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I'm beginning my first semester of PA school in August.  Nothing has been officially announced to us, but according to a couple other students who have spoken with program faculty, everything will be completely online for the first month, after which they will begin having small groups of students (<10) come in for labs 1-2 times per month, with further transitions to in-person learning based on county-specific guidance.  Our white coat ceremony is also supposedly being pushed back to next year.

I do have some concerns about how well I'll be able to concentrate and learn with an online lecture format, given that I'll be logging in from my poorly air-conditioned apartment, with my dog begging me to play and the neighbors making noise, but it also has its upsides; I'll eliminate the 30-45 minute commute to and from campus, which should save me 1-1.5 hours per day that I can dedicate to studying or other activities.  I imagine that starting off online might hinder the formation of the study groups that a lot of students rely on, but I've personally always done best studying alone, so I wasn't really planning on doing too much of that anyway.

Honestly though, I've been working in healthcare for almost a decade, and one thing I've learned is that disruptive and inconvenient changes in medical settings (and life in general) are inevitable.  Crazy new policies get dropped on you overnight, the computer system crashes right when you have a ton of charting to type up and 30 minutes left in your shift to do it, people call out sick when you're already understaffed, other people quit without notice and leave you scrambling to pick up the slack.  The best thing you can do is just accept it, roll with it, adapt, and have a sense of humor.  Best of luck to everyone else in this incoming class, and God help us all 😂

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We started in January and had 9 weeks together in class before going all online. I'd say try to meet up with classmates in a safe outdoor setting like a BBQ because you will rely upon each other heavily for direct help with class and just having someone who understands all the work that goes into PA school. Ice breakers over zoom will be awkward, it will be a hard adjustment to online learning but overall its been doable.

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