I want to share this email I sent to a post-graduate student. She attended undergraduate university with the original goal of going to medical school, so some of her pre-requisites are not met yet for PA school. She is now taking them while also seeking employment in healthcare to gain the necessary experience and patient contact that is required.
She recently expressed to me that she feels she is moving “slower” than her peers who are already applying for PA school. She was also concerned because some of her peers had told her not to go on a mission trip(s) because it would be seen as disingenuous. See my brief response to both of these concerns below.
Hi college-grad-wanting-to-be-a-PA, Your path is different from your peers, but it is not slower. When you really sit and think about it, what does "slower" really mean? Are we in a race? What is the finish line? If becoming a PA is someone's finish line, then they will be in for a rude awakening because as healthcare providers, we never stop learning and growing. And all of the experiences you will gain during this year (or 2, or 3) "off" will help shape how you practice, how you treat others, and will build your character. You will not just be sitting around during this time, you will be working in healthcare settings, learning from and being inspired by other healthcare professionals, volunteering, going on medical mission trips, and growing as a person. With regards to mission trips, anyone's initial reaction when they see a mission trip on a resume is always positive, I can promise you that. Mission trips could potentially seem disingenuous if the person only went on it as a way to add to their resume, and admissions committees can see right through that. During the interview they will ask questions about it and will hear and feel the passion with which you speak about the experience. Your passion for service will shine through in everything you talk about during the interview. Keep me posted on what trip you find! I have also been looking for a medical mission trip to go on, so I will let you know if I find one here as well! Have a great weekend!
Remember that life is not a race. And if it is, and death is the finish line, then what’s the rush?! Life is about the journey, and as long as you are reaching towards your goals and striving towards whatever fulfills your purpose in life, you are exactly where you need to be. There are so many reasons a person’s education may be placed on hold: Mission trips, caring for a sick loved one, taking care of your own mental or physical health; regardless of what the reason may be, it is not time wasted. All experiences have value, even the ones that at the time may even seem like they are the worst crisis that has ever happened.
Every experience we go through teaches us new skills or hones old ones, increases our knowledge, or tests our perseverance and shows us how strong we truly are. And in the process, those same experiences put people in our paths that change our lives and touch our hearts forever.
University programs are not looking for the smartest person in the bunch or the one with the highest test scores, they are looking for the one that has the most to offer. Being well-rounded, being kind, having compassion, time management skills, interpersonal communication skills and world experience is not strictly learned in a medical setting and yet has the most value to any employer or educational institution. At the same time, you will meet amazing people and make lifelong friendships that will never cease to inspire and motivate you.
Although our lives may not always go as planned or seem similar to our peers, this is what makes us unique. Time is never wasted if we are doing something we are passionate about and that fulfills us. Our lives are ours to design, and there is no comparison to our own experience.
For a good read on finding your purpose and living a fulfilled life (even if it looks different from others), check out The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan in the Florida DNA store!