What positions do you hold and what do you do for your PA Class?
Our first semester in school I was the Activities Chair for our class. That involved planning social things for the class, including baby showers and potlucks.
During the first summer semester, I was a Student Orientation Leader for the incoming class. This was mostly moving the incoming class from place to place and answering questions for them.
Our 2nd semester I became our student government (PASA) president and continued with that position until Feb of our 2nd year. That allowed me to become involved with all of the other student governments and have a say in some of the “bigger” issues for our campus as a whole. This also allowed me to sit in on meetings with the President and VP of the school and give input on what I felt was best for our program.
Why did you decide to get involved with these organizations?
I’ve always loved to stay busy, and I held similar positions when I was in undergrad. I felt that doing each of these positions would give me a chance to better get to know our class (and eventually the class below us) and the needs of each class. I also have a love for planning events and making people feel comfortable in their surroundings. Each of these positions gave me a chance to try to add some fun into PA school.
How do you balance the duties with school?
I readily admit to everyone that I’m not the “best” student, but I work really hard. I also tried to plan my weeks ahead of time and stick to that planned schedule. I always tried to make time in my life for things aside from studying, and that included holding these positions. When I studied, I studied hard, and when I committed to time away from studying, I also stuck to that.
How do you work with the students and faculty?
When I was PASA president, I tried to leave any bias out of conversations I had with each party. I only took concerns from students to the faculty if it was an issue that many people brought to me. However, I didn’t have to act much as a liaison between faculty and students because that was more of the job for the class officers. My position was more for the program as a whole and acting as a liaison with the other student governments. The thing I felt was important to remember each time I was doing something for my position was that I was representing our program as a whole and not myself as an individual. I tried to take all feelings and opinions into account before presenting any information at any meetings.
What has been the most difficult and rewarding thing about being involved?
The most difficult thing was always timing. There were times when (classmates and occasionally other officers) were studying for big exams, but leadership members still had to make sure PASA events were taken care of. Each month there were mandatory meetings that an officer had to attend, and sometimes that timing was not ideal. These are things that I was honestly more than happy to do because I loved my position, but it definitely got stressful at times.
There are so many rewarding things about getting involved. Having these positions allowed me to build many relationships with my classmates, the class below us, and even with people from other programs. I feel it’s important to connect with people and remember why we are going through this journey. True joy came to me when people enjoyed events I took part in planning or meetings that our PASA officers put together. I also loved working with the other officers and seeing what strong, intelligent, hardworking women represent our program (sorry there weren’t any guy PASA officers!). I felt so lucky to have been involved in such a powerhouse team.
What advice do you have for students who are interested in getting involved?
Know your limitations! That being said, don’t be too afraid to get involved if that’s something you enjoy. I noticed in both my class and the class below me that people were afraid to sign up for officer positions (both class officers & PASA) despite wanting to do so. You will be able to do it if you’re able to find a good balance in your life – and the same goes for having fun and spending time with people you love. Find the things that fulfill you, and do them! That’s what will make PA school bearable.