I had the pleasure of talking to a pre-pa student group at the University of Minnesota Duluth. On Thursday I picked up my girls from the bus stop and we had an impromptu road trip to the north shore. My mom joined us and we made an event out of it. We arrived at the hotel that had a ridiculous indoor water park and I left them to meet with the pre pa group. I had a couple of observations about these college students.
First of all, they must have been uber smart because there was not a single one that looked over the age of twelve. They had bright eyes, and wore their backpacks correctly with straps on both shoulders. The group consisted of mostly women, and they were eager! One of them was going to graduate from college and then head directly into a PA program. Others are only freshmen, already with a passion for medicine and the PA profession.
I talked a while about my journey to becoming a PA, my career, and briefly about my coaching business. The thing they wanted to hear about the most? Patient encounters. The stories from the ER captivated them and they wanted more. Storytelling is one of my favorite things to do, especially when I have a captive audience. These students reminded me of my own drive that got me into PA school and my love of patient care.
I also felt a little anxious on their behalf. What if they don’t get into school? What if the academics prove to be too hard? What if they are too young to know that this is the career choice that is best for them? I took two years off after college to explore some of those questions and I knew the PA profession was right for me. Sometimes I feel that PA programs are filling with younger and younger students that have the academic aptitude, but not the life experience that can be beneficial for a career in health care.
Here is a piece of advice from this old lady of 33 years. If you are sure that you want a career as a Physician Assistant, go for it! When you know, you know! But if there is hesitancy, a small voice that says, “I’m not sure”, that’s OK. It is wise to listen to that voice and slow down. There is time to think, to experience life, to travel, to take more classes, before you make a decision that will affect your life immensely. Going to grad school is big! It is a significant financial and time commitment. And the beautiful thing about PA school is that it will be there next year, and having some of those life experiences will look good on an application. More importantly, those life experiences will shape you into a more mature and wiser person.
I finished with the pre-PA group and headed to the hotel. The waterslides were wicked fun and I had a moment of being very thankful. Thankful for my family, and thankful that I have a career that allows me to bring my kids for a fun overnight. And I am thankful for the bright young minds that are going to be the future of the PA profession.