PA School: Let's Get Real

Saturday, July 16, 2016

When I started this blog back in February, I made myself a promise. I promised myself that I would share not only the great, eye-opening, exciting things I'll learn and experience in PA school, but also the hardships and struggles that come along with it. I promised myself I won't hide from sharing things that are otherwise hard to talk about or admit, because that wouldn't really be an honest description of what a PA student's life is like. After the week I've had, through a lot of prayer over this weekend, I feel compelled to share something with my classmates and with any other PA student (or pre-PAs) out there who is reading this.

These last two weeks have been the hardest weeks of school so far. We had three midterms to study for in one week, and then the next week we had 1 exam, 2 more quizzes, and a hefty assignment due at the same time. Since we had been focusing all our time on studying for our anatomy lecture and lab midterms, most of us were far behind in every other class. It has been a "on the go, all day, every day" kind of a lifestyle around here and this weekend we're studying for two more quizzes. Some how I pushed through and survived what we like to call "hell weeks'. However, once Thursday rolled around I was exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally. I started becoming all "doom & gloom", realizing how there was literally no stopping till August. Because I studied so hard and so much, when I finished my midterms I felt really good! I thought I had once again managed to get grades that were acceptable (by my own standards) and I that I was "keeping it together" regardless of how crazy things were getting. All this changed when I got my lab midterm grade back on Thursday night. Although I passed, the midterm that I thought I did well enough to get an A on turns out my grade was nowhere close to it. This was the last thing that pushed me over the edge and it was a downhill ride from there.

I felt like I was probably the stupidest person in my class to not do well on that midterm. I had put in the hours and the hard work so how come that didn't reflect the numbers on my phone screen? I started questioning if I really belong here and how I was going to make it through the next 13 and half months if I can't even do "as well as I should have" in what they say is supposed to be our easiest semester? The self-criticism soon turned into a prayer when a little voice in me reminded me that I was exactly where I'm meant to be.

So what I need to share with you all today is what I feel God has conveyed to me over these last 2 days. Whether you're in my class or not, whether you're making awesome grades or struggling just to keep up, or if you're a hopeful PA school applicant waiting to hear back, remember this: regardless of what we think of ourselves in times of distress, God loves us. No matter what religion you follow or what your faith is, there is a higher power out there looking out for you, rooting for you, and setting up the path that you need to walk on. Even though you might feel like you "slipped through the cracks" and aren't really meant to be here, remember that God knows what He's doing and what our future holds better then we do. As one of my study partners reminded us the other day, our worth is not to be determined by a score we get on a test. A low number isn't telling you that you're unworthy of being here or are too stupid compared to the rest of the class. Yes, it hurts to get a bad grade, but don't let that define your intelligence or your self-worth. Also, the comparison game is really unhealthy. Every person in your class is intelligent and has something to teach others, but so are you. That's how you've made it this far. Before you compare your weakness to someone else's strength and think you're not as smart as them, remember to give yourself some grace the same way God grants us grace all the time. Be kind to yourself and realize that you're not here by some stroke of luck or chance. You are here because that's exactly where He needs you to be. You are capable and smart enough to do this, regardless of what your test scores will sometimes show. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward. You're also not alone in this journey. Reach out to your classmates about how you feel and 9/10 times, the rest of them will be feeling the same way as you do.

All that said and done, I am constantly reminded that it's a privilege to learn about the human body and to be a part of this profession. Not everyone gets to do what we do, see what we see, and learn what we learn. Every single day I go home in awe of the human body and thank God for granting me the privilege to be able to hold a heart in my hands, to see the vital organs in the abdominal cavity, or to even know what muscles I'm using as I type this up. I am grateful for all of my classmates and if anyone from my class is reading thins, know that I pray for all of us every single day. And just remember, we're all in this together! 48 strong today, 48 strong tomorrow.

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