Hello everyone! My name is Hillary McDonald, and I am the historian for the class of 2019. I will be chronicling our class’ journey through the didactic year of our PA training, and I want to start by attempting to cover at least a little of our first month and a half of school.

To quote Inigo Montoya, “let me explain…no, there is too much, let me sum up…”


On my way out the door to Clin Med this morning, loaded up with about fifty pounds’ worth of equipment, clothes, and books, it was hard to believe that only six weeks have passed since the beginning of class. It feels like eons since each of us sat in orientation as freshly minted PA students, and yet every time I sit down to an exam I feel like saying “But I don’t know anything yet! We just got started!”

I think the argument could be made that both sentiments are true; not much time has passed since we started at Elon, but we have done so many amazing things already. Our first dose of PA school came in the form of a four week “Jan term,” where we got introductory courses in everything from identifying infectious diseases (“Name that Nausea”) to performing physical exams and how to be the best healthcare professionals we can be. Perhaps the most surreal (and terrifying) experience of that module was my first physical assessment. It felt so strange, after only a few weeks in school, to put on a white coat and walk into an exam room to assess a standardized patient’s blood pressure, especially knowing that this procedure will be a routine part of my day for the rest of my career as a PA.

By far the most fun we had in January was body painting day. The weather was amazing and we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to head outside with our paintbrushes and human canvasses. After spending weeks poring over study guides and flashcards, not to mention being snowed in a couple of times, it was a nice change of pace to be outside learning in a different way, and our classmates produced some impressive artwork. If I learned one thing from that day, it’s that dermatomes are much harder to paint than you might think!

I would be remiss if I didn’t include a shoutout to everyone who has participated in intramurals so far in 3v3 soccer and basketball. Soccer was a short season, but it was a lot of fun, and basketball is off to a great start!

Those are just a few of the highlights from the last six weeks, and there are many more to come in future posts!