PA Alumni Connection—Winter 2017
Parenting and PA School
Most students find PA school to be a formidable challenge. A few students not only handle the rigors of PA school, but also the joys and demands of parenthood. Gil Manco ’19, who is in his didactic year, speaks with great affection about the sacrifices his two young boys make to help him pursue his goal. Kelley Summers ’18, who is in her experiential year, speaks with pride on how her children have become independent problem solvers during her time in PA school. Manco and Summers both emphasize that having a supportive spouse who is willing to take on extra responsibility, is fundamental in being able to manage the intense commitment of PA school.
Both Manco and Summers had full-time jobs before starting PA school. They note that handling a family and work is different than managing a family and PA school. Manco explains, “You can never really turn off school.” “PA school is more than just a full-time job,” notes Summers. Summers says of the faculty and preceptors, “I really feel like everyone is in my corner to help me get the best education but still be there for my family.”
Finding time to study in an already impossibly tight schedule is a challenge. Manco rises early and tries to arrive on campus between 6:00 and 7:00 AM to study, and usually stays on campus until 5:00 PM. Once home, it is hard to separate from the kids, so Manco gets as much done as he possibly can away from home. Summers uses every spare minute of down time to study—re-listening to lectures while driving and working out, and posting notes all over the house with little bits of information. Summers explains that, “Studying becomes a lifestyle and your brain never really just shuts down.”
Manco plays basketball as one way to manage the stress of PA school while Summers chooses to work out, have family time, and read her bible. They both praise their fellow classmates for the understanding and support they give; from listening when the stress is high, to study groups, to flexibility with group projects.
Both Summers and Manco enthusiastically say that PA school and family life is doable. Summers’ advises future students that, “PA School will be hard, and you will have to ask for help from the people around you, but it is worth it.” Manco encourages future students to, “keep your eye on the goal—remember your plan—especially on those really tough days.”