Hi! No problem, I wish I had known about this site before I started! I'll divide up the questions and answer them that way!
Why did you choose Drexel?
I chose Drexel because it has a great national reputation, but especially along the east coast. I had a great interview day and felt that I would be able to effectively learn while still being able to enjoy Philadelphia which is one of my favorite cities. It also helped that there are about a million hospitals in Philadelphia and the immediate surrounding areas, and many of these hospitals are known nationally. I figured that whatever I wanted to go into, most likely I would be able to find a job at a great hospital, and even more so because Drexel is so well known for producing great PAs.
What is school like?
I won't life, school is VERY busy. We go through a ton of information in a very short period of time. At orientation, they describe it as drinking water out of a fire hydrant, and they are not lying. It is stressful, and overwhelming at times....but I continue to surprise myself at the amount of information I can retain. We get a lot of time in the hospital, and I think I will be very prepared before clinicals (or as much as you can be after 1 year of classes). The key to success in this program is being proactive, attempting to be productive every day and remembering to have fun.
SO MUCH FUN! We raised over 20,000 total for our charity last year, and Drexel won last year for the 2nd year in a row. We met a ton of wonderful people from other PA schools in the area, and had a great time at the event. We have plenty of opportunities to do volunteer work, there is a point person on the board who schedules much of it, but people volunteer according to their availability and schedule.
We have the board for the class which people are nominated for by classmates and the class later votes on. There are also other state/national representatives for PA organizations the AAPA. However, even if you don't decide to take this route, if you find something that sparks your interest and other people are interested, run with it. Your free time can be dedicated to anything you choose, and you don't need to be in a Drexel affiliated position to be a leader in the community, plenty of people do charity/volunteer work outside of our program.
I am biased because I grew up outside of the city, but I have lived in a bunch of cities through the years and can safely say it is up there in terms of my favorite. It is a great size-- big enough that there is always something fun going on, and small enough that I don't feel overwhelmed getting places and it doesn't take forever. It is super walkable- I walk everywhere... literally. From one end to the other takes about an hour (South street bridge to Penns landing). There are some amazing restaurants, good shopping, great bars and dance clubs, intramural sports leagues, and a lot of people who are young professionals living here.I think the Center City area is safe (or as safe as a city can possibly be) and I feel comfortable walking home at night by myself, although there are definitely parts outside of the central portion that I would be more careful in. I can't really think of the worst part because I really like it here, but again I'm biased.