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Hello everyone, I am currently in my second semester of my didactic year. I struggled so much my first semester and ended up having to remediate one class. I feel like I retained nothing from my first semester and can barely recall things. I get so anxious everyday over my future . I have no idea how to face my family if I do fail. Also it would really crush me because this is what I've been working towards for the past 3 years since I graduated high school.  Compared to my other classmates I feel like I know the least. Living in fear everyday is really getting to me emotionally and I don't know what to do.

Edited by Stressedanddepressed

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Well first of all you shouldn't worry about facing your family, because just getting into PA school is an accomplishment. PA school is hard, the material is hard, and thats because its worth it. When I was probably around your age I got hired at the fire department with several other individuals. I by far struggled the most and for 1 year I felt like I was going to be fired every single day while watching most of my colleagues do great. But I didn't give up, I sought out as much advice as I could from other members of the fire department and ultimately succeeded. You can do it and you will make it. 

If I were you I would try to speak with professors and other classmates about best practices and what they are doing to retain and absorb the material. You may need to change everything about how you are studying in order to be successful. But don't give up and don't let yourself be "stressedanddepressed"!

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There are a few issues here...

One, of you don’t have one already you should get a therapist. You’re clearly dealing with some mental health issues on top of everything else. Talk to someone. Figure out a way to cope with your anxiety. 

Two, how are you studying? What resources (outside of lecture) are you using? Have you tried multiple study methods? Has anything been effective? 

Finally, stop comparing yourself to your classmates. Everyone is going through it and struggling, trust me. I can barely remember material I learned last week. It’s normal. 

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So you remediated one class? You've gotten the chance to move ahead.

Being in a class is something like being in a card game. You look at your hand and wonder if it's better than those of the other players. Since you can't see their hands, you never really know (until the hand is over.)

Try not to catastrophize about how horrible it will be when you fail out. Just move on day by day doing the right thing. You'll find the strength to do what you need to do. Worrying about things that probably will never happen only saps your strength. That you can't afford.

Edited by UGoLong
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To add to the advice above...keep in mind that PA school is overwhelming by design. Every student feels totally overwhelmed and like they are definitely failing at least some of the time. It's by design... inundate you with too much information in the hope you remember a small percentage of it. 

It will be totally different during clinical year, and astronomically different when you're working. Unless you're one of those geniuses with photographic memory, once you are out working for a few years, you will have forgotten 85% of what you learned, except for the particular field you are in, which you will know better than you can imagine.  That's why PANRE exists (for now)...trust me, you'll be shocked at how little you remember in 10 years. It's just the nature of medicine.

Whittle down the essential information you need to know for tests, focus on that, take the test, and then move on. Didactic year is designed to give you the basic tidbits you need to know as a provider, and in order to pass PANCE.  After your brain has been put through the washing machine of PA School, if you retain just the most crucial tidbits and concept associations, then thumbs up.  You will be learning and relearning and relearning and relearning and relearning and relearning every day of your career.

As long as you are passing tests, don't sweat it.


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I agree with the above posters. It sounds like you need to sit down with your PCP and discuss options to conquer your anxiety, ideally CBT and medications. 

PA school is overwhelming. There is a ton to learn and frequent testing makes even those not prone to it anxious. I went through undergrad with minimal if any anxiety, but once I hit PA school I found myself having ongoing anxiety issues. Low dose sertraline helped me keep small things small and be able to keep things in perspective. I'm not on it anymore but it helped tremendously during that period of time.

Also, in regards to comparing yourself to classmates. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today. Realize that grades no longer matter in PA school. Yes you have to pass your classes but your goal should be to learn the absolute most that you can during this brief period of time. Don't worry about your classmates. Keep your head up and best of luck!

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