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30 year old's journey to PA

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I know it's too long. Don't know what to cut yet (I've been looking at it all day!). Any insight on how to close the essay would be helpful; having trouble how to figure out how to tie it all into one big bow. Thanks for reading/skimming/feed-backing!


Are you going to nursing school or medical school? Growing up in a Filipino household with a Family Practice physician as a father, I was raised in a culture that viewed picking a career as choosing medicine...or medicine. When I was young I'd say, “Yes! I want to be a doctor!” only because it was what my Dad did for a living. I'm sure if he was a garbage man, I'd have the same zeal for discarded furniture and old tin cans. But after that short-lived, agreeable phase, I wasn't sure where I wanted to be or what I wanted from life – all I knew is that I wanted nothing to do with the medical field. Being young and rebellious, I spent my initial college career taking studio art courses and psychology classes. I am ashamed to admit that I would sign up for a class because it was easy, and drop other classes if I didn't feel like doing the work. I was simply going through the motions of college without a defined purpose. As a naive and immature college graduate, it didn't matter that I was working random jobs after graduating; all that mattered was that I had broken away from typical expectations to pursue a career in medicine and I was living life on my own terms.


But much to my surprise, as much as I tried to avoid medicine, medicine found me. When you're working 3 jobs in Chicago and you have no health insurance, if you have to go see a doctor, no doubt you'll be visiting a public health clinic. I had never been to such a facility before; growing up I always had high quality, specialized care. With Dad being an esteemed physician, my family had access to quality pediatricians, dentists, dermatologists – as in swanky private practice offices, with cushy seats and coffee stations. I was shocked when I walked in the door of that public health clinic in Chicago. There was a security guard at the door – at the door of a doctor's office! What did they expect to happen?! They would call you up by number, like at the butcher shop. The waiting room was not inviting and relaxing, but rather stale and intimidating, in a “don't get too comfortable because you definitely can't stay here long” kind of way. And the dismal conditions of the facility was just a hint at what I was to experience inside.


My doctor's visit that day was memorable. He had to examine me intimately, and he did so in such a way – with this unmistakable look of disgust on his face – that made me feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. He did not ask me if I had any questions or concerns. He hightailed out of there as before I could mutter a peep. I was mortified, outraged, and confused.


From that point, I knew I had to go into medicine. I realized that I wanted to give people in the community the opportunity to receive the type of high-quality treatment that I was lucky enough to have while growing up. People did not deserve second-rate treatment simply because did not have medical insurance or all the could afford is $5 medical visit. They deserved the chance to have quality health care experience – where all judgment would be pushed aside; where they could be treated with dignity and respect; where they don't have to be embarrassed about getting a check-up. In order to be able to provide that type of quality care, I would have to swallow my pride and go back to school.


I spent the next few years completing my prerequisite coursework at SIUC. Despite excelling in my classes, I felt out of place – the oldest of the bunch – but strangely enough, I felt accomplished compared to those kids in school. I felt bad for some of them, hopping from high school, straight to college, and then hoping for medical school. Where was their experience? Where was their chance to live life? Make mistakes?


I have lived life. I know what it's like to have graduated college and find it impossible to land a job. I know what it's like to work 3 jobs and live paycheck to paycheck. I know what it's like to experience death and loss. I know what it's like to questions your life purpose, and what it means to make mistakes. And while others might view those as setbacks, I am proud that those moments have given me the maturity and flexibility to make me the determined person I am today – someone who can definitely endure the rigors of PA school.


I have had plenty of learning experiences that lined the way to PA school, helping me grow personally and testing my dedication to a career as a PA. As an undergraduate research assistant, I learned that working in lab means actually reading the manual and calling the 1800 number to figure out how that statistical analysis program works. Working as a camp counselor and a teacher let me exercise patience when communicating with people of different ages and backgrounds. Volunteering in Rape Crisis Services gave me the chance to see the experience of an emergency room examination through the eyes of a survivor. Shadowing a PA has given me the insight of what it takes to succeed in the profession – flexibility, patience, cooperation, and dedication. Working as a licensed CNA has given me the opportunity to develop my experience in a patient care, and has shown me how a listening ear and patience is required just as much as pills and bandages.


Although I fully enjoy my job as a CNA, and I love being a community volunteer, I find myself needing more. I want that balance of science and patient care that only the PA profession can meet. I crave the challenge and questions that science bring – diagnoses, lab tests, and treatments. I long for the satisfaction from conducting exams and performing medical procedures. I yearn for that ongoing, lasting relationship with patients that only practicing Family Medicine can provide. I would be honored to be given the chance to become a Family Practice PA;.I dream of that day that I can be looked to for advice and insight from patients, and I can give each one the individual attention, respect, and time that each of them deserve. 

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Good Job! As a Fil-Am myself I know the deal. Except Mom was a Nurse and Dad was an attorney. I leaned towards medicine more and really started to build my medical career. My little brother is an attorney-I know I picked the right profession he's always stressed. LOL. I also admire your wanting to go into FP. It's not sexy but it is very rewarding. Best wishes to you. You'll do great.

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  • 4 weeks later...

So...this is the latest version (draft 12). Does version 12 lose all the pazazz that version 1 had?????!


Will you go to nursing or medical school?” Growing up in a Filipino household with a physician as my father, I was raised in a culture that viewed picking a career as choosing medicine...or medicine. When I was young, my parents beamed with pride when I said I wanted to be a doctor. Little did they know that I only said that because it was what my father did; if he were a garbage man, I imagine I would have had the same zeal for discarded furniture and old tin cans. In reality, I was not sure what I wanted. However, one fact was certain – I wanted absolutely nothing to do with medicine. But to my surprise, as much as I tried to avoid medicine, medicine found me.


As the daughter of a physician, I had been fortunate enough to have access to quality medical care as a child. However, after I began working three jobs in Chicago with no health insurance, I quickly learned the realities of healthcare access that nearly 22 million Americans experienced within the past year: I walked into a public health clinic and was stunned. With a security guard looming at the door, a ticket dispenser reminiscent of the butcher shop, and a waiting room that appeared more intimidating than inviting, these conditions merely hinted at what I was about to encounter inside. My doctor's visit was hasty and embarrassing, without any chance to ask questions or a moment to voice my worries. Overall, the experience left me feeling deflated and confused.


From that frustrating experience emerged the strong desire to give my community the same high-quality treatment I was lucky enough to receive while growing up. Over the next few years I completed the prerequisite coursework, and excelled from motivation and resolve. But spring of 2012 proved challenging. My father – the man I admired, illustrious in my hometown for over 30 years of service as a family practitioner – passed away. I was beyond devastated. I did not know how to cope and withdrew for the semester. After his death, I began to question multiple aspects of my life. Originally, I convinced myself that I wanted to emulate him and become a physician, but I later realized that I was looking for a different way to convey my passion for healthcare. I wanted an outlet that would let me use academic disciplines on real patients in a matter of months instead of years. It would focus on a collaborative approach to medical care and provide the flexibility to expand my arsenal, specifically accommodating my community's needs. PA school was clearly the best option for me.


My dedication solidified once I realized that this career choice truly encompasses the culmination of my life experiences. I know what it is like to find it nearly impossible to land a job, or live paycheck to paycheck - struggles which endowed me with the maturity and adaptability required to endure the challenges of a rigorous PA program. As a volunteer for Rape Crisis Services, I learned how to use my compassion by simply listening to a survivor who waits anxiously in the ER. Working as a CNA, I tested my versatility when discovering other ways to provide comfort in addition to the usual tasks of bathing and feeding. For instance, by playing BB King and encouraging one patient to sing along, I could often diminish his combative behavior and verbal outbursts. The invaluable opportunities I have had as a volunteer and an employee in healthcare have clearly and repeatedly reaffirmed my dedication to medicine.


Furthermore, from shadowing a PA I observed what a patient-centered approach to healthcare truly looks like. It is taking that extra time to swaddle and hold a crying infant to calm him down during a routine check-up. It is advising families on natural, healthy alternatives when expensive medication is not necessarily required. It is being approachable and eager to collaborate with the patient and other providers to achieve the highest quality of care. Overall, it is the attentiveness, compassion, and insight required to determine the best care for a patient that makes this profession especially meaningful to me.

With every interaction I have with PAs, I grow more impressed at the versatility of their knowledge, the scope of their skills, and the warmth of their disposition. I am confident not only that I want to become a PA, but more specifically that I want to bring my compassion and enthusiasm to the field of family medicine. The breadth of this field entices me; having days filled with variety will pique my intellect and continue to challenge my diagnostic skills. Family medicine also builds lasting relationships with patients; I will have a great advantage when considering other aspects that also contribute to a person's health and well-being. From a real world and academic perspective, I know I am ready to face the challenges and opportunities of this profession. I eagerly await the future moment when someone sees me in scrubs and asks if I am a nurse or a doctor. I can't wait to say “Neither: I am a Physician Assistant.”

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that is what I was going to suggest doing is take away more from the beginning and leave more of the ending. I really liked how u ended version 1


Wow! Thanks for taking the time to read both. I agree; the ending of the 1st is way better than the latter. Now I'm working on mashing them both together. Sigh. Draft 14, here I come!

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  • 5 weeks later...

I won't repost the whole essay, because it basically stayed the same as the 2nd one I posted on here. But for anyone curious, here's my official conclusion. It took me 15 drafts to get it to this point.


Although I fully enjoy my job as a CNA, and I love being a community volunteer, I find myself ready for more. Not only am I confident that I want to be a PA, but I also know that I want to practice in the field of family medicine. The breadth of this field entices me; having days filled with variety will pique my intellect and continue to challenge my diagnostic skills. I know being a family's primary source for medical care is advantageous since I will be able to consider all aspects that contribute to patients' overall health and well-being. Finally, I especially look forward to being a part of a family by providing continuous care for multiple generations. At the time of that fateful public clinic visit I felt that medicine had mysteriously chosen me, but through my years of studying, working, and volunteering, it is clear that I am the one that has chosen - I choose to be a Physician Assistant.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you, thank you! I submitted my CASPA app about a month ago. Now I'm just twiddling my thumbs and waiting. Fingers crossed!



I just have to say, I absolutely loved your personal statement. Great job! Are you finished up with your application yet? Good luck! 

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