Name: Amber Henry
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Name of Undergraduate Institution: Georgia State University
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Major: Biology, Minor: Chemistry
Name of PA School: South University Physician Assistant Program
Favorite Quote: “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” – Proverbs 31:25
Contact Info: AmbzThePA@gmail.com
Blog → White Coat Dreams
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I currently just completed my first year of Physician Assistant school. I am in my final quarter of my didactic year and will start rotations in April.
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell her?
Time is precious! My freshman year of college I spent a lot of time “playing around” and partying, and I did not take school serious enough. This, of course, was detrimental to my GPA starting out, and it is a lot easier to keep your GPA high versus raising it later on. I did not know how to study starting out, and I had the childish mindset that I could just cram the night before like I did in high school and still do well. Of course, that was rarely the case! In high school, everything came naturally to me in regards to school, so I thought this would also translate to college. This was not the case, and I soon had to “teach” myself how to study. This meant finding out what type of learner I was, finding the right environment that worked best for me when I was studying, etc. It wasn't until my junior year of college that I got comfortable with my study methods. My first year of college, I spent a lot of wasted time figuring out how to study and retaking classes. If I would have done it right the first time, I would have saved a lot of time (and money).
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar path as yours?
Go for it! I told one of my Biology professors (in whom's class I also had an A+ in) that I wanted to become a doctor (in college I was pre-med, I didn’t switch over to pre-PA until I graduated). He looked over my transcript (mind you, my first year or 2 of undergrad wasn’t the best but at the time, my GPA was a 3.4), and said “that I would not be able to become a doctor and I needed to pursue something else.” Of course, I was so confused about what he said, so I made him repeat himself (because I KNEW I misheard what he said), and he repeated word for word what he said before. He said “my grades were not good enough and I was not fit to become a doctor.” Before he could finish taking more shots at my ego, I packed up my stuff, thanked him for his services, and walked out. From that day forward, I never looked back and wanted to prove him wrong. Granted, I did not become a doctor, but it was not because of my GPA. But for those who have people telling you that “you are not good enough,” brush those haters off and pursue your dreams! The only person that can hold you back from being great is yourself. Find yourself a mentor. Surround yourself with positive people. Seek others who are in the position that you desire to be in, and go for it!
What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to PA schools?
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH! I am a planner, so I made a table of my stats, top 10-20 schools and their requirements, application deadlines and start date. I compared my stats to their minimum requirements and decided if I was a good fit for them. By doing this, I was able to eliminate schools that were most likely not the best fit for me and focus on the schools that were. Another thing is to find a mentor, see how they applied and listen to their application tips and pearls. Also, I would apply as early as possible. Some PA schools are on rolling admission, so they accept students as they interview versus waiting until all of the interviews are finished.
Do you have any passions outside of school? If so, what are they?
I love writing! In the future, I want to become an author, and currently, I have a blog (www.whitecoatdreams.com) where I share with others my journey through PA school and provide tips for those who want to pursue a career in medicine. I am also interested in real estate and want to flip houses in the future.
What do you do to get through the stressful nature of PA school?
To deal with stress, I make sure I work out at least 3-4 times a week. Despite my busy schedule, I allot time to get a good workout in. There was one quarter where I slacked off and did not work out as much, and I could tell a big difference in my mood (and pants size, lol). I advise anyone to find something to get their minds off the stresses of school whether that is working out, sleeping, watching television, etc. It is okay not to study 24/7 and do not feel guilty if you are not. Mental health is very important, and it is something that is often ignored when it comes to taking care of yourself.
This is such fantastic advice Amber! Thank you so much for taking the time to share some of your pearls of wisdom with us and for allowing us to learn from your experiences! Keep up the awesome work that you're doing with your blog and best of luck to you as you prepare for your clinical rotations!
Posted on February 24th, 2018