Student Government During PA School
In high school and college, I was never involved in student government. I always considered the student council to be out of reach due to my own academic and athletic responsibilities. The same mindset followed me into PA school. When talk of running for office came around, I retracted like a turtle. I was overly hesitant this time because of the unknown academic realm of graduate education. I would only consider being a student officer if it really grabbed my attention.
Well, needless to say, something caught my eye. However, my only concern was the time commitment and if living 50 miles from school would interfere. One of the upperclassmen described the Assembly of Representatives (AOR) position and immediately it struck a chord. Going into PA school, I desired to be involved at a national level in the advocacy of the physician assistant profession. The AOR is the student liaison between the Student Academy of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (SAAAPA) and the school. The AOR representatives attend the national conference, vote on student matters and publicize their schools while at the conference. The AOR representative then becomes the House of Delegate (HOD) representative after one year. The HOD is involved in the AAPA voting matters regarding the PA profession. I was captivated by the opportunity to be involved in the shaping of the student body and the future of the PA profession. I knew I was supposed to run for that position.
Typically in PA school, the positions are wide open because no one wants to take on more responsibility. So, it would not be uncommon to run unopposed. In my case, I did have an opponent and thankfully was elected by my class. I later found out the time commitment was much less than I thought and my 50-mile commute was not a factor. I met with the previous AOR representative to gain tips on better representing our school at the conference. It instilled immense school pride and fired me up about the coming months. Thus far, I have thoroughly enjoyed taking on this leadership role and found it to maximize my educational experience.
If given the opportunity to run for student office while in PA school, I highly recommend it. Leadership positions in PA school help to develop you as a professional by teaching much about time management and selflessness. Obviously it is important to consider if you should be taking on more during PA school. Every student is different in how they handle academics and extracurricular activities. The true perk of being a student officer is the break away from the classroom madness. So far, I am still sane and enrolled in school. It can be done.