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Peer Advice: 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting PA School

Photo of the SPAS class of 2025

Congratulations on getting into PA school! Here are 5 things I wish I knew before starting:

1. Make a schedule and try to stick to it. Write out your priorities and then find a way to fit them in. Sleep, health, relaxation, time with loved ones… it’s a marathon, not a sprint! Make sure you pause and reflect from time to time to remind yourself of all you have accomplished. PA school is not for the faint of heart and you are making sacrifices to be here.

2. You will evolve in every way. You as a person, your study skills and techniques, your relationships, your schedule… all of it will change, and then it will change again. Embrace it and ride the wave instead of trying to fight against it and swim upstream.

3. Don’t try to fit everything into a perfect box. A lot of us are type A and we want to know the “right answer.” But sometimes the right answer is yes, no, and sometimes. Remember we are learning about the human body — no two people are EXACTLY the same, and a lot of the functions are not either. We like charts and categories; it helps us group and simplify. But not everything fits in a perfect chart, and that’s okay. Learn to embrace the gray area and accept it for what it is.

Photo of PA students after their cast lab

4. PA school is both exciting and terrifying. Both exhilarating and exhausting. Both fun and sometimes boring. Both challenging and rewarding. It is all these things and more. Try to lean into the experience instead of becoming overwhelmed by it. Allow yourself time and space to feel everything you are feeling. You don’t want to blink and it all be over. This is such an incredible and unique time to invest in yourself, your education, your future career. And also, to invest in others — build relationships with your classmates. They will be your PA colleagues one day and it will always be nice to phone a friend.

Photo of the SPAS Class of 2025 on the commons

5. YOU are meant to be here. YOU were hand selected out of hundreds of thousands. Remember the person you were when you started this journey. Remember how bad you wanted to be exactly where you are right now. Remember how many hours of hard work you put in to get where you are now. You should be proud of yourself. Don’t lose that spark!