As I write this, I am sitting in the Las Vegas airport watching the sunrise over the mountains in the distance, a soft pink brightening into orange and gold. It was definitely worth losing sleep to get up this early. What an adventure it’s been! So much has happened in the last few days and yet it seems like no time at all since we arrived.

The entire month has flown by in a similar fashion. Granted, final exams seemed to pass by a little more slowly than the weeks preceding it, but overall May has been a blur—and April too, for that matter. I would be remiss if I let May pass entirely without mentioning the NCAPA conference that happened earlier this month. We had a small but strong presence there, including members of our challenge bowl team. However, instead of competing as a team, we were split up and grouped with students from other schools, among them Chapel Hill, Duke, Lenoir Rhyne, and Campbell. It was nice to compete in a fun and relaxed setting—with free pizza—and we left feeling ready for the national competition! 7826.jpeg

When finals were over, we all headed out to our respective destinations to enjoy a week-long break. Some went home, others traveled, and several students (including myself) hopped on a plane to attend the AAPA Conference in Las Vegas!

We got to Vegas Sunday evening  and checked into the Mandalay Bay hotel, a place that feels more like a small city than a resort. We could visit an aquarium, see a Cirque de Soleil show, dine at a number of restaurants, and attend the AAPA conference, and all without setting foot outside the hotel.

In the mornings and early afternoons, we attended various lectures at the conference, with topics ranging from Community Acquired Pneumonia to Pediatric ENT Pearls. Elon was well represented in lectures and presentations by Professor Lynch, Professor Thurnes, Professor Moore, and Dr. Murfin. There were at least six or seven lectures going on at one time all day long, so there were plenty to choose from! One of the most interesting for me was a lecture about surviving clinical rotations. The speaker gave some good advice about doing our homework and learning as much as we can from our preceptors, and it was an insightful preview of what we will be experiencing in just a few months!

When we were done for the day, we headed out to enjoy the wave pool and explore the Vegas strip. I was amazed that the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, and the Campanile of San Marco, Venice somehow managed to fit on a single short stretch of highway—all in miniature of course, but miniature still means 500 feet tall!

The Challenge Bowl was the highlight of the week; on Wednesday night, the auditorium that had been the setting for a lecture on the metabolic panel just a few hours earlier was filled with hundreds of cheering PA students, with plenty of music, flashing lights, a fog machine, and challenging medical questions! 82 schools from around the country came to compete in teams of three for the coveted prize. The top 32 teams went up on stage to test their knowledge, and even though Elon didn’t make up on stage, our team represented us well and we all had a great time!

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A big congratulations to Jacquelyn for getting a resolution passed during the Assembly of Representatives Meeting at AAPA!

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It’ll be hard to leave Vegas behind, but at least I know I’ll be seeing all my classmates again Monday morning for our next module!

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“Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it well and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day…is too dear with its hopes & invitations to waste a moment on the rotten yesterdays” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

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