Hey Elon PA family! I’ve had this blog post written for a while but thought I had already published it. Apparently, I only did so in my head. That plus a few technical difficulties I had with wordpress and chrome has resulted in a very late congratulations to Elon’s PA Class of 2017!
On February 26, 2017 the 38 students who walked into the Francis Center as strangers in January 2015 walked into the Whitley Auditorium as friends and colleagues. I had the opportunity to attend the ceremony, and watched the events from the balcony seating surround by the graduates’ families and friends. It was an amazing and awe-inspiring occasion. The live organist and trumpet truly added to the beauty of the event. I’m not going to lie, I shed a few tears. In all honesty I cry at save-a-puppy commercials and at happy endings. It was hard not to cry at this momentous affair which was both a happy ending and a happy beginning! I thought of all that they had gone through to get to that point, all that they had accomplished in the last 27 months, and all the opportunities that they had before them. It made me tear up in happiness on their behalf. I also shed a few tears for myself, a little overwhelmed, as I realized that in just one year it would be me down there, surrounded by my friends and family.
During the ceremony, we had the opportunity to hear from Reginald Carter, the co-founder and historian emeritus of the Society for the Preservation of Physician Assistant History and Duke University professor emeritus. It was so neat to hear from a man who has been in the PA profession for so long. Who saw where the PA profession began, can see where it is today, and who has a clear vision of where he hopes it will be in the future. He implored the new grads to do their part in remembering the roots of the physician assistant profession, and pushing the profession forward in healthcare and in society. He emphasized the need to remember the patient first and treat them rather than the disease. He had many other words of wisdom that have given me much to ponder on ever since.
We also had the pleasure to hear from Elon University President Leo M. Lambert. He offered some advice to the students as they step out of the world of academia and into the world of patient care. He also presented each student with their diploma.
Dr. Ragan, our program director, and Professor Murfin read the names of each student and presented them with their graduate hood. The rest of the faculty were also on stage, decked out in their caps, hoods, and gowns. I know this meant a lot to the new grads as these men and women played a large part in their education. It was fantastic to see all of the faces who make this program possible and who put such effort into teaching and supporting us.
After the ceremony, the courtyard filled with family and friends congratulating the new graduates. It was fun to chat with the friends and mentors I had made this last year as they glowed with a such sense of accomplishment. It was neat to see their joy with being finished with that part of their life and excitement at starting the next. Everyone was talking about the next step, when they were taking the PANCE, where they had interviewed, what jobs they were thinking about. Some even sharing jobs they had already been offered and accepted! Needless to say, it was an exciting and cheerful atmosphere.
I’m so glad I had the opportunity to witness these students’ achievement, and would encourage any PA student who has the chance to do so as well. It was an affirmation to me that I could do it. It was reassuring to see them and know that they successfully made it through this rigorous program.
Update: It has been a month since I wrote this blog to when I’m finally publishing it. In the interim I have seen facebook posts every other day with information about the new grads. Happiness as they passed the PANCE, excitement when they received their certification, anticipation at an upcoming job interview, joy when they are offered and accepted a position. It seems like every day brings something new to celebrate. It’s awesome to see these new graduates flourishing!