog in real life and just kind of pretended it didn’t exist.
But at the end of the day, the real reason I’m doing this – spending the time writing these posts, taking the pictures, figuring out what to talk about – is because of you guys. Sure, I needed a way to express myself and grow as a person, and that’s what this blog has done for me. But I wanted to be a source that someone could turn to when they had questions. I wanted to be able to talk about how excited I am to be a PA, because it seriously is an amazing profession. And as much as I never expected to have people reading these rambling narratives of posts, it makes me super excited. Because hopefully that means that your application period is just a little bit less stressful than mine was.
So I just wanted to take a moment and thank you guys for following along for the past two years with me! If you don’t follow me already on INSTAGRAM, be sure to head over there because I’m doing an awesome giveaway in celebration!
And seriously, reach out to me. The whole reason I’m doing this is because of you guys!! So send me an email and ask your question or just stop by to say hi.
Other than the Behavioral Medicine exam, this was by far the most confident I felt going into an EOR exam. I think a lot of that had to do with how much I genuinely enjoyed my rotation – it was such an exciting and wonderful learning opportunity for me, and it was something that I really felt like I excelled at. Even though I was doing a lot of studying and brushing up on diagnoses each day while I was seeing patients, it was still really important that I studied for the EOR exam.
But, for this rotation I actually didn’t use my tried and true method of creating EOR Charts, and instead went with something different.
When I was getting ready for this rotation, I reached out to a couple of my classmates (something I don’t typically do because it creates more stress for me), and asked them what they had thought of this EOR. The consensus was that this Emergency Medicine EOR exam wasn’t exactly emergency medicine and more of a repeat of the primary care exam. If you guys read my INTERNAL MEDICINE STUDY TOOLS post, you know that this was also the case for the internal medicine exam (that it was less internal medicine and more primary care). Having already taken both of those exams, I felt comfortable not creating my huge EOR chart and instead going off of those two charts.
I think this was a really smart decision for me, and it ended up working out really well.
With that being said, I still did do a lot of my studying in anticipation that this exam was Emergency Medicine based. I figured it was better for me to know what to do in an emergency, and that this would still be seen on the exam.
I ended up using three main resources for this EOR Exam:
The whole process of using CASPA can be kind of tricky, and a question that gets asked a LOT is during what cycle you should apply if you want to enter school a specific year. Hopefully, this breakdown will give you a better idea. No matter what, remember that you need to do your own research on when you think is the right time to apply. …