The Path of Least Resistance: Tips for Cruising Through PA School (and rockin’ at it too)

Hey Everyone!

Welcome to another blog post! Today, I wanted to give you a few more tips for success in PA school. Full disclosure: this post was actually inspired by UW-Madison’s Medical School. I was at their medical school “Second Look Day” with my boyfriend this past weekend, and they touched on some important qualities and habits of their most successful students (like, they graduated med school with a 4.0…amazing!).


So here is my spin on those qualities, but twisted into a PA student view of them!

Hope you enjoy ūüôā

  1. They stick to a schedule…¬†ABSOLUTELY! If you’re anything like me (which most of you are considering PA school usually attracts type A personalities to some level or another) you love schedules and being organized. Life just goes better when you are prepared and have some order to your studying technique. Now, this doesn’t mean planning your time out to the second, but writing out a list of things you’d like to accomplish for the day gives you some structure. For example, I usually have in my mind “hey, I would like to start studying for pharmacology tonight for my GI exam and I’m going to dedicate the majority of my evening to this”…and then I write it on a list to keep myself accountable to this goal. It gives my day some direction, and it makes me feel accomplished going to bed at night knowing I was able to complete things on my list (yes, I am one of those people).
  2. ¬† …but they also don’t freak out when their schedule changes: the¬†key to surviving school: flexibility. Life outside of school is going to happen, and you’re going to feel a lot less stressed if you just go with the flow and know that it is ok to change your schedule around. Yes, still put the time into your studies…but if cutting out 2 hours of your studying means you’re able to attend an impromptu family dinner I’d say that’s probably worth it!
  3. Cutting Out the Distractions– yes, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are all some of my favorite things…but chances are unless you are some super genius who sucks in your school work via osmosis or have a photographic memory…you’re going to dedicate a lot of time to studying. So if you want to be successful in school, you’re going to have to cut a few things out of your life to accommodate for your new studying schedule. Yes, it can be sad to know that you may have to miss out on your shows during the school year, but think of that killer binge watch you can have after you finish that last final (total disclaimer: I still watch Netflix throughout the semester but not nearly as much as I used to…so like, moderation is what I’m getting at here)!
  4. Ask Questions– I’ve heard over and over that the smartest people ask the most questions. PA school is all new information for me (and most students), and there are a lot of diseases, procedures, and a zillion other things that I have no idea about! Yes, I want to know more about EVERYTHING. Questions will come up, and a lot of the time it is on you to get the answers! ¬†There are times you may feel dumb because you think you should know the answer but don’t… but it will never be as dumb as you’ll feel when you attempt to “fake it til you make it” and get called out by your preceptor during¬†clinicals or miss out on points on your exam. Just ask! It will make you a better student and eventually a better practitioner too!¬†pupps
  5. Laugh At Yourself– Never take yourself too seriously. There are going to be times you’re going to mess up, not know an answer, or just say something stupid (or maybe that’s just me?). Knowing that you’re going through the learning process (emphasis on learning) and that you’re not expected to know every answer at any given time takes a lot of pressure off of you! PA school is hard, but it should always be fun! So take a step back, realize that you are a human being and not perfect, and enjoy the ride! ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†laugh¬†(PA school got me like)

Making it through PA school is an artform. It takes focus, dedication, and sacrificing some free time. To the average person, it might be too much to take on…but you have already embarked down the path to becoming a PA…proving you are already extraordinary!!

So all your current or future PA-er’s out there…you’ve totally got this ūüôā


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1 Comment

  1. Emilia
    April 14, 2017 / 10:11 pm

    You have a good point about being able to binge watch shows you missed during the semester!! Love your posts. Thank you for this. I start in 3 weeks. AHHH.