I just serendipitously discovered this thread at what I consider to be my lowest point in PA school. Based off of all your posts, you *REALLY* remind me of my younger self. I used to be super hard on myself like you, with lofty ideals and high expectations of how people should be. It took me a long time to realize that I was wrong and that my approach to life was all wrong. However, I made the unfortunate mistake of changing careers and pursuing PA as a second career before I made this realization. I though my job in fashion sucked -- I disliked my coworkers, did not connect with the visions of the companies I worked with, and thought I was destroying the planet by producing more junk. So I quit. I graduated loan free just to take out loans for school. I left an easy (but not very well paying job) to work with patients... only to realize that nothing was different. In fact, it was worse. You had all these providers running around thinking that they are super smart and acting like they really care, but it's the complete opposite. You think you're helping sick people heal, but you're just enabling their bad habits. This realizing was crushing to me. But I found someone along the way who helped me realize that this is the reality of the world in general. The same underlying bs exists whether you're in medicine, fashion, or some field of physics. This is because the underlying factor in every profession is people -- and people are just awful. I stuck with it, got into PA school, and I plan on finishing and becoming a PA. Why? Because even though I hate working with patients and other providers, I don't hate it as much as some of the other things I have done in my life. I saw a prior post where someone stated that half his class doesn't even practice as PAs anymore. I think the biggest issue with this is that so many people commit to medicine at such a young age and they DO NOT know what they're getting themselves into. How old were you when you graduated? I'm the oldest in my class at age 30, while most of my classmates just turned 22. It's obvious that most of them will not be able to handle the challenges that they will encounter in the future just simply due to their immaturity and lack of real life experiences, and that most of them will not be PAs in 10 years simply because its not what they want to do. This is terrible since there is a shortage of providers, and so much time and money is being spent on training people who ultimately don't want to do the work because they were not right for it. To circle back to my point, even though I don't love the patient care aspect, I want to be a PA because I want to become a more useful member of society than someone who just produces disposable fashion products.
I skimmed most of these replies, and I don't think anyone else has given you this exact piece of info yet: Focus on paying off your loans ASAP. I know you said you have 6 years left, but if you can find some way to do it faster, DO IT. I think your outlook on your life will change significantly when you're able to start putting money away. You can start saving for early retirement (especially if you hate being a PA so much), or have more disposable income to invest in yourself. That leads me to my next point -- find something outside of being a PA to help establish your identity. Finding something that you like to do outside of work and learn to see your job as a means to an end. You are lucky in that your license enables you to work a very stable, in demand job. No matter what happens in the economy, someone will pay you to work, even if you suck at it. In fact, people don't even care if you do actually suck (again, something I've learned through life). They just need you to work. I'm not sure if you'll find anything that I've written helpful. I'm also not going to deny that I feel as if I'm trying to talk to my younger self. But with that being said, I do feel like I've been in your shoes and understand a bit of what you're going through. I already see that you've adjusted your perceptions and that it has helped you a bit. Continue to adjust the way you see your job, and continue to grow as a person outside of being a PA. That in itself can help you become a better PA.