This is National PA Week, held each year to promote awareness about the Physician Assistant profession, and I can think of no better time to introduce Campbell’s newest class of Physician Assistant students!
It’s hard to believe, but it was only 8 weeks ago that I met my 39 fellow Campbell University Physician Assistant classmates during orientation. Some had traveled quite some distance to arrive in Buies Creek, North Carolina—from California, Colorado, and Minnesota (to name a few)—while some had come from closer by South Carolina, coastal North Carolina, Charlotte, or other parts of the state.
I’ll admit that I was a little bit nervous when I arrived for orientation (though mostly excited); I knew that the program was going to be very intense, and the proposition of being surrounded by an entirely new group of people for the ensuing 28 months was hard to wrap my head around. My nerves were quickly calmed, though. Within a day or two, it was clear to me that the people who were part of the program—students, faculty, and staff alike—were not only here for the right reasons, but were also going to make PA school a great experience. As I started learning about the other students in my class, I was amazed by the breadth of their experiences and knowledge.
The ages of the students in our class span more than two decades, and we have completed degrees at schools all over the country (mostly undergraduate degrees, and a few Master’s as well). We have two students who served in the military for many years, a former pharmaceutical rep, athletic trainers, a chemist, and people who have worked in just about every clinical and hospital setting you can imagine. Day-in and day-out, I am in awe of my classmates. I especially appreciate the knowledge they bring when we discuss subjects in which my background is weak; I can usually find someone who is able to explain a clinical condition to me because they’ve seen it!
Although it sounds cheesy, our class really does feel like a family. Each morning, we start the day together 9am, and as the day and week goes on, we share our ups and downs. We share the little things, good and bad: exhaustion at the end of an especially long day (or big test), and appreciation for a fellow student who posts a helpful video link, uploads a study guide online, or even just fills our water bottle for us during break. But the best thing we get to share is those times when we’re reminded what a wonderful profession we are entering. And those times happen often enough to make us look past tomorrow’s big test and be thankful that we’re part of the Campbell University PA program.
I’ve included a few photos from our White Coat Ceremony… check them out! More photos will be coming soon (from PA Week activities, community service events, and intramural football).
We will also soon begin featuring a few members of the class each month on the blog so that those of you interested in the program can get a better idea of our class make up… it’s pretty awesome
And, lastly, ABC 11 (a local news station) did a nice segment on the CU program, featuring several of our first year students as well as Mr. Colletti, our Program Director, and Dr. Stewart, our Medical Director. Check out the video here: http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/video?id=8835648
Enjoy the remainder of PA week!
Molly Stapleton Calabria, PAS-1
MPAP Candidate, Class of 2014