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Links to Personal PA Journeys

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Deciding what to do with your life isn’t easy. The goal of this thread is to provide prospective PAs with links to the stories of others who once stood where you do today.


To make this thread manageable, please do not post whole stories here. Just post a short description and links to any books, blogs, or other websites with personal stories that you feel might help others.


You can’t always pay back, but you can always pay forward.

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I read this somewhere and I think it's applicable to this thread ... "I can't always cure, but I can always care." This quote helps when I feel insecure and think I can't do this; PA school. This quote also helped me when I was in grad school.


UGL: I have some other "lessons" that I feel are uplifting and since you made this thread I'll leave it up to you if you would like me to post them or not (no hard feelings if you decide otherwise). 

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My journey in a nutshell:

dad was a doc, so was grandfather, uncles, etc.

EMT in high school

ER tech through college 26 hrs/week + full time summers at 60 hrs/week

paramedic right out of college ( med. anthro degree)

became pa after 5 years as a medic (attended hahnemann, now drexel for BS#2).

urgent care job x 2 years in ca right out of school. got MPAS through nebraska while there with em specialty

transferred with same company to free standing e.d. in pacific nw. there 6 years

worked several per diem community hospital e.d. jobs while at free standing e.d.

went to work at regional trauma ctr., been there for 13 years with the last 2 100% at satellite facility working solo nights

started rural per diem e.d jobs in 2007. best jobs ever. hope to be full time at one of them someday.

finishing up year 3 of 4 yr DHSc with global health focus. have been to Haiti for a total of 8 weeks since 2009 including the week after the earthquake and as team leader for one trip. Will likely become site coordinator for new site next yr when done with my doctorate.

still trying to figure out what to do when I grow up.

update 1/17. finished DHSc in 2015. now teach global health occasionally. went to Nepal with disaster team in 2015, likely going to Iraq later this year. full time rural now, mostly solo coverage(!!!). Still go to Haiti twice a year, always as team leader.

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Mr. Greg Davenport who's also a member on here is a published author about surviving the wilderness and is an motivational speaker. I hope he does not get upset with me when I give his site a plug, Greg Davenport (I'll leave it to him write something more if he sees this thread or maybe his buddy, "E" can tell him and he can share more if he is so inclined.) hjQ1rjD.gif

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Re: WhoAreYou


Feel free to post what you'd like to. It's your thread too!


Ideally it won't be too much of a conversation thread but rather some few short posts (like EMEDPA wrote above about his life) and links to other places so readers can skim through and find links to longer stories and observations.

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Thanks for doing this UGL ... Some of these things I have encountered first hand and others I can only imagine as I am in the process of becoming a PA-S, so take some of these things with a grain of salt. (I think they are applicable to anyone who is ready to embark on something new and exciting and yes, I 'll be the first to say I am scared as hell.) These can be applied to any major events in ones life.  Some of these I have read before somewhere so PLEASE don't sue me smiley-laughing025.gif

1. You are NOT what happened to you in the past. (I can only imagine applying to PA school will change my life and I will never be the same.) 

2. Focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t.

3. Struggling with problems is a natural part of growing. (Really? Life doesn’t get easier as you get older and wiser? Who lied me? Someone owes me an explanation.

4. It’s okay to fall apart for a little while. (I guess this can apply to Board exams or to the GRE or anything stressful as those.)

5. Life is fragile, sudden, and shorter than it often seems. 

6. You will fail sometimes. (NNNNNNNNNNNNNooooooooo!!!!!)

7. You have the capacity to create your own happiness. (YYYYYYYYYeeeeeeeSSSSSSS!!!)

8. Emotionally separate yourself from your problems.  (Sometimes this is a hard one.)

9. Don’t make a problem bigger than it is.  (No gunners in my life. I have always said, if I want drama, I’ll read a book or watch a movie, I don’t need it in my real life. LOL)

10.   Everything that happens is a life lesson. (This is hard to swallow because I am putting a lot of energy into this new chapter and IF I don’t get into PA school the first time around, guess what? I’ll apply the following year and the year after that  etc etc.)

11.   View every challenge as an educational assignment (Sorry I couldn't escape this one.) 

12.   Things change, but the sun always rises the next day.

13.   Giving up and moving on are two very different things.

14.   Distance yourself from negative people (especially gunners in school).

15.   Perfect relationships don’t exist.

16.   You must love yourself first and foremost before anyone else. jq9nKHZ.gif

17.   Don’t let others make decisions for you; YOU can make them for yourself.

18.   Resentment hurts you, not them.

19.   You’re not alone.  Everyone has problems.

20.   You still have a lot to be thankful for. (Yes, I do, getting a chance to make a new chapter in my book called P A L I F E! or should I call it HER-STORY instead of HISTORY.)

21.   Consciously nurture your inner hope. (I WILL HOPE to get into PA school the first time around.) 

22.   It’s better to be hurt by the truth, than comforted by a lie.

23.   It’s hard to tell exactly how close you are to success. (I wish this one was easier to know when it comes around.)

24.    Not getting what you want can be a blessing.

25.    Laughter is the best medicine for stress. (Sorry, I couldn't resist on this one either.)

26.    Mistakes are important to make. (I need to remember this one, as I am my own worst critic.)

27.   Worrying is literally a waste of energy.

28.    Even when it’s hard to move, just take 1 baby step forward.

29.   There will always be people who dislike you, no matter what you do or try to do.

30.   You are better off without some people you thought you needed.

31.   You are ONLY competing against yourself.  (unless you are in PA school LOL)

32.   You can’t control everything that happens to you. (This is a hard one.)

33.   Life is NOT easy– (especially getting prepared to go to PA school or while you are in PA school and especially when you are OUT of PA school)

34.   Your future is spotless (YAH!!! t2041.gif).

35.  You are not trapped; you just need to re-learn a few things. (No, don’t tell me this as I am tired of learning smiley-laughing021.gif.)

36.   Everything in life is two-sided.

37.   You always have a choice.

38.   Let others in when you’re in a dark place.

39.  If you ask negative questions, you will get negative answers. 

40.  The end is a new beginning. 



If anyone wants to add to this list, by all means go for it ... 

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 months later...

Dear Members,


Loved your stories, very inspiring and full of wisdom and courage.


Here is my small story ( rather journey to become an PA).


Being from very a very conservative South Indian family, which was very traditional ,orthodox as well as very ambitious, my father had already decided for me that I will be an engineer, There were only two professions that were of value when I was in my teens, either a Doctor or an Engineer ( no surprise that you see most of the Indians either Doctors or Engineers). I was quite rebellious and being very poor in math, opted to sit for medical exam after the high school.Did not make it for the first time but succeeded the second time. In my third year of med school, I had an arranged marriage with a complete stranger , who was an engineer in US, that's how I landed in this country.


Soon the relationship with this stranger got very controlling and abusive, and I was brave enough to get out of this , Worked at a Michael ( art and craft store) , this was my first job in US and absolutely loved it. As a single parent, I had to support my self so got certified with scholarship as an Medical assistant, worked in a dermatology clinic. I aslo volunteered in University of California, San Diego in the pulmonary function lab and came across lot of PA's and my passion and respect for this profession grew.


Got again certified as a EKG tech and currently working in a hospital. I continue to work on my passion and recently applied to PA schools this cycle. Dream of succeeding in my passion as I feel I am ready and have lot to offer.


My advice is


1) Follow your intuition , It will never lie to you.

2) Never let any one tell you that you can't chase after your dream because you are too old ( I am 42) or too young.

3)Every life experience teaches you some thing, learn from it and move on. Don't get stuck there.

4) Don't have excuses if you want it go after it 100% and the universe will guide you or show you the way or make a way.5)Be in the present. I always enjoy what I am doing now irrespective of the results. That helps be to stay positive




Hope to get into PA program this cycle. Good luck to all of you.

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My story in a nutshell: Well, as much as that is possible.

Became interested in medicine as a child.  Was poor and full of self doubt. From the sticks of Mississippi- Wanted to practice medicine and kept saying.. one day, one day.  Decided I could do something in medicine after all and got a BS in Cytotechnology. Worked two part time jobs to do this and raise two children.

Seven boring years later- changed careers to forensics- only needed a few more chemistries- had child number 3 in there somewhere

13 years later I earned a Masters in Forensic Science

WAS still not fulfilled... Medicine still calling me.- daughter wants to be a physician but has the same self doubts-- felt I could not allow this to happen to her, I love her too much!  Time to take action!

Became an EMT- volunteer and then work on weekends with a rural service- just like home!

Teach forensics one night a week at a local college--- basically I work three jobs right now and take classes!- Have always enjoyed doing multiple things at once!

Was introduced to a PA- best thing that ever happened to me-

Found my dream job, the one that has been so elusive for so long! 

Went after it with a vengeance!  I am taking a refresher course in A&P 2, (medical terminology and Spanish for medicine was last semester)

Shadow PA's for the past 6 months or so in Urgent care primarily, endocrinology, family medicine and orthopedic surgery.  I shadow everywhere I can fit it in!

Have interview Saturday!  Wish me luck!--- Its a MMI style interview... any suggestions on how to prepare for that would be great too.  I have been preparing for months but I am still scared I have not done enough to be ready.



Accepted! Class of 2017!!!

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  • 2 months later...

I am actually starting a blog on exactly this topic.  My webiste is PAjourney.com and my goal is to share my experiences at Penn State with prospective PA students.  My program starts in May 2015.  In the meantime I am posting tips on how to apply and get into PA school.  I plan to update the site every two weeks.  A fellow blogger helped me a lot when I was first thinking about becoming a PA.  I would like to do the same for future students.





Check it out!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Like a few have already posted, I also am documenting my time, thoughts, and experience through this process, and I'm using a blog to do it. A lot of my motivation is to provide any sort of help I can to those who might find insight from my experience, because I received a lot of great tips and thoughts from others. Also, I'm considering this my own way of processing and documenting this exciting time of life! I start school in June and will be writing every few days about various topics related to my journey.



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to those that have been an emt-b has anyone failed the nremt and had it successfully rescored? by "successfully" I mean that the score had been adjusted so that you have passed?

I have taken the test the 2nd time and failed by 3 points. I am quite angry in failing it again, due to personal problems I have not had the time I wanted to have taken it earlier on so that I could still have time to take an online refresher course and have the chance to take it the third time (the retest I had taken was just about 1 year within the original test date fyi).


I am passionate about helping people I understand this assessment is important, but I am saddened that this barrier is stopping me from living out my dreams. I was so excited to become an EMT...

responses are appreciated, thank you.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi guys, I am new to this. I am not yet a PA nor a PA student. I am working on trying to apply for PA school, and so far its been quite bumpy. 


I graduated from undergrad with Biology of Science. Hopes of wanting to become a medical student, that did not go quite as planned because I realized being a doctor was not fitting for me. So I took a couple of years off, trying different thing, working a lot. Everyone has a path in their life. So my path to deciding what to do was not a straight line. I am 25 years old. I got into PA because of my volunteer experiences. And its the most fitting career choice for me after medical school. 

Currently I am in graduate school working on my Public Health degree. I am also trying to work on my application again for the 2017 school year. It feels very overwhelming right now. As my GPA in my current graduate program is not good. And organizing to put everything together to make a strong application is also stressful. 

I was wondering if there are any tips or advices? For my GPA, I will try to work hard next semester to bring it up again. I heard that PA programs do not look at graduate GPA, only undergraduate. I am not sure if that is true or not. 

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  • 1 month later...

Sometimes experiencing someone else’s path can help you visualize your own.


Days as an engineer, evenings taking prerequisites, and nights on an emergency squad. All to get to back to college and see what would happen next.


One person’s journey to becoming a PA.


Old Man on Campus


I recently purchased your book last week and love it thus far. Thank you for sharing your personal experience. Very inspiring!

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Here's a blog I just started with advice for pre-pa students, plus random tidbits about my life as a GWU PA student




Just read your blog - thanks for all the advice and info! Very helpful and uplifting. I was just at GWU the other week visiting a friend. It's quite a lovely place and I hope to apply there soon!

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