What to expect in PA School: The PA-S Experience

It is often said that your cohort will feel like one big happy family (a dysfunctional one!). While it's true that many will meet some of their closest friends in PA school, there's more to the experience. 

What to expect in PA School? PA School reminded me of basic training. Some instantly regret it, some are super green+young & some are mature individuals who came to better their lives only to be left entirely mystified at the level of f*ckery that goes on in that place!

: sips tea:

Now I don’t want to spend too much time on this topic, but let it be known that being with the same people every day for 2+ years will inevitably lead to personality clashes. Some days I thought we were taping a Telenovela! 🙃

Any who, here are a few things to know:

Expect in PA School: Classroom drama

Over time, cliques start to form. The elitist + cool kids separate themselves from “the others.” Hallways begin to whisper rumors of classroom hookups, breakups, fall-outs, & beefs (including faculty b/c drama is there too 🤫). Still, the drama only goes so far, as the anxiety of another hell week looming in the not-so-distant future sets in. SILENCE in those moments as we all try desperately to hold our 💩 together.

Expect in PA School: Savage Faculty

It’s a given that there is a level of respect students are to exhibit towards professors (mutual respect!). But let’s not forget that professors are people too. People with jobs, personal lives, personalities that may clash w/yours. People who can sometimes be straight-up petty, cold & throw shade! 🍵 Granted it can be a student’s approach that elicits this response, BUT, there may come a time when a student has a genuine question, concern, or delicate situation, but instead of help/guidance, they are met with a dismissive attitude. Like you’re just another inconvenience on the to-do list. If you find yourself in this situation, ask yourself if it’s worth battling it out & if so, what’s the least sh*t-show way to do it?

Expect in PA School: The isms

During the clinical year (& career), you may encounter classism, racism, sexism, ageism…narcissism 😒 and a bunch of other isms.

I’ll put it like this, many of the people you will work with are your classmates a decade or so from now. Some will have matured, but the core beliefs may have not. I could tell you stories for days about the stuff I’ve heard and experienced … and I will, in due time sis. 

But for now, what you need to know is that it can occur. If it does, ask yourself, if it needs addressing? In the long run, finding a new preceptor or rotation site will only delay your graduation date.

expect in pa school
If you are on the receiving end of blatant harassment, racism, abuse of any kind, etc., there is no question, REPORT IT AND REQUEST AN IMMEDIATE TRANSFER! Protect yourself! 

What I’m referring to in this post, are tacky comments you may overhear in the corridors of the hospitals, clinics, and offices you will rotate through. 

*Expect in PA School Bonus* This is just something to be aware of:

Expect that quite a few of your classmates to have learning disabilities or be on the autism spectrum. Be sensitive to this and brush up on your knowledge of ASD. It’ll help you to recognize, understand, and adjust your approach.

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