I’m a quotes person.  I find lots of comfort, guidance, and hope in them.  About a year ago, I realized I should start writing down my favorites, and that has been a blessing for me to turn to during this adventure of PA school.  So readers beware, I have a book of quotes in hand, and I will be using them!

First up to bat, a favorite quote from my track coach: “Cherish the opportunity to compete”.  Coach Shoe used to have us gather around before each meet, have us close our eyes, and he would say that phrase.  At first glance it doesn’t seem that special, perhaps.  But I have found that its meaning spreads far beyond the realm of track spikes and batons.  For in track, while you face other runners, the true competition is yourself—are you going to be a better you than you were yesterday?  It’s constant striving for self-improvement.  So when I hear that phrase, I think of it instead as “cherish the opportunity to improve yourself”.  In PA school, this has helped me remember to be mindful of how privileged I am to have the opportunity to learn, to apply new skills, and to have a fulfilling career ahead of me.  I am surrounded by exceptional people—fellow students, professors, staff members, and guest lecturers—who each have taught me wonderful things and opened my eyes to new perspectives.  It’s absolutely an honor to be a part of Elon’s PA program.  Despite that, I’ll admit there are times when I’ll wish I was elsewhere.  Sometimes I’m missing home and my family and friends who are far away now.  Sometimes it’s simply the rigor of the program that causes me to lose perspective.  But what grounds me each time I begin to falter is the fact that being here and engaging in these challenges is making me a stronger, more resilient person with a greater understanding of the world around me.  Elon has granted me the amazing opportunity of personal growth.  So I take a deep breath, smile, and put myself to work, knowing that I’m building a better me in the process.

“Be happy for this moment.  This moment is your life.” -Omar Khayyam
I make to-do lists.  I used to hate them because my mom would write them for me and I usually didn’t like the things she put on them.  But now I rather enjoy them.  Being a Type A personality, there is a certain degree of satisfaction that comes with organization and planning.  Not to mention the delight I get when (miraculously) I get to put a neat little checkmark next to an item.  By now you’re probably thinking I forgot about the seemingly mismatched quote, right?  Nope!  My word of advice on this is to not get so caught up in ticking off items on your to-do lists or counting down the days that you forget to enjoy the moment.  PA school is a part of life.  I know I have joked many times about what awaits us in ‘the real world’, but the real world is happening right now.  Some of the best moments of the day are talking with friends between classes, stepping outside by the fountain to ‘lemur in the sun’ during lunch, and group study sessions.  There are moments of amazement unraveling mysteries about your donor in anatomy lab, intense satisfaction the first time you see the optic disk during fundoscopy, and fair bits of humor worked into lectures (potato, anyone?).  What I’m learning now makes me eager and excited for clinicals and practice, but I try to remember to enjoy this moment.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou

The class of 2018 (and really the program as a whole) is such a wonderful group of people.  I feel so lucky to be a part of it.  We support and care for each other just like a family.  I’ve been on many athletic teams over the years and loved the sense of unitedness and investment in each other’s success and well-being.  Coming to Elon, I feel like I’m a part of a team again.  I cannot specifically recall all of the instances of kindness and support from my classmates, but I can say for certain that it has made me feel welcomed, valued, cared for, and a part of something bigger than ourselves.  I get ‘all the feels’ thinking about the bright future ahead and the compassionate PA’s we each will be.

Thanks for a great 1st year!

-Alexis

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