In contribution to this blog, I’ll provide the perspective of working while in PA school. Basically, don’t do it unless you have to. Seriously. However, it is possible if that is something you have to do. Prior to PA school, I had a part-time job on top of my full-time job. Obviously the full-time position had to go, but I decided to maintain employment with the part-time, weekend job when school started. I’m not going to say that it wasn’t difficult. There is a reason why certain programs prohibit or strongly discourage the students from working. It took a lot of time management, planning ahead, and quite a few sleepless nights trying to catch up on studying and assignments. I had to accept that I was probably never going to get a 100% on that next exam, but I think that mind frame may have actually helped tame the high strung, perfectionist type A personality brewing inside of me. I needed that job but if had just served a financial concern, I may have been tempted to give it up very early on. It was always more than just a job though. The people that I worked with, I had known for years and they were my friends, my support system. Keeping that job forced me to step away from the books, out of my cave of an apartment, and into the social atmosphere. It was my escape. My coworkers, my bosses, and my customers let me know they stood behind me. They encouraged me, motivated me, and prevented school from becoming all-consuming and losing myself in it. They forced me to take a step back, breathe, laugh, and just enjoy the moments of life even when I had a checklist of things to do in the back of my mind. I was lucky to be accepted into a program that allowed to me to stay in close vicinity with the people I cared for and who were always ready with words of encouragement when they saw I needed it. So yes, a job is possible during PA school. If you choose that route, my only advice is to make it one that provides you with more than just a financial benefit. The PA program is a rough road so don’t add to the stress of it if you don’t have to.

-Amanda

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