The Year is Rolling On!!

It’s been awhile and lots of exciting things have happened in the Elon Class of 2020 PA world! In May we had a wonderful team go and do great at challenge bowl at the AAPA conference-thank you for the wonderful representation, we’re so proud of you!

In July we held our annual Anatomical Donor Memorial Ceremony. The end of the first summer module also marked the end of the majority of our time with our anatomical donors and we held a beautiful service to honor that gift. It was a wonderful opportunity to express our gratitude to the individuals who have enabled our education in anatomy. We heard many beautiful tributes from some of those individuals’ family members and from our Elon faculty and students alike. Working in the anatomy lab has been an experience that was hard to fathom before I was actually in it and I have been so grateful for and humbled by the experience of learning anatomy using a donor, their gift has been a window through which understanding of the human form was able to shine. I am linking a poem I wrote for the ceremony that perfectly sums how I have felt about the experience. “Silent Teachers”  Thank you to all those who contributed to make it such a special and touching experience.

June and July saw us in the thick of classes and one of the most challenging semesters I have experienced in my life! So far summer classes have come and gone by like a whirlwind!! Our much needed summer break passed just as quickly and Summer II module just ended. The pace was a bit slower and gave us all a much needed opportunity for relaxation and reflection over the last 8 months.

Self-evaluation is extremely important in any part of our lives and I have found it even more important here during my time in the didactic year. The old habits and study strategies that I have used from undergrad have not always served me as well as they used to and my learning style has been more fluid than solid as I have worked to act and react to the circumstances around me. Overall though, it has been a good thing. Extremely hard and intensely demanding, but good. It is because I have been pushed to learn in a way that I have never been before.

It has been a challenge that each of us has faced in a different way but I am proud to say that I have seen strength that matches and surpasses that challenge in each one of my classmates. In order to rise to the exigencies that the didactic year presented we had to reevaluate what we thought we knew from before and enact changes to succeed in an entirely new environment of learning.

And now that we are 8 months in I want to send a message to all those who are considering PA school or waiting to begin: It is hard. You can do it!

The most important thing about succeeding, in PA school as in the rest of life, is your willingness to work hard and your ability to adapt to your surroundings. As you face the rigors of school and find that something isn’t working there’s not much time for despair (though if you need a minute to cry it out you’ll find no judgement here, trust me). You take a moment, when you need it, then you pick yourself back up and you act. You change what needs to be changed in order to rise to the new challenge. I have seen many of my classmates take their own individual stumbling blocks and turn them into stepping stools.

Developing this talent will serve in much larger spheres than just school. As future medical providers we will have a huge responsibility to evaluate ourselves throughout our entire careers to ensure that we are always doing what is best for our patients.

I am grateful for the chance that I have to be a part of this crazy process and the opportunity it will give me to help my community and improve people’s lives. I look forward with eagerness to the last portion of the didactic year and clinicals, and all of the self-evaluation that will surely follow.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

— Winston Churchill