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Rewind. It’s Feburary 2013. I’ve completed one month of PA school. I’m sleep deprived. I’m wondering if I will ever catch up on all this reading. I’m studying through dinner and forgetting to eat. My friends from home are wondering if I’m still alive. I’m wondering if this is what a quarter-life crisis feels like.  Will I get wrinkles before this is over?  Word begins to disseminate around the classroom about creating a student society.  Elections will be held soon.  My name is on the ballot for class secretary. The class unanimously votes me to be their official scribe. (Yes! Can you believe it? Everybody picked ME to be the class secretary! It’s just a minor detail that I ran unopposed in this particular election and there was no one else on the ballot for my position. But hey, who cares about the details?)

It’s March 2013 and I’m getting in a groove with school. Studying has become a fact of life. I know how much time to put in to get the grades I want.  I’m also excited to hear that our class will be selecting an official philanthropy. I have always loved participating in service work. Our faculty mentor suggests that the philanthropy we select should be local and have special meaning to each of us. Research and planning ensues.

June 2013. The class is presented with a variety of potential philanthropic organizations around the community.  A vote is held and the Open Door Clinic of Alamance County is selected as the official philanthropy of the Elon Physician Assistant Student Society.  The mission of the Open Door Clinic is “To offer free health care services with dignity, professionalism and concern for the uninsured and indigent residents of Alamance County.”  Many of us chose to pursue the Physician Assistant profession because of the great opportunity to serve others on a daily basis. Our class supports Open Door by physically volunteering in the clinic and by collecting monetary donations.  Fortunately, I was able to take a break from my studies and volunteer at the clinic a few months ago.  I signed in patients for appointments, took vitals, confirmed medical histories and triaged.  Although I have had just shy of one year training as a PA student, I began to see how the topics we discuss in the classroom everyday fit in to real life clinical situations.  The joy I feel from helping others is the greatest gift I could ever receive. Taking time to volunteer reignites my drive to do well in this program. It confirms that my future career as a physician assistant will be a fulfilling and rewarding path. It reminds me that although this road seems hard, there is no place that I would rather be.

Fast Forward to October 2013. Its national PA week and it is off to an exciting start at Elon University! I’ve finally woken up from the bad dream that was January-April of PA school. I began the week by competing in my first triathlon with my classmate, Allie.  Monday night our class was given the opportunity to serve a meal at the Allied Churches Shelter of Alamance County.  Tuesday morning we attended Elon’s “College Coffee” on main campus and Tuesday night the PA girls brought home a W on the flag football field, making us the women’s intramural flag football champions of 2013. This month is packed with exciting events including a big fundraiser for Open Door. We will be “Trick-Or-Treating” for donations around Alamance County. Stay tuned for an update of how much money we raised and pictures of our homemade costumes!

Jennifer Little PA-S