Going from stay at home mom to physician assistant brought up many concerns. The ones I struggled with most on my way to PA-C are highlighted in this article.
Reason #1 – Lack of support:
Family was around, but we all had life going on—Marriage, kids, careers, personal life stuff, etc. For emergencies, I knew they would be there, but for daily life, I was going to have to get creative, while navigating a divorce and co-parenting.
Solution: I had 2yrs to sort things out and create a community. Preparing for the worst-case scenario when it came to my ex and his relationship with our daughter, (thankfully he is a devoted father who stuck around) and networking to build a support system were part of my planning for pa school. I used the resources available to me (extended childcare hours), networking by becoming more active in my church and community. The rest just fell into place. Read Building a support system for more details.
Reason #2 – Lack of funds
PA school is expensive, and it is strongly discouraged to work while enrolled. So how would I keep a roof over our heads and food on the table?
Solution: I’m a veteran (don’t start the struggle olympics), so I knew education benefits were available. I used the internet to research more info and schedule an appointment with a VBA rep to take a closer look at my eligibility and options. My benefits would cover tuition and equipment plus a fixed monthly living costs stipend. Being on a fixed income meant that I would need to get my money and spending habits in order. I hopped on the Dave Ramsey plan and haven’t turned back since 😌
Reason #3 – Lack of confidence
I didn’t believe in myself. In the beginning, I found everything that I perceived to be wrong with me and my experience; convincing myself that I would never make it. More than imposter syndrome, this was a question of value and self-worth. Was I worthy or able to do this?
Solution: Everything was in order; the only person in my way was me. Once I shifted my focus onto all of the things I did have, what made me stand out, my experiences and qualities; all that I thought were limitations turned out to be my greatest assets. So much so, that my acceptance call came the same day as my interview.
I spent most days ( And at times still do) thinking about whether or not I should be here. Some days the not-enoughitz get the best of me, but I’ll be damned if I stay down there. My why and my faith always bring me back to my senses. That and my daughter, who is looking up to me as a role model.
Reason #4 – Doing Too Damn Much:
I’m a multitasker and execution-oriented person. I like to get stuff done! Sometimes I take on too much, burning myself out in the process. At one point, I convinced myself that I could successfully take two years of courses in 3 semesters if I just sucked it up and got it done! That way, I could submit my CASPA the following cycle and be a PA-C by “x” date.
Solution: Life has a way of reminding me to sit my ass down somewhere! 😂 A few bumps along the road helped me realize that there was absolutely no reason to rush. I want to do this well the first time. Taking a moment to sit and think through a realistic strategy was vital. Doing this quieted a lot of the not-enoughitz, allowing me to focus on creating a detailed step-by-step plan. My only regret was not scheduling enough breaks and free time. If I did, pa school would’ve likely happened a few years later.
Getting past these hurdles was the majority of the battle. Most of them were mental but every single one of them had an answer. I just had to be still long enough to recognize them.
The solutions are never far away.