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It’s almost the end of May.  Our class finished the beast of Cardiology a week and a half ago and then dove right into Gastroenterology.  This is a 2-week course that we are powering through before getting to enjoy a week long break for the AAPA Conference that is in Boston this year.  We will have completed the first 5 months of PA school!  It is crazy to think of all that I have learned in the past 5 months.  I have learned to process and absorb material more efficiently, and really believe I have trained my mind to think differently and more critically.  In addition to everything that I didn’t know before beginning school in January, I think about the people who I had not even met 5 months ago that are now a big part of my life.

Last summer, a Facebook group was formed for my class to communicate with one another throughout the Fall as we prepared to move and begin school.  At first, everyone posted a few sentences to introduce him or herself.  I remember reading the posts of many of my classmates who I had yet to meet and being surprised as many people wrote about their spouses and children, where they lived before they’d be moving to Elon, and the years of work experience they had.  I joked that I would post, “My name is Keely.  I am single, have no children, have little work experience, and already live in the Carolinas.”  How boring!

On our first day of orientation, each of us was asked to share a random fun fact with the class.  I remember being amazed as I heard of famous people my classmates had met, past careers of athletic training, catering, and professional dancing, people’s families and even the coming birth of a first child for one of my classmates.  My 38 classmates form a diverse group.  It has been such a fun spring getting to know them.  As one of the youngest in the class, I have listened and learned from others’ experiences.  I feel that I have gotten a small taste of what life is like living in Colorado or Hawaii, or working as an EMT or in a dermatology office.  I have watched as my classmates have juggled being parents and spouses while handling the craziness of school.  I have competed alongside several of my classmates in intramural basketball.  I have also learned about and enjoyed the benefits of my classmates’ hobbies of gardening and cake making.  As time has passed and next week’s break approaching, I realize that I will miss each of my classmates, because they have become my friends.  The day to day, week to week of PA school is intense, but through it all, I have never felt alone.  There are 37 other people going through the same thing as me.  Last fall, I was nervous about moving to a new place and not knowing anyone, but I have been incredibly blessed by the relationships I have developed with my classmates.  I am thankful for the daily support, encouragement, and laughter that my friends bring to my life as we strive together towards a common goal and as we are equipped to provide patients with excellent health care.

Keely Reichel PA-S1