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PA school during COVID-19

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Hi there!  I'm currently finishing up my first semester of PA school (and procrastinating from studying for my next final 😝).  We were completely online this semester and will continue to be for Spring.  We did meet on campus in small groups about 4 times for some skills training/workshops, but that was it. 

The main advantage for me has been not having to commute to and from campus every day.  I can literally wake up 45 minutes before class starts, walk my dog real quick, eat something, and then sit down and log in.  As someone who is not a morning person, this is very nice.  I don't have to worry about packing a lunch, hardly have to spend money on gas (at this point I really only use my car on Sundays when I run errands), and can just lounge around in my pajamas all day, lol.  If there are a couple hours between classes and I feel like I need a nap, I can just walk about 10 feet over to my bedroom and take one!  Also, with me being at home all day, my dog has been getting taken on more walks than ever, so I'm sure she enjoys it too, lol.

In terms of disadvantages, the main ones that come to mind are:

  • Technical issues.  For example, losing internet connection during lecture (has happened more than you would think; I highly recommend upgrading your wireless plan to include Wi-Fi hotspot capability if you don't have it already), professors with spotty internet connections resulting in audio cutting in and out, technologically-challenged professors that have difficulty doing basic things like sharing their screen, students who still forget to mute their lines, etc.  
  • Lack of face-to-face interaction with your classmates.  We're all on a big group chat but I don't think it's the same.  Stress during PA school is inevitable, but I think feeling so isolated at times can make it even worse.  Especially if you live alone like me; I went from working face-to-face with the public full-time M-F to spending the majority of each day alone inside my apartment in front of a computer screen.  You start to feel like you're trapped on an island or in solitary confinement or something.  It's a little strange, although I guess you get used to it, lol.
  • Other miscellaneous hurdles.  For example, having to find your own mock patient who just so happens to be available at the designated time slot for a physical assessment exam (performed in front of a camera while a proctor observes via Zoom), feeling like you have limited opportunities to master certain physical assessment skills because you live alone and aren't regularly on campus with classmates to practice on, etc.  

So in summary: welcome to the class of COVID-19 😂.  There are lots of different pros and cons, you'll find out soon enough yourself.  Good luck!

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