If you’re serious about embarking on this PA journey, there needs to be a plan. You can’t jump into this blind and hope it will work itself out. It won’t! And you will fall flat on your face. The PA program by itself feels like the floodgates of hell have opened and swallowed you alive. Adding a family to that equation is borderline suicide. Okay, I’m exaggerating… kind of. But you get my point, planning is imperative! It’s likely that nothing will go according to plan, in fact, I can assure you that most of it won’t, but at least you have a blueprint. A map to guide you when all hell starts to break loose, and it will. Below are some basics questions that you should be able to answer in your planning process.
- Your Why?
Why do you want to be a PA? The struggles on this journey you are about to partake are not for the faint of heart. There needs to be a strong passion for why you want to enroll in probably one of the most rigorous academic programs of your life. Once you have your “why”, write it down and post it somewhere as a reminder. Later you will use that same “why” to lay the foundation for your CASPA essay.
- Your What?
What are your barriers? Other than being a wife/mom/adult; what stands in the way of you and the PA dream? Could it be time, money, lack of support, negative thoughts/self-doubt, no experience, etc? Bottom line is that at this stage in life, you are no stranger to obstacles. You have seen Murphy’s Law in its full effect and you know that it doesn’t stop for anyone or anything. Make a list of what’s been holding you back and pray on it. Periodically you will come back to this list and see that a) the problems aren’t as big as they once seemed and b) the solutions aren’t far away.
[Murphy’s Law- anything that can go wrong, will go wrong]
- Your Who?
Who is going to help you? You cannot, I repeat you cannot do this alone. You need a strong support system if you plan on coming out of PA school alive. There will be a few mental breakdowns along the way. In addition to the emotional support, you will need full hands-on-help with your children and maybe even some financial provisions from time to time. If you can’t think of anyone that can help you in this way, it’s time to fine-tune your circle of friends and family.
- Your When?
When do you plan on applying? Be realistic when answering this question. You must take into consideration what Prerequisites, if any, need to be completed. How much Patient Care Experience (PCE) do you have/need? When is the last time you that you worked/ volunteered? Any community or church involvement? How long will it take you to complete the requirements and be a competitive applicant? Answer honestly! I suggest that you pull up the requirements for the school you wish to apply and compare it to an up-to-date resume and your college transcripts. Once you see where the gaps are it will be easier to develop a focused plan.
- Your How?
PA School requires a lot of time and a lot of money, so How do you plan on getting it all done? During both undergrad and graduate school, you still have responsibilities. You must feed and clothe the children, help them with homework, pay your tuition/bills/unexpected emergencies plus all the other incidentals and necessities that will come up along the way. If budgeting and time management is on your new year’s resolution list, here’s a good reason to get started.
- Your Where?
Deciding on where you want to attend school is a very important question to ask yourself. Are you going to stay local and commute? Will you move to another county or another state? Everyone’s situation is different with multiple aspects to consider including property, finances, child custody, and relationships. For some people moving could solve their support system dilemma and for others, it could be a total nightmare. Whatever you decide, just make sure that it is the best decision for both you and your family.
Hopefully, I didn’t scare you, that wasn’t the intent. I just want you to have a clear understanding of what you should be doing to successfully come into this program. I am a woman of faith and I don’t believe God will give you a passion or bring you this far just to watch you fail/quit. With lots of prayers and a clear vision of where you’re supposed to go, becoming a PA student mom is difficult but possible.