Before I started physician assistant (PA) school, many current PAs warned me that it would be a long, hard road, but promised that it would lead to a rewarding career in the medical field. These PA mentors also promised me that I would survive.
It was not until I arrived at PA school and was working under the stress of the quickly approaching first quiz that I realized – not a single PA had told me how to survive. They had promised I would survive, but that had not told me how to survive. This left me feeling a little bit lost and confused. Especially early on, there were days when I felt like a floundering fish – out of the water and hoping to find the pond. So now, over halfway through the academic year, I will share with you the ways in which I am surviving PA school – my personal how to survive.
I am surviving PA school because I have learned to trust and lean on the people around me. I have learned that good friends, who have become a make-shift family, are a cure for almost anything. When I had a major break down and was not sure I could do this anymore – Jaclyn stood in the pouring rain on the side of the road and promised me that I could. When I panicked at the last minute and needed to practice a physical exam just one more time (at midnight the night before the exam!) – Corrie promised she would meet me at the Francis Center. When my brain is too full of information to relax – Lindsay makes me giggle until it hurts. When I need solid advice from a good friend who will be honest no matter what – Veronica is my first call. When I cannot make sense of a topic – Melissa (affectionately called Team Mom) will explain it using small words and even smaller sentences. When I need a mood pick-me-up – Sahar will undoubtedly send “sass” my way, playfully of course. When my car refused to start 30 minutes before an exam – Brittany was there at a moment’s notice to help me out.
Accepting a spot in the first PA class at Elon University, I had no idea who my classmates would be. I entered into a 27-month long program having no idea who I would make the journey with. I knew it would be a tough voyage, but one that would hopefully end with a rewarding career. I expected to make life-long colleagues. What I never anticipated was that these classmates, these people, would become my how to survive PA school. Yes, the journey is long and challenging – but I can’t imagine making it with any other group of people.
Caroline York PA-S