Student Spotlight - Amber
Hometown: Evansville, Indiana
BS in Biology & MS in Occupational Therapy from University of Southern Indiana. OTD (Clinical Doctorate) in Occupational Therapy from University of St. Augustine.
What made you want to be a PA?
My first exposure to PAs was when I was working as an OT, collaborating as part of a treatment team. I completed evaluations and treating patients in this treatment team but I found myself admiring the PA role, their general medical knowledge, and application to patient care. A lot of consideration went into deciding to go back to PA school but ultimately, I wanted to expand my medical education and my role within the medical profession.
Why UEPA? Or what makes UEPA different than other PA Programs?
I chose UEPA because I wanted to stay within the Evansville community and was excited to be part of something that will have such a positive impact on our community. The program here is also its own community in a lot of ways. Being a part of the first matriculating class is very exciting. The PA program director and professors are genuine and supportive of us as a class and individuals. I think a lot of the time, that our successes mean as much to them as they do to us.
Did you do anything that really helped you prepare for PA School?
I think I did review anatomy and physiology before beginning school but I am unsure how much it truly helped me. In retrospect, I perhaps should have enjoyed my time before beginning classes and not felt stressed to necessarily “prepare”. Our professors have organized the curriculum in a sequential way to best facilitate our knowledge base, and it starts the first day!
What do you find is your biggest challenge in being a PA student?
I think the biggest challenge for me has been finding balance between school and family. Thankfully, I have a great support system. I think that balancing everything is a skill in which I have become better, but I have also is acknowledged that during this time in my life, there might not be perfect balance every single day.
If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
To think about going back to the beginning of this journey makes me realize how far I have really come. I believe in life (and in this program) that it is always better to listen twice as much as you make statements. Listening really gives you the opportunity to learn something new or learn a new perspective, when you speak you are just repeating what you already know. Also…..Be open minded, trust the journey, trust yourself, and don’t give up because difficulties now will make you that much better later.
What is the one thing about PA school you weren’t prepared for?
I was not prepared to confront how much I really did not know about medicine, and feeling every day that I still know “nothing”. Sometimes the more you know…the more you realize that you don’t know. Gaining medical knowledge is definitely a journey and one that will continue for my entire career in medicine. I have felt overwhelmed by the vastness more often than not, but I believe that perhaps that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
How hard is it………really???
Honestly, it is difficult but I don’t want to scare anyone away from beginning PA school. As Tom Hanks says in the movie A League of Their Own “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard…. is what makes it great.” I think there is a lot to be said about working hard and believing in yourself, those two things are a great start to making a successful PA student.