Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Being a student again

Hello again!

I thought I'd give an update on my classes. I was in college, undergraduate and graduate, from 2007-2013. I have taken online courses since then, but haven't been a full time student in quite a while. And I have never been a full-time student and not been working at the same time, even during undergraduate I had a part time job as a pharmacy technician in which I worked during the weekends.

As a pa student this past month I have been in classes on average about 5 hours a day. (This is an average... minimally I always have about 3 hours of classes, maximum 7, including gross anatomy). I can honestly say that although I love it, I am exhausted by the time I get home. I am lucky to have a support system in place through my fiancee, but sometimes I want to come home in sleep.

I am in awe of the parent's in my class. I know that when they get home they take off their student hats and slip on their parent hat. I cannot imagine the amount of energy that goes into balancing all of the pieces of their puzzles. (I have two lab mixes, they are not children and literally are asleep most of the day when I am home).

Being a student has been an adjustment, but a welcome one. I feel as though I have been craving intellection stimulation. I am so excited that everyday I have the opportunity to learn and grow. I know that not everyone's academic experience is like this, but I am so lucky! I have a great group to study with at UNC, 20 classmates, who are all excited to start this new chapter in their life. I am hoping that we'll all become and remain friends throughout the next two years and beyond.

I am posting a picture of my schedule next week :) It is starting to get a little more packed!

Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

UNC Physician assistant program

One month in! I haven't posted in several years, mainly because although my life has been full of many exciting things I haven't felt the need to journal or share the journey that I was on. To catch you up to my life to date after studying abroad. I graduated from Bellarmine University in 2011 and then went on to get my master's degree at the University of Louisville and finished in 2013. After that I spend the next few years deciding to become a physician assistant, working on my pre-req's, and applying for two years in a row while living in North Carolina.

My first round year applying to PA school did not go very far. I think part of the reason was my heart was not in it. I had so many personal issues in addition to moving to North Carolina to be with my fiancee as he started his medical residency, that my application may not have reflected the best candidate I could be.

During the year off I worked on myself, both personally and academically. I volunteered at a free medical clinic, I took an anatomy class and I started working again as a pharmacy technician as a specialized oncology pharmacy.

I got two interviews out of the 10 or so schools I was initially applying too. I am not sure if I would have gotten more if the schools that I applied to weren't some the best in the nation. Although I hoped I was a great candidate, my GPA was not the highest and I had just reached the correct number of direct patient care hours.

My first interview, in September 2015, I BOMBED! I believe that it was a combination of over confidence and excitement (hey! if you can't be real then why write). I thought that I did okay, but I will admit at one point I cried. I am not going into details, but I was very excited and when I get excited I get emotional.

My second interview was for a new program... UNC! I had made my interest know earlier in the summer for the program and did not receive the positive feedback that I hoped for, but because my fiancee was matched at UNC I truly thought it would one of the best programs for me and for us as a team.

I got an invitation to interview. At the interview they told us that around 900 people had applied and they invited 60 to interview and would be taking 20 students.

Through my pharmacy work I had set up several mock interviews in the weeks before my UNC interview. Thankfully I was much more prepared!

Two weeks after my interview I found out....... I was waitlisted! They hoped to give the people on the waitlist more information in the following weeks so although I was very disappointed I held out a small shred of hope. I contacted UNC in order to figure out if there was an update on the waitlist (about 2 weeks after the initial email) and found out that everyone had accepted their seats and that I would be welcome to try again in April. I was crushed. After being on the waitlist I thought maybe, maybe I'd still have a chance.

The day before Thanksgiving I got the good news. One of the faculty reached out to me to tell me a spot had opened up in the class and I was the next person on the waitlist. I immediately accepted (probably while talking a mile a minute about how excited I was).

My program started January 4th. I have been in class for 1 month. It is the most exhausting work I have ever done. But I can honestly say that everyday I am excited to go to class. I love the fact that I feel constantly challenged and that I am slowly learning to "drink out of the firehose."

The first month of school I felt as though I had to prove to myself (and everyone else) that I deserved that spot that was given to me. (I don't know who turned down UNC but I thank you everyday for the opportunity you gave me!) I realize the act of proving myself is all a mental mess in my own head, but I think it makes me fiercer, more determined to prove that I can be an amazing asset to the team that UNC is building.

Right now, as I should be studying for Microbiology, I am writing this because my journey it amazing. And I want to share it even if it is only with myself because I feel amazing and am loving the life I have been given everyday. No matter the trials and tribulations that I have been through 2016 is a great year.

I am going to hope that I can continue to write about my PA school journey with my family and friends and anyone else who is considering following a similar path.
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