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AspiringPA21

Want to quit PA school

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On 10/3/2018 at 3:34 PM, AspiringPA21 said:

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. 

Hi,

I’m quoting all of this because I can 100% relate to all of this. I am in the same exact situation, word for word. After college, I worked for 3 years in a rehab hospital and really enjoyed my life. I spent a LOT of time with my friends, went on trips to Italy, Puerto Rico, California etc. I wasn’t making a lot of money but I just got used to not being in school and having a life. 

When I decided on PA school, I started taking classes in addition to work (genetics, biochem, bio 2, my GRE). I gathered references, completed shadowing hours, the whole 9 yards. I had a 3.5 cum gpa in undergrad and 3.8 postbac, but was always a lazy student. I did to a relatively challenging college but for some reason academics have never been that challenging for me. When I applied to PA school, I had excellent references, a strong PS, a decent GRE score, and almost 6,000 hours of patient care experience. I received 11 interviews and was immediately accepted after my 3rd interview. I was ecstatic and told my coworkers, family, friends, everyone. I flew all over the nation for my interviews and worked so hard to get in. Luckily I was accepted on my first round. 

Fast forward to now. I was accepted to PA school in Oct. 2018 and started in Jan. 2019. I realized right away that I was VERY demotivated and didn’t want to be studying all the time. Things started out “slow” and I didn’t study that much for the first 2 weeks but by the third week I was suddenly hit with 3-4 difficult exams. This continued, with at least 2-5 exams every single week. I was cramming for exams and you can’t cram in PA school because there is just too much material to learn in 1 month. I failed about 4 exams (in my program that means I scored under a 70), remediated once, and then finished my semester with a C in clinical med, C in pathology/biochem, and C+ in anatomy. My gpa is around a 2.7, the lowest of my life. I am on academic probation because I need to have a 3.0. 

 

I start my summer semester in 1 week and don’t know what to do. I relate to your post 100% because I didn’t try that hard and I don’t know if the feelings of demotivation will ever go away. I’m scared of my loans, I don’t know if I can deal with the stress, but I’m so afraid of failing and disappointing my family and myself. I worked SO hard to get in so I don’t know what’s wrong with me. There were 3,000 applicants to my program the year I applied and only 40 spots. I keep telling myself that I want this more than anything and that I CAN bring up my gpa and get myself off academic probation... but I know it will take an incredible amount of work and good coping skills to deal with the stress of pa school. I’m not sure I have what it takes but I know I need to try. 

Im on break for this week and I’m going to practice setting a strict schedule of good coping mechanisms: sleep more, exercise, eat healthy. Even though I “passed” my classes, I didn’t do well on my finals because I couldn’t sleep well for a week straight I was so stressed. Please help me and tell me what you ended up doing and how it’s working for you because I 100% relate to your post. I’m a lazy student etc. and wonder if I can do this.

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Hey guys. I wanted to give an update. Hope you all get a chance to read this. I started rotations two weeks ago so I made it thus far. But, I have the same feelings again. I passed my last trimester with bare minimum. I did not study much due to the weather but now in rotations I'm overwhelmed. I mostly don't have the energy/motivation/desire to study anymore or put in so many rotation hours. I just want to get paid. I realized this past year I do not do well under stress at all, especially when it comes to school (I have never been a school kind of person). I know I put so much money and hours to get into school that I have wasted a lot of time up until this point. I do regret it. I am 29 years old and I wish 9 years ago I chose a different path. A path where I could be making money and living a less stressful life at this age. This stress is taking a toll on me (I stress eat a lot of junk food and I can't stop) and I don't get along with family or friends under so much stress that I lash out on them. It just doesn't feel right. It's a disappointing thought of being in my 2nd week of rotation and everyone knows you've made it this far only to be thinking of doing something simple like respiratory therapy or my MBA. Is this normal during rotations? I'm afraid I wont do well on EORs either. I'm hanging by a thread and thinking if I fail PA school now, I would be devastated but also less stressed but I wish I chose a different path a long time ago instead of wasting all this time and money. I don't know what to do. 

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Not to diagnose via Internet post, but you certainly sound depressed and in need of a mental health tuneup: a terrible state in which to make life decisions. Unfortunately, getting help in the middle of rotations is going to be quite a challenge... but one that I would consider worthwhile.

You may be better off taking a leave and working on YOU  rather than trying to graduate on time.

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Not to diagnose via Internet post, but you certainly sound depressed and in need of a mental health tuneup: a terrible state in which to make life decisions. Unfortunately, getting help in the middle of rotations is going to be quite a challenge... but one that I would consider worthwhile.
You may be better off taking a leave and working on YOU  rather than trying to graduate on time.

I agree. Your reaction is so extreme that it may be a lot more than being on the wrong path. It is usually easier to take leave for a month or two during your clinical year and graduate late.

Get some help. Even if in the end you choose a different path, it will be running towards something than running away from something.


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On 9/7/2019 at 8:41 PM, AspiringPA21 said:

Hey guys. I wanted to give an update. Hope you all get a chance to read this. I started rotations two weeks ago so I made it thus far. But, I have the same feelings again. I passed my last trimester with bare minimum. I did not study much due to the weather but now in rotations I'm overwhelmed. I mostly don't have the energy/motivation/desire to study anymore or put in so many rotation hours. I just want to get paid. I realized this past year I do not do well under stress at all, especially when it comes to school (I have never been a school kind of person). I know I put so much money and hours to get into school that I have wasted a lot of time up until this point. I do regret it. I am 29 years old and I wish 9 years ago I chose a different path. A path where I could be making money and living a less stressful life at this age. This stress is taking a toll on me (I stress eat a lot of junk food and I can't stop) and I don't get along with family or friends under so much stress that I lash out on them. It just doesn't feel right. It's a disappointing thought of being in my 2nd week of rotation and everyone knows you've made it this far only to be thinking of doing something simple like respiratory therapy or my MBA. Is this normal during rotations? I'm afraid I wont do well on EORs either. I'm hanging by a thread and thinking if I fail PA school now, I would be devastated but also less stressed but I wish I chose a different path a long time ago instead of wasting all this time and money. I don't know what to do. 

As a former RT I think you have a false sense of what they actually do. The job is neither easy,  nor is it very lucrative. It's normal to have these feelings, but if your heart is truly not into it do yourself a favor and step away before incurring any more debt.

Edited by pausenot

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On 9/8/2019 at 1:56 AM, rev ronin said:

Not to diagnose via Internet post, but you certainly sound depressed and in need of a mental health tuneup: a terrible state in which to make life decisions. Unfortunately, getting help in the middle of rotations is going to be quite a challenge... but one that I would consider worthwhile.

You may be better off taking a leave and working on YOU  rather than trying to graduate on time.

 

On 9/8/2019 at 6:10 AM, UGoLong said:


I agree. Your reaction is so extreme that it may be a lot more than being on the wrong path. It is usually easier to take leave for a month or two during your clinical year and graduate late.

Get some help. Even if in the end you choose a different path, it will be running towards something than running away from something.


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This is not how I felt when I began undergrad. I was extremely motivated to study and gain knowledge. I was very focused as well but the stress levels were lower. Thing is, prior to getting into PA school I was an EMT/ED tech and I liked how my life was going at the time. Stress was a lot less, living a healthy lifestyle, having time for friends and family, and exercising daily. I'm not sure if I hit this mental state because of the stress PA school has brought or if it's because of depression that I feel this way because I did not feel like this in the past. I was also never a good test-taker so the poor grades I received during didactic year has also caused me to think I'm not good enough for medicine, specifically where I am treating/diagnosing and that's when I began thinking like this (when I originally posted). I realized I enjoy more hands-on work rather than having to do critical thinking and a lot of stuff I learned does not stick to me (especially pharmacology). I almost feel like I'm in a mid-life crisis, except not in my mid-life. 

And unfortunately my school does not allow leave, and if you do leave go you have to begin all over again from first trimester. I do feel as if after the first trimester I should have left but I was not sure if I felt that way because of my poor grades. Now that I made it to rotations, I realized I do want to be a PA but I have no desire to study anymore or wake up early for rotations.

Edited by AspiringPA21

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22 hours ago, pausenot said:

As a former RT I think you have a false sense of what they actually do. The job is neither easy,  nor is it very lucrative. It's normal to have these feelings, but if your heart is truly not into it do yourself a favor and step away before incurring any more debt.

By simple I did not mean an easy job, otherwise I would go back to being an ED tech, but speaking to a lot of RTs, the schooling (classroom and rotations) is definitely more simple compared to PA school. And I know they don't make a lot of money but I'm not even into making a lot. I'm not sure why I'm even thinking like this to be honest. It's not that I don't want to be a PA, I just don't have any motivation or desire to study so much. I feel overwhelmed with all the diseases, treatments, diagnosis and especially pharmacology which just isn't sticking. I also was the only student that did the lowest on majority of the exams so I do feel i'm not cut out for this (unless I had more time to study). This abundance of knowledge and short period to study makes me feel I'm not cut out for it but instead I need to do something less stressful.

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Look, if you want to be a PA, be a PA. If you can successfully make it through didactic year, you're good enough to be a PA. You can't give it any less than 100% though. Rotations can be challenging in the sense that it's like you're working a full-time job, but you were probably working way harder/longer during didactic. Rotations should be fun. There's no pressure to be right all the time. No one expects you to be perfect during rotations. All your preceptors want to see is that you're giving it all you've got, and absorbing the tidbits that they teach you. Soak up every bit of knowledge that you can. It's your opportunity to practice what you've learned, apply it, and make corrections as needed. 

I had a classmate who was consistently at the lower end of exams and struggled through the entire didactic experience. She studied her tail off, struggled, passed the PANCE, and has been a ROCK STAR ever since. You can't be wishy washy during this thing. You need to commit one way or the other. Based on what you've told us in this thread, and making it through your first year, it's clear that you have what it takes to do this. 

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You know, OP, between the lines (and in the lines!) you are telling us that you don't like stress. If only there was a job that paid well and had less stress. I hear that a lot. Some of us want money and a low stress life and some want enough money and to be doing something meaningful to us. There is nothing wrong with either approach. And what you are looking for can change with your age and situation.

Unfortunately, other than being dead, there's always stress. It seems to be one price we pay for living in this world. Each of us wants something different from our lives and when you're in the wrong place, the stress is unbelievable. When you don't feel that you're measuring up to the challenges of life, the stress is unbelievable. When you're bored, the stress is unbelievable. When you're... well, you get the picture.  At the same time, I'll bet you can remember sometime when you were hyped up about some complex activity you were doing and not being conscious of stress.  I feel stress is kind of an error signal: our internal reaction to not feeling like we're measuring up to something, be it to our standards or someone else's.

Since I like living, my strategy has been to do something that I find meaningful and try to cut myself some slack as I learn the skills necessary to be good at it. After that, to recognize that feeling stressed means I care about doing whatever it is well enough. At the same time, I try to set boundaries so I can live my personal life too instead of feeling like an automaton.

That said, when you are training to do something that is meaningful, it's going to take up a lot of your time. Not forever, but at least for now. That's what school is like: short-term pain for a hopefully long-term gain.

Our lives out here in PAForumland will all go on whether you stay in school or drop out. It's your call and you can have a great life either way. But I think you might still be running away from something instead of moving towards something better for you. That can accidentally lead you to something good or maybe just lead you to wander for a long time before you hopefully find your thing.

You've either learned that you don't want to be a PA or you forgot the dream that brought you here. Whichever it is, my best wishes to you.

Edited by UGoLong
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OP, have you reached out to a faculty member/student health/advisor of any kind and explained what you're experiencing? I agree with others here that you sound very stressed out and depressed. I know that seeking help when you're already in a depressed state is really difficult or might feel pointless, but I'd try to explore your options.

The way I see it is this - PA school is a lot like marriage. You've invested lots of time, effort, feelings, and of course money in this whole process. And now you're unhappy. Don't you want to make good on all that investment and do everything you can to be sure you're making the right choice in staying or quitting? By this, I mean reaching out to mentors or faculty for support, getting some mental health services to be sure you're not making a decision based in depressive negativity, and just generally talking this whole thing through with people close to you. It's entirely possible that there are faculty in your program that know the right things to say or do for a person in your situation, because they may have seen it before. It's worth a shot! It's better than just quitting and flushing all that time and money down the toilet.

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On 10/24/2018 at 10:09 PM, AspiringPA21 said:

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!

Any updates?

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