If you had asked me when I was younger what I wanted to be when I grew up
If you had asked me when I was younger what I wanted to be when I grew up, never in a million years would I have thought to pursue a profession in the medical field. Like many kids, I always dreamed of being a professional athlete. It wasn’t until I was an undergrad that I had accepted the reality that I was going to major in Business Administration. Being a professional football player always lingered in the back of my mind, but I knew that school needed to take precedence if I wanted to do something with some certainty in my future. So, I began to think of ways I would be able to combine both the excitement of my childhood dream, and this new route life had taken me in. After a lot of contemplation, I figured becoming head strength and conditioning coach at my own facility would be my best bet, as I would be working with athletes of all ages and skill levels, including professional athletes.
As I strived to gain experience in the strength and conditioning realm, I begun a career as a personal trainer while pursuing my undergraduate degree, unfortunately experiencing burnout soon after and wondered if my educational pursuits were truly worth it. I took this a sign that maybe, once again, I would need to reevaluate my education and pursue goals in another direction. I wanted something different, and more fulfilling than anything else I had experienced so I began looking into different careers in medicine. After shadowing a few physicians and doing plenty of research on my own, I began looking into physician assistant programs, and eventually committed making this career my future. While I understand that a PA may experience the same stress and demanding nature of the job as a physician at times, there were many things about the PA profession that appealed to me; more than any other career in healthcare. I enjoy the fact that as a PA, I will be part of the diagnostic side of medicine. Being able to diagnose, and create a plan of action for my patients is exciting to me because it is not only challenging, but also encourages me to constantly further my education and broaden my knowledge while in the field. I like that PAs can work in many different specialties, as opposed to only one – whereas if I had chosen the doctor route, I would have to do another residency if I wanted to explore different opportunities. As a PA, I’ll enjoy being part of a team, and contributing my knowledge and effort to help my team become more efficient and successful in the workplace. In addition to these benefits, having a supervising physician to consult with on a regular basis is something that is very comforting. I enjoy sharing my ideas with, and learning from other professionals who come from different backgrounds other than myself, both educational and lifestyle, because it broadens my knowledge while keeping me motivated and engaged.
Since making this decision, I decided to continue a personal training business full time to help pay for my undergraduate degree in Exercise Science, which has given me a strong background in nutrition, anatomy, and physiology. Personal training has been a positive experience for me since I’ve been able to help many different people with an array of fitness goals, in addition to being able to offer my free time as a volunteer. For the past 3 years, every weekend, I have held a free class lasting one hour, which I open to the public and those who may not be able to afford the luxury of a private personal trainer, and put them through a workout and make time for any questions or concerns regarding fitness.
In my current job as an ER Tech I’ve been given the chance to gain hands on experience, working alongside PAs, with patients who come from a variety of health issues and backgrounds. This job has allowed me to experience the caregiver-patient relationship, which will be extremely beneficial as a PA. My overall work experience has helped developed excellent decision-making, and time management skills. I’m capable of working as part of a team, as an individual, and someone who can take orders and execute them.
Though the path to this point has changed from the start, my dream of assisting others with their needs and desires was never put on hold; the setting just changed. Instead of being a coach who assists athletes by improving their on-field performance and eventually sending them to the NFL or MLB, I’ll be able to assist people from all walks of life by improving healthcare quality and accessibility in whichever community I’d be fortunate enough to serve in.