TJ Scarey

Hey! I’m from Albany, NY and I’m 1 of 38 physician assistant students with a 3 month (since 6/2011) history of severe stress. It is associated with marked thoracic kyphosis, scapular protraction, and elbow bursitis (likely due to maintenance of a constant studying position). Here’s the thing though, I love it!

See, I was the guy in undergrad who was having a great time, not a care in the world. I did what I needed to do to get good grades but not an ounce more. I had no drive to excel or to apply myself. Everyone told me “you’re so young, you have so much time to decide what you want to do,” so I had no direction. Turns out, the real world hits you after college. Luckily, I fell into the medical field and found that I was home. So I worked hard as a medical assistant for 3 years with my eyes on the prize of becoming a practitioner of medicine. So here I am, working harder than I’ve ever worked but with a purpose that makes it rewarding and fun. And now I’m on here, the blogger site, to share my experiences with whoever wants to read.    TJ

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  1. Great Blog , currently applying for 2012 any more advice

  2. The faculty and other admissions staff say that a well rounded application (and later, interview)is paramount in their decision. However, if I had to guess at 1 thing that got me into the program over all else, I would guess it was my recommendation letters.

    I worked very hard at my job that I had before coming here. I fostered great relationships with my co-workers, including the providers (PAs and physicians) that I worked for. I was also in constant communication with them so that they knew 3 things:
    -I wanted to do the best job that I could for them and be the most effective member of the team that I could be.
    -I was very open and responsive to both constructive criticism (or occasionally even unconstructive criticism) as well as anything they happened to want to teach me.
    -I was determined to progress to a higher level of healthcare professional.

    I had 1 PA and 2 docs write recommendation letters for me. One of the docs actually gave me a copy of what she had written (even though it’s obviously not the normal thing to do) and it blew me away! She really went to bat for me and I would be willing to bet that the other 2 did as well. I’d also be willing to bet that those letters solidified my interview spot.

    Anyway, my advice is to work hard and do what you can to make the people that you’re currently working for know that you are driven and committed.

    That’s probably more than you wanted to read, sorry!

  3. I feel like I’m in the same boat as the undergrad you. I’m about to graduate from undergrad this May with little direction. I am, however, about to begin a medical assisting program in hopes of gaining some experience in the medical field. I do plan on advancing to a higher level in the future, but my current undergrad science grades aren’t up to par–I always did just enough to pass. I was just wondering if you had to retake any courses (or take refresher courses) or go back to school to finish up requirements for PA school. Any advice you may have is greatly appreciated. (:
    (Sorry for the lengthy comment)

  4. I didn’t have to retake anything. I didn’t apply myself like I am doing now but I graduated with about a 3.5 with all of my science classes in an acceptable range. However, when I finally made up my mind about being a PA, it turned out I had to take a lot of pre-reqs that I missed. So, I put everything I had into those pre-reqs I took and maintained a 4.0 in everything I did post-undergrad degree. Later on, when applying and interviewing, I tried to highlight my determination and the rigor I had put into my studies now that I had a clear and desired direction.

    I don’t know if this helps. I don’t know exactly what your grades are and what classes you have to take. My advice would be to check on the pre-req classes for whatever programs you are going to apply to and make sure that you have competitive grades in as many as possible (physician assistant programs are all highly competitive and OHSU is probably one of the most competitive). If this means taking them over, then that’s what you do.

    Good luck! It might be a long journey but one day at a time it will fly by.

    And don’t apologize for lengthy comments, I’m happy to get them (and leave them in return).

  5. Great blog, I am applying for 2013 admission and am filling out the supplemental. They ask, “Describe your specific interest in OHSU PA program.” Anything that you feel stands out with your school against others or something that you look forward to would be helpful. I know OHSU is very competitive and ranked number 6 in U.S. News Report. It is a very prestigious University; however every applicant will put that. I was just wondering if an insider could give me some direction on what makes this intense program stand out which in turn will hopefully make my application stand out.
    John Scully
    Ps. your last name cracks me up and has got to get some great remarks

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