Allow Me To Reintroduce Myself ...

Hi everyone! To start off PA week, I have decided to answer some of the most frequently asked questions that I get from those who are interested in the PA profession and reintroduce myself. My name is Amber, and I am currently in my 4th quarter of PA school at South University. Read my responses below, and don’t forget to subscribe.

Why did you choose the PA profession versus becoming a doctor?
In all honesty, I thought I was going to be in the WNBA (I’m 5’5, so the likelihood of that happening was slim), and my backup plan was to be a fashion designer because I love to shop. While in high school, I took a fashion marketing class, and I HATED it. So, scratch that idea, and I was back at the drawing board. I loved sports, so I thought sports marketing was a better fit. However, after taking a sports marketing class in high school, I soon realized I do not like cooperate America, whatsoever, and I would rather work directly with the athletes, so I thought physical therapy was a more ideal fit. During my junior year in high school, I tore my ACL while playing basketball, and I could see the duties of a physical therapist. Let’s just say, I was not impressed, and I did not think it was a fit for me. My mind is very fickle and I get bored very easily, and I was not a fan of the mundane environment of a physical therapist. However, I LOVED the duties and roles of my orthopaedic surgeon, so I just KNEW that that was what I wanted to do (ha, I was highly mistaken!) During undergrad, I had my mind set on the pre-med track, but once I started working in the hospital my senior year of high school, I quickly realized that the life as a physician was something I did not desire. In the future, I want to get married and have kids, and me becoming a physician would make that very difficult, but I am SUPER stubborn and did not want to let the people in my life down (my whole family literally told everyone that I was going to become a doctor), so I stuck with that path. The MCAT was my kryptonite, and it took me three tries to get the score that I needed to become competitive, but once I sat down to fill out the application, I started having panic attacks, and I just knew something was not right. I prayed over the situation, and asked God if this was right for me, and I soon knew that I was going to make a mistake. While working in the hospital, I was able to know more about the Physician Assistant profession, and I was so impressed! Prior to that, I did NOT know anything about the PA profession, but by that time, I was getting ready to graduate, and did not want to switch up my plans because I was so anxious to graduate. I talked to several doctors and PA’s who gave me incredible feedback, and I soon learned that becoming a PA was more conducive on how I wanted to live my life, and I can say that I made the RIGHT decision! I am so happy that I followed my gut and God’s will, and I would not change a thing.

What specialty do you plan on going into?
EMERGENCY MEDICINE! For those who know me, they know I THRIVE in organized chaos, and I get bored very easy, which is the reason why I love the ER! I worked there for 4 years prior to going to PA school, and in the beginning, I did not think I would like it but this ended up being the best experience EVER!! I am also interested in Critical Care/ICU and Cardiology.

What has been the hardest thing you have dealt with in PA school so far?
My hardest thing has been finding a balance between personal time and school. Most of the people in PA school have Type A personalities and are perfectionists, so it is hard separating myself from studying for any amount of type and making time for myself, but you have to! Take care of yourself because you will be more successful if you do! There’s no point in feeling and being raggedy and not performing at your best.

How did you prior experience help you in PA school?
I was a scribe prior to PA school. The hospital I worked at had a very complicated patient population, and in turn, I learned a lot. The doctors were willing to teach because they knew I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare. We had to know the bare minimum of the most common diseases because we were the ones responsible for the charts, which resulted in gaining a lot of knowledge of a lot of the disease. This really paid off in my Clinical Medical and Pharmacology class as I am somewhat familiar with a lot of diseases because I have personal experience and can apply this when I am studying. I also was in an on-site leadership position while I was a scribe, which I think helped tremendously because it gave me something to talk about in my interview, and this shows the faculty that I can lead while working in a team environment, which is the motto as a PA.

What advice would you give pre-PA students?

Focus on your undergrad classes and take them seriously! I partied a lot while I was in college, SO my grades of course suffered. Thankfully, I got it together when it was necessary, and my GPA did not suffer too much, and I was able to maintain a good science GPA, but when I was applying to PA schools, I was limited to certain schools because of my GPA. If you are not ready to take a class, then don’t take it. Another pearl is to find a mentor! I wish I had someone that could give my guide throughout this process. It was rough trying to figure out everything, and I think if I had a mentor this process might have been a little easier. Lastly, trust the process and don’t rush it. If it’s in God’s will, it’s going to happen regardless, so enjoy the ride!

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