Believe me when I say I was not the perfect PA school candidate.
- I had a less-than-desirable GPA.
- I avoided the GRE like the plague that it is.
- I got an "F" in high school calculus.
But despite all of this, I still got into PA school... a top 10 PA school!
All the haters out there will cringe and say that I didn't deserve it. That I stole a seat from a "more qualified candidate." By more qualified, I assume they mean an applicant with a GPA of 4.0 or a graduate from an Ivy League college or a GRE score in the top ninety-nine percentile. You know the standard metrics used by those with zero life skills in an attempt to tear down the rest of us.
It's not that I didn't have my fair share of rejection. My college guidance counselor told me that I should consider an academic path "more suited to my lack of innate academic ability." Ok, I'm being a bit of a drama queen, but this is how I interpreted it.
Thank goodness I chose not to buy into the conventional belief that an "A" in organic chemistry was the determining factor of what makes a good healthcare practitioner.
What makes a good healthcare practitioner?
When I was a senior in high school, I won the St. Francis De Sales award - it's an award given out to one boy and one girl each year who "demonstrate excellence in faith development, scholarship, service, leadership, and citizenship."
These are important words to consider. This is what they mean to me:
- Faith development - a determination to understand and share in the human experience.
- Scholarship - a commitment to lifelong learning.
- Service - placing the needs of others above oneself.
- Leadership - placing the needs of others above oneself (yes, this is not a misprint - leadership is service).
- Citizenship - being part of something bigger than oneself.
Patient care demands that we walk the turbulent path of life alongside our patients.
As healthcare providers, we must share in the human experience (faith development). Medicine requires an insatiable hunger for learning and a relentless revision of our practice (scholarship). We lead through service and the care of others more than anything else (insert - the Hippocratic oath). We are called upon to be stewards of the health and social welfare of our communities.
How the heck did I get into PA school?
Although I followed up that "F" in high school calculus with a solid "B" at University, this is not the reason I got into PA school.
I got into PA school (in the face of a ruthless and relentless pre-med track) by staying true to what I observed in the world around me - a world where kindness, faith in people, a commitment to continuous learning, leadership through service, and a moral obligation to help my community - are the qualities of human excellence that matter most.
Let's be honest; it doesn't take a genius to diagnose erythema infectiosum or learn to optimize a patient's hemoglobin A1C. But this is not what we need most in our 21'st century healthcare providers.
I got into PA school for the reason that everyone should.
Stephen Pasquini PA-C