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AspiringPA21

Want to quit PA school

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I graduated with a bachelors in 2014 and for the past 3 years, I have taken classes paying out of pocket, working per diem jobs to gain PCE, shadowing, and doing community service. Even my parents have put a lot of time and money into me getting into PA school. I got in (on my first try) this year and I was very excited and grateful. I spent money and time preparing to move (it's out of state), and begin the program. One month in and I have come to realize that working for the past 3 years has made me lazy. And by lazy I mean, I have been trying to focus and study but I just don't want to put in the time and effort because I feel like in the past month everything I have learned is not sticking. The intensity of PA school is getting to me. At the start of classes I was getting up early and studying, I was feeling good, motivated and energized. I felt like my dreams will come true. But then I failed a few exams. I did not think I would do as bad as I did. I have never been an intense studier. In undergrad the classes I took were easy and because of that, I thought I can handle PA school. I feel like I can do RT or maybe even RN. But I feel PA school is too intense for how demotivated I am. When I told PAs i got in they said "watch until you begin, it's going to be hell" and since that time I began thinking how I don't want that and how I won't do well because i knew the type of person I am. The amount of stress i can handle and amount of work I would put in. What's worse is the fact I have been working for the past 3 years and got comfortable with how life was going and not job-wise but in the sense of going to work, hanging with friends/family and having the time to exercise and relaxing. I miss home, I miss the going-to-work and hanging with friends lifestyle. I'm sure if I did not fail the exams I wouldn't be thinking like this because I would've been fine with my study habits but now I have realized the program is only going to get intense and dense. I really don't know what to do. I know a lot of people would want to be in my position right now - in PA school. But I don't know what's wrong with me. I feel exhausted already and get tension headaches. I think I just miss being home.

In the past 2 weeks, I have been motivated to study maybe twice and I try my hardest to get through but at the same time, I have sat in class searching for RT/RN/MBA/MHA/Computer Science or Finance degrees. I do have loans, and I would have to move back so I would regret the time and money I wasted doing all this but I feel like if my mind is not 100% in PA school, I will only stress and lose focus. Of course all my friends, family members, and coworkers know about my acceptance, it'll be really embarrassing just dropping but I guess I found out who I really am in this time, or maybe I'm just scared that if I failed exams now, what if I fail other exams in the future and end up with more loan debt and wasted time. I'm posting this because I want to know if anyone felt this way in PA school whether it was in the beginning or after failing exams and if so, how did you overcome it. I cannot believe I am feeling this way sitting in a PA program, what I spent so much time to get into. Any insight would be appreciated. 

Edited by AspiringPA21

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Hmm... seems like you have a lot going on over here. What I can tell you is this...

Do you really want to become a PA? Is healthcare something that you actually enjoy? Do you like dealing with patients and learning about medical problems? To what extent of HCE do you have? How much shadowing have you done?

You need to analyze if this field is something you want to actually get into, because it is not for everyone. And if you do not enjoy the healthcare field, I also would not recommend going for your RN or RT as well, because both careers also involve extensive training as well. You need to determine, why do you actually want to become a PA?

Yes PA education is long, difficult, and stressful. Yes there will be times that you want to give up and cry. But if you want to become a PA, you will have to do whatever it takes to get through it. If you truly want to become a PA, you need to stick with it and change your study habits. You need to find things that help you retain information and do things differently that you normally wouldn't do. Reach out to friends, classmates, faculty, counselors for support. You claim that "you never had been an intense studier." Well hate to break it to you, but this is PA school now, not undergraduate education, and you will need to become an intense studier. 

Failing a few exams, especially at the beginning, should not make you feel bad. But this should be an eye-opener for you and motivate you to change your habits. YOU NEED TO CHANGE YOUR WAYS TO GET THROUGH SCHOOL.

If you analyze your situation and think that you really are not interested in becoming a PA, you really are not interested in medicine or patient care, then look elsewhere. Again, I wouldn't recommend RT or RN. I also wouldn't recommend MBA as MBA programs are fairly difficult as well. Regardless of what you decide, you really need to understand that graduate school is very different from undergrad. You can't cruise through any program without studying hard. 

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45 minutes ago, PACJD said:

Hmm... seems like you have a lot going on over here. What I can tell you is this...

Do you really want to become a PA? Is healthcare something that you actually enjoy? Do you like dealing with patients and learning about medical problems? To what extent of HCE do you have? How much shadowing have you done?

You need to analyze if this field is something you want to actually get into, because it is not for everyone. And if you do not enjoy the healthcare field, I also would not recommend going for your RN or RT as well, because both careers also involve extensive training as well. You need to determine, why do you actually want to become a PA?

Yes PA education is long, difficult, and stressful. Yes there will be times that you want to give up and cry. But if you want to become a PA, you will have to do whatever it takes to get through it. If you truly want to become a PA, you need to stick with it and change your study habits. You need to find things that help you retain information and do things differently that you normally wouldn't do. Reach out to friends, classmates, faculty, counselors for support. You claim that "you never had been an intense studier." Well hate to break it to you, but this is PA school now, not undergraduate education, and you will need to become an intense studier. 

Failing a few exams, especially at the beginning, should not make you feel bad. But this should be an eye-opener for you and motivate you to change your habits. YOU NEED TO CHANGE YOUR WAYS TO GET THROUGH SCHOOL.

If you analyze your situation and think that you really are not interested in becoming a PA, you really are not interested in medicine or patient care, then look elsewhere. Again, I wouldn't recommend RT or RN. I also wouldn't recommend MBA as MBA programs are fairly difficult as well. Regardless of what you decide, you really need to understand that graduate school is very different from undergrad. You can't cruise through any program without studying hard. 

It's not that I dont want to be in healthcare and I don't mind going to school. It's the intensity of a PA program. It's definitely more stressful and a lot more work than an MBA/RN/RT. I know these degrees hold their own struggle and efforts but based off of friends who have done those degrees, I don't think it's comparable to PA school. I just think the intensity for me, while I'm not that motivated anymore because of failing exams, is making me think differently... thinking more in the "go an easier route." I have bursts of motivation and then it goes away. I'm in my late 20s so I know I'm already getting much older and I don't want to waste time anymore. I knew I told myself if I didn't get into PA school after 2018, I was going to switch to any of those degrees above. But I did and now I'm going crazy thinking about this. I have all these mixed emotions, it's definitely not what I wanted. I do see myself as a PA, but I also don't know how to pass these exams. I asked the faculty, they aren't very helpful because they just say "what works for one person might not work for you so you need to find your own study method." Clearly, I can't use my undergrad studying method that got me A's because it didn't work for the past exams but what if I don't find the right way to study and I fail the next few exams. So I'm pretty bummed out and I feel like a disappointment. 

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Are you looking for a cheerleader to tell you that you can do this?  Or are you looking for permission to quit?  Because you can get both answers here (from myself and the forum in general).

On one hand, you seem to be giving up fairly easily.  It takes a lot of people time to find what works.  And, not something you want to hear, even those of us that found it, had to change it during the year depending on the course.  What worked for me in ID did not work for me in cardio.  And clinical year was a whole different ball game.  

On the other hand, if you REALLY don't want to do this, get out now before you find yourself even further in the loan hole.  I say this as someone who gave up a good salary and real career to go back to school.  It's hard.  Not making money is a rough pill to swallow.  It's stressful.  It's hard.  You're looking at 2 years of that.  

Why did you want to become a PA in the first place?  Do you still want to?  Are you wiling to sacrifice and find the motivation to make it happen?  Only you know the answers.

Edited by MT2PA
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Here's my insight: The time to question if you should have joined the Army is not when you're in a landing craft and heading towards the Normandy beaches!

Finish this one term! Honor your dream that much. Commit to doing the best you can for that long, whatever your best turns out to be. Go to your school's learning center and see what they have to say about your learning style.

I personally got punched in the mouth by my first two tests in gross anatomy. And I was 58 years old with two challenging masters degrees already under my belt. I decided that I just wanted to stay and get a chance to see what would happen next. I followed the motto of "improvise, adapt, and overcome." I tried different learning techniques in almost every class and settled on what worked best for me. When the term was over, nothing felt better then pegging my dissection clothes (belt and shoes included) into the dumpster behind my apartment!

Maybe you weren't meant to be a PA -- who knows? -- but now is not the time to dwell on that. I'm all for cutting ones losses when necessary but, even if you ultimately decide change your career direction, don't do it now or you'll always think of yourself as someone who flinched when the going got rough.

You have been through a lot to get this far and now you need to prove to yourself that you can do anything for a term. Stop dwelling on job ads, the people back home, and ruminations about your desire to study.

Tough it out for ONE FULL term and THEN you can see what you want to do.

Good luck!

 

Edited by UGoLong
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My PA journey was similar to yours in that I received my bachelor's degree 3 years before I went on to PA school.  During those 3 years, I focused on my career, took the few extra classes I needed and generally enjoyed my life without school work.   So yes, stepping into a PA program was difficult and challenging.  I didn't score well on my first two exams and it was an eye opener that I really had to develop better study habits.  To start, I met with my instructors  and reviewed the questions I missed with them and this gave me good feedback as to how I was reading & interpreting questions. 

I'm sure added stress is the fact that you moved out of state, but that should just be the extra motivator for you to do well and improve.  I would suggest finding people in class to study with (and make friendships).  My classmates often studied in groups in the library and I joined a group to see if their study techniques would help me.  So many students have different ways of approaching studying and people tend to zone in on different concepts so a group can be a good way to find what works for you which might improve motivation.

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23 hours ago, UGoLong said:

Here's my insight: The time to question if you should have joined the Army is not when you're in a landing craft and heading towards the Normandy beaches!

Finish this one term! Honor your dream that much. Commit to doing the best you can for that long, whatever your best turns out to be. Go to your school's learning center and see what they have to say about your learning style.

I personally got punched in the mouth by my first two tests in gross anatomy. And I was 58 years old with two challenging masters degrees already under my belt. I decided that I just wanted to stay and get a chance to see what would happen next. I followed the motto of "improvise, adapt, and overcome." I tried different learning techniques in almost every class and settled on what worked best for me. When the term was over, nothing felt better then pegging my dissection clothes (belt and shoes included) into the dumpster behind my apartment!

Maybe you weren't meant to be a PA -- who knows? -- but now is not the time to dwell on that. I'm all for cutting ones losses when necessary but, even if you ultimately decide change your career direction, don't do it now or you'll always think of yourself as someone who flinched when the going got rough.

You have been through a lot to get this far and now you need to prove to yourself that you can do anything for a term. Stop dwelling on job ads, the people back home, and ruminations about your desire to study.

Tough it out for ONE FULL term and THEN you can see what you want to do.

Good luck!

 

Thank you so much. This has motivated me. If I study my hardest and still don't make it, at least I'll be able to say I tried my best and gave my 110% and if my hardest is sufficient I'll make it. Thank you for the wise words! 

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6 hours ago, Blynn12 said:

My PA journey was similar to yours in that I received my bachelor's degree 3 years before I went on to PA school.  During those 3 years, I focused on my career, took the few extra classes I needed and generally enjoyed my life without school work.   So yes, stepping into a PA program was difficult and challenging.  I didn't score well on my first two exams and it was an eye opener that I really had to develop better study habits.  To start, I met with my instructors  and reviewed the questions I missed with them and this gave me good feedback as to how I was reading & interpreting questions. 

I'm sure added stress is the fact that you moved out of state, but that should just be the extra motivator for you to do well and improve.  I would suggest finding people in class to study with (and make friendships).  My classmates often studied in groups in the library and I joined a group to see if their study techniques would help me.  So many students have different ways of approaching studying and people tend to zone in on different concepts so a group can be a good way to find what works for you which might improve motivation.

I will definitely try that. I guess my failed exams have traumatized me. I know if I start to pass I probably wouldn't think like this. Hopefully, and eventually, I can find the way that works for me (it's what I really fear, that I won't find that method) but group studying is a start. Thank you very much for the feedback!

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On 10/3/2018 at 3:57 PM, AspiringPA21 said:

I do see myself as a PA, but I also don't know how to pass these exams.

Blynn12 said it with getting a group study going.  I meet with the same 2-3 people every week once at least to cover basic stuff.  Then when there are 2-3 days before an exam we meet every night.  In second term now about 4 exams in and still very working well and I don't think I would have the scores I do if I was flying solo, especially since the pass rate is 80% (and within 2 standard deviations from average above 80%).  It is also good to find a group you can laugh with but not be overly distracted by.  Also, personalities make a difference too.  You don't want people in your group that are going to talk over you etc but you still need to be challenged.  Do your classes offer objectives?  I have been doing objectives, the basics and then discuss these with my group and make case scenarios etc.  Make mnemonics that you and your friends understand so when you see it on the test you can laugh and get the answer right.  Also it is a good idea to treat your classes like there will be a quiz on the last week's material the following Monday.  I don't know...this is what has worked for me so far.  ? 

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15 hours ago, Ket131 said:

Blynn12 said it with getting a group study going.  I meet with the same 2-3 people every week once at least to cover basic stuff.  Then when there are 2-3 days before an exam we meet every night.  In second term now about 4 exams in and still very working well and I don't think I would have the scores I do if I was flying solo, especially since the pass rate is 80% (and within 2 standard deviations from average above 80%).  It is also good to find a group you can laugh with but not be overly distracted by.  Also, personalities make a difference too.  You don't want people in your group that are going to talk over you etc but you still need to be challenged.  Do your classes offer objectives?  I have been doing objectives, the basics and then discuss these with my group and make case scenarios etc.  Make mnemonics that you and your friends understand so when you see it on the test you can laugh and get the answer right.  Also it is a good idea to treat your classes like there will be a quiz on the last week's material the following Monday.  I don't know...this is what has worked for me so far.  ? 

That's a good idea. A lot of my classmates either already have their own study groups (Especially the females) or they like to study alone and do group questions 1-2 days before the exam. I guess I can ask around but for the most part, I have studied alone and have done better like that but maybe I can try with a few people who are willing. Thank you

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don't give up yet

 

I was 110% gung ho and motivated, and then through most the first year I was full of doubt, seemed to get better 2nd year and now I almost 20 yrs later I am as happy as can be

 

It is hard, wholesale your life, give everything up to attain you goal (and Study like mad)  Think of it this way - you are 1/12 of the way through academic year - and this is the rest of your life

 

I can say it felt long during, but now as i enter the second 1/2 of my life I realize how short PA education truly was.

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On 10/8/2018 at 8:01 AM, ventana said:

don't give up yet

 

I was 110% gung ho and motivated, and then through most the first year I was full of doubt, seemed to get better 2nd year and now I almost 20 yrs later I am as happy as can be

 

It is hard, wholesale your life, give everything up to attain you goal (and Study like mad)  Think of it this way - you are 1/12 of the way through academic year - and this is the rest of your life

 

I can say it felt long during, but now as i enter the second 1/2 of my life I realize how short PA education truly was.

Thank you so much. I've done two exams since and have done really well. I am, however, struggling with Pharmacology and Micro (2nd exam coming up, 1st one did not go so well). Hoping the way I'm studying will work.

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You're definitely not the only PA-S to feel this way. We had several people drop at my program already. I don't mean to stereotype you, as I know nothing other than what you've posted here, but I think a lot of students that are in PA programs have been hyper-successful their whole lives (academically and otherwise) and failing a few exams really gut checks their psyche. Personally, it sounds like you want to be a PA but you thought it would be easier than it is. That's weak. If you quit now you'll never be able to live with the fact that you gave up when things got tough (at least I wouldn't). I hope you keep pushing. Best of luck!

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2 hours ago, boli said:

 I think a lot of students that are in PA programs have been hyper-successful their whole lives (academically and otherwise) and failing a few exams really gut checks their psyche.

This.  Most undergrad programs don't seriously challenge anyone on anything.  Only the professions that can get people killed--engineering, healthcare, etc.--seem to retain the least bit of academic rigidity.  PA school takes it up a notch, because you are being turned into a provider.  It's a painful process that pays off in the long run, but in the middle of it, life can feel horrid.

I didn't fail a single test in PA school, and yet I still felt like giving up a few times: Beware a couple of weeks after Christmas break, and during the one rotation where you just do not get what is expected of you.

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23 hours ago, boli said:

You're definitely not the only PA-S to feel this way. We had several people drop at my program already. I don't mean to stereotype you, as I know nothing other than what you've posted here, but I think a lot of students that are in PA programs have been hyper-successful their whole lives (academically and otherwise) and failing a few exams really gut checks their psyche. Personally, it sounds like you want to be a PA but you thought it would be easier than it is. That's weak. If you quit now you'll never be able to live with the fact that you gave up when things got tough (at least I wouldn't). I hope you keep pushing. Best of luck!

I did know it was hard but I did not know what made it hard. It's not the material, it's more so the time constraint due to classes being 7-8 hours a day and then studying for 5-6 after that and trying to get sleep to be able to function and then having 2-3 exams a week. I am not giving up anytime soon. I have decided to put 110%. I have worked a long 7 years without ever doing a fulltime job because I've only wanted to get into PA school and become a PA and I did use up a lot of time, money, and energy to get here so I will not give up that easy. I do want to be a PA. Thank you so much!

Edited by AspiringPA21
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On 10/14/2018 at 9:07 PM, AspiringPA21 said:

I did know it was hard but I did not know what made it hard. It's not the material, it's more so the time constraint due to classes being 7-8 hours a day and then studying for 5-6 after that and trying to get sleep to be able to function and then having 2-3 exams a week. I am not giving up anytime soon. I have decided to put 110%. I have worked a long 7 years without ever doing a fulltime job because I've only wanted to get into PA school and become a PA and I did use up a lot of time, money, and energy to get here so I will not give up that easy. I do want to be a PA. Thank you so much!

Just wanted to chime in here and say SAME. I'm about a month in to didactic, and while I was fully prepared for it to be hard, most of this month has felt IMPOSSIBLE. I have NEVER felt so overwhelmed, stressed, frustrated, and exhausted. I knew it was going to be hard, I read all the advice and everyone saying it's a firehose, etc. etc. But this is way, way beyond anything I had expected. 

I know it's not uncommon to feel this way in PA school, especially in the beginning when everything is new, but there is definitely comfort in knowing that others are feeling all the same things. A second year messaged me last week and said "if you haven't cried, felt like you're having a complete breakdown, or seriously given thought to quitting and changing careers, you likely will soon." Keep working, we'll get through it. 

Edited by BaxLN
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7 hours ago, BaxLN said:

Just wanted to chime in here and say SAME. I'm about a month in to didactic, and while I was fully prepared for it to be hard, most of this month has felt IMPOSSIBLE. I have NEVER felt so overwhelmed, stressed, frustrated, and exhausted. I knew it was going to be hard, I read all the advice and everyone saying it's a firehose, etc. etc. But this is way, way beyond anything I had expected. 

I know it's not uncommon to feel this way in PA school, especially in the beginning when everything is new, but there is definitely comfort in knowing that others are feeling all the same things. A second year messaged me last week and said "if you haven't cried, felt like you're having a complete breakdown, or seriously given thought to quitting and changing careers, you likely will soon." Keep working, we'll get through it. 

That's amazing! I'm glad I know now this feeling seems mutual with many. I wish you all the best! We will conquer.

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This was exactly how I felt.  I had gotten so used to getting A+'s in every class while doing my prereques.  Then I started PA school and it was insane, and I had several strikes against me on top of the academic load so it was very difficult.  I told myself that since I had already paid for that semester, I might as well complete it.  Then at the end of the semester I decided I would tackle one more semester and take it from there.  I only thought one semester at a time.  I advise talking to your faculty and working with other students.  The faculty have been through it and the other students are going through the same thing.  Also talk to students in the year ahead of you, as they may have tips specific to your program.  Decide what is most important to you to do in your non-studying time- and, yes, there does need to be a little non-studying time.  You do need to study most of your waking hours, but not all.  Try to eat well and get enough sleep.  Don't turn to alcohol to deal with the stress- I saw too much of that in school.  Exercise or meditating work better.

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@AspiringPA21

So I believe everything is relative, motivation is relative, and the amount of it needed to complete a task is relative. To be frank with you I killed undergrad, and I gave up 24/7 of my life to get it done, this allowed me to go into my interviews confident. I personally didn’t care for biology, or chemistry, or any class in particular. I was never excited to go to any class to learn material. For me, I found motivation in the learning process. Group study was a huge catalyst for me to succeed, and I typically taught the group. 

What im trying to say is maybe the information flow pace demotivates you, but you need to take a step back and figure out what part of PA school motivates you and hammer that everyday. Maybe you can focus on a study group and try to assist someone else in succeeding in PA school, I believe corporal punishment is unfair but works, as I believe the opposite effect to be true as well! When one succeeds we all succeed! The point isn’t to love every aspect of drinking water from a fire hydrant, it’s to find a reason to do it again, perhaps with a smile haha. 

 

Thank you so much for sharing, I know it’s damn hard to write something like this and I hope you get though this and conquer your first semester. 

Also, maybe if going out is something that motivates you find a good influence in your class and once you find free time (it has to be here somewhere!) encourage them to break lose with you. I had one friend that I would study with, we would study for literally 18 hours a day to get through a rough semester load, but we would also kill some nazi zombies on the way (call of duty reference). It was awesome!

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I spoke at a white coat ceremony last weekend and a faculty member (Dr Alten) told me something that he tells his PA students that I thought was inspiring:

 

Don’t just be proud when you attain your goal; be proud every day that you are working to get there.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

 

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You all are amazing! Thank you so much. So, I did end up failing one more exam but I think I am learning how to study for it. It did get me down the first day but I knew I had to pick myself up and move on since I still have two exams left in that course. I have been motivated. I know to put extra time studying. I'm making sure I understand every slide before I move on and I'm finding ways to memorize and understand the material in a short time. Although I'm upset because I made very silly mistakes (I do think my test taking skills and study skills are truly lacking) but I am trying to get better at time management so this way I start studying in advance. 

I'm glad I posted this. You all have motivated me and since the day I posted this I have only been motivated and studying and I'm taking it one step at a time. For the most part, only less than 4 students having failed 1-3 exams so far. I have smart students in my class and they have found the study methods that work for them to get A's. I'm progressing.. I hope. Thank you all, I will keep you updated!

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