Reflecting on the First Quarter of School

As it being a new year, I am taking the time to reflect on last year, and I am amazed at how God has been changing my life! If you were to tell me at the beginning of 2017 that by 2018 I would be living in California, I would have not believed you.

So today I am solely focusing on the first quarter of graduate school. There were some happy times, some break downs, and some laughs, but as I reflect on it I really enjoyed the experience. I met 15 AMAZING people that are in my program who helped me get though the first quarter. Here are somethings that I learned throughout the first quarter of Pathologists’ Assistant school:

1. You will study more than you have ever studied before
I would go to class for about four hours a day and study for about eight hours. But you have to do it! That is why the program suggest that you do not get a job. It took me a while to figure out what worked best for me when it comes to studying but I slowly figured it out. For me, I have to create summary pages of the information as well as notecards. Lots and lots of notecards (below is a picture of all the notecards just from first quarter!) This is literally your job for the next two years therefore all your time is spent preparing for class and exams.


2. Lean on your classmates, they will be your everything!
Everyone in our class gets along really well but no matter the program you need to relay on your classmates for support and help. Do not be afraid to ask them questions. It is nice to have someone who is going through the same experience that you are going through at the same time. You can study with them and even vent and have a break down (or two) with them. Your classmates will be your rock and help you get through the program together. Especially for me, some of my classmates are shaping into becoming some of my best friends. We celebrate each other’s birthdays every month and celebrate big holidays with each other.

3. You will cry and it’s ok!
Being in any graduate school program is hard. Especially if you haven’t been in school recently, and you are more than 2,000 miles away from your family! You will get overstressed at times and will have a breakdown. Just let it happen. I had two the week of finals, but it will be ok. Sometimes you just need to cry it out, and that will make you feel better. If it is really bad and happening all the time, maybe go talk to a friend or someone to get help!

(Loma Linda University provides free and confidential counseling to all students through the Student Assistance Program. In emergency situations, 911 should be called. Associate Dean for Student Affairs Dr. Henry Lamberton is also available to all School of Medicine students as a point of contact to discuss school or personal concerns and to make recommendations for mental health professionals.)

4. Do not be afraid to ask for help
Our program at Loma Linda University is so great! Our program director and professors really care about our education and well being. If I have a question about anything, they have an open-door policy and are willing to stop what they are doing to make sure that I understand everything. They have obviously been through a Pathologists’ Assistant program and therefore they can empathizes with us!

5. I am so grateful to be attending Loma Linda University!
Every week on Wednesday we have Chapel, which is mandatory. I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have to attend a school where we hear about the gospel weekly and get to worship God. I also love how our professors are allowed to pray with us before exams. Because of being in this setting I have grown closer in my relationship with Christ, and I am excited to see how this will reflect through my career in the future.

6. Last but not least: Take time for yourself! 

Being in a stressful program, you need to take time to have fun and be social! Below is a picture from when some of my classmates and I got tickets to the James Corden show in LA! The guest were Hugh Jackman and John Cena. It was such a fun experience. One thing that I enjoy doing for myself is going to see movies. It is a relaxing time where I do not have to study and I can enjoy something that I love.


To anyone that is interested in this program, I am not trying to deter you from it, just trying to be honest. It is a lot of work but it is really rewarding! You will be really prepared for your job in the future and make great friends along the way.

Meghan Dorrell, first-year pathologists’ assistant student

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