Megan Jastremski

Physician Assistant Program: Central Michigan University
Matriculated:  2013

April 17, 2014

I am currently finishing up my third semester of PA School! I can hardly believe it, the time has really flown by. This semester, however, has been the hardest thus far. With 24 Credits, I have found it hard to find a lot of extra time to study during the week--so most of my weekends consist of catching up on school work. I actually enjoy the weekends because it gives me the chance to catch up on everything that I have learned that week! My classes this semester are Psychiatry, Pharm II, History and Physical Exam III, Clinical Problem Solving II, Diagnostics II, Scientific Basis of Medicine II, Clinical Procedures, and Clinical Medicine II. I am in class Tuesday-Thursday, have labs on Friday, and have my mentorship on Monday.

Having a mentorship in a Family Practice office every Monday is by far my favorite part about this program. I LOVE my mentorship!!! My mentor is an MD and has taught me so much already. Plus, it is nice to be able to apply what I am learning in class to real-life experiences. My mentor lets me see some patients by myself, which is a great opportunity to learn how to talk to patients, take a history, and practice doing a physical exam. This opportunity is pretty unique to CMU's program and am SO happy that I get to take part in it.

I will finish up my didactic year this summer, then start my clinical rotations in August. I have eight different five week rotations, with one week between each rotation for testing. I am nervous for clinicals but so excited to put everything into practice!I find it a little hard to believe that I now know how to take a comprehensive patient history, can do a full or focused physical exam, and am able to come up with differential diagnoses. It amazes me how much I have learned in a little less than a year. 

Another extra tip to all the pre-PA's out there: PA school gets very overwhelming. Our professor's always tell us, "PA school is like putting your mouth around a fire hose and having it turned on full blast." Sometimes I feel like I am drowning in new information, but looking back to last May I can hardly believe how far my classmates and I have come. Despite the stress, I am so incredibly happy to be here. I have some amazing friends in this program and we are always there for each other. I am SO happy with my decision to come to PA school and every second of being overwhelmed and sleep deprived is worth it.

December 9, 2013

It is currently finals week of my second semester of PA School. We have 7 finals this week! After this week, I will already be halfway done with my didactic year! This semester has been truly amazing. I have learned so much that I can hardly believe how much more I know now than I did 16 weeks ago. This semester I had 20 credits that consisted of: Clinical Medicine (focusing on the topics of Cardiology and Pulmonology), Cardiac and Pulmonary Physiology, EKG, Chest X-ray, OBGYN, History and Physical Exam II, Pharmacology and Clinical Problem Solving. Along with these classes, on Monday's I spend all day following a Family Practice MD to get a feel for what it is like to start seeing patient's. My Family Practice mentor that I follow is really awesome and has taught me so many things. I love having the opportunity to get to apply the information I am learning in my classes to a patient setting. Having a mentor and spending one day a week out in the field is something that is pretty unique to CMU's PA program and I am so happy that I get to take part in it! 

Another opportunity that I have gotten to take part in this semester is that I got to attend the Michigan Academy of Physician Assistant (MAPA) conference in Traverse City this October. This was a blast!!! Our school provided funding for us to stay in the condos at the site of the conference and meals were provided. I got to sit in on several medical talks, cheer for our team in Quiz Bowl (we took 2nd place), and even got to go wine tasting with some of my classmates. It was really great to spend an entire weekend just learning about my future profession as a Physician Assistant.

So far, I have learned that PA school is very fast paced. At CMU we have 4 semesters of classes before we start our clinical rotations. There is a lot of information being thrown at us in a very short amount of time, but my professors do a great job of organizing everything and making sure that we understand the material before we move on. The key to getting through so much material I have found, is to study every single day. There is always something more to learn! I have also learned to utilize my classmates when studying. We have a small class (41 students) and we all spend a lot of time together. My class has been really great about organizing study groups and I have found group studying to be very beneficial thus far.

My Advice for anybody who is going to be attending PA school or plans to apply: Work hard!!!! It is worth it. Study every day, it will pay off. Also, if you haven't figured it out yet, time management skills are VERY important.

In all, I am so happy that I have chosen this career path and I think the further I get into my didactic year, I will be even happier with my decision

September 3, 2013

Right now is the second week of my second semester. I can hardly believe how fast time has flown by! The first semester ended very well, and I have to say that I am very happy to be done with Anatomy.  Most PA students in the classes above me say that Anatomy is the hardest course we take as PA students because of all the time that has to be spent studying in the cadaver lab. I finished 16 credits this summer, and all 41 of my classmates came back for the fall. (which is a good sign I guess ;) ).  We had a wonderful 3 week break in August to relax and give our brains a break. I spent every minute back in the UP.

We have 20 credits this semester, so we shall stay very busy! Starting in October we all get to spend 1 day a week doing a "mentorship" where we spend the day with a Physician or PA in their clinic. I will get to spend every Monday with a Family Practice MD in Mount Pleasant. I am very excited for this because it gives me a chance to start applying and practicing some of the skills I have learned.

 
May 17, 2013:

I started PA school this past Monday, May 13 at CMU. So far, it has been very challenging and they jump into everything very quickly (we already have our first anatomy exam on Tuesday). My class is a group of 41 kids and we have every single class together. The PA staff is very helpful and friendly, and seems like they will go out of their way to make sure we succeed. So far, my classmates have been great as well, and we all collaborate and help each other during our studies. Most of us came straight from undergrad, but there are a few nontraditional students as well. I am really enjoying myself here so far, and am very happy about choosing CMU.