Chi Nguyen Chi Nguyen, PA-S

It is hard to believe that there is only one week left of clinical year. Ten years ago when I was working as a manager for my family’s construction business, I didn’t even know what a PA was, much less think I’d be back in school, and married with a 3-year-old son. Now, six years after learning about this amazing profession, I will soon be a PA and have the privilege of being a trusted member of patients’ lives.

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Tiffani Chang Tiffani Chang, PA-S

Last winter, a video uploaded on YouTube went viral with over a million views. This popular video showed a small cub climbing up a steep, snow-covered slope in Eastern Russia. The cub repeatedly slips and falls down the treacherous slope as its mother waits at the top of the slope. This heart-wrenching, thrilling video shows the cub’s never-ending perseverance to succeed.  

As I reflect on my first year of PA school, I look back and picture myself as this cub throughout the year, constantly struggling and falling down. With the daily grind of lectures, assignments and exams, I wrestled with stress, fatigue, and discouragement as the intensity of the program persisted. I thought about what I need to prepare, what I need to study, and what I did not know. But like this cub, I had an incredible support system of classmates, family, friends, and Duke PA faculty — my mama and papa bears — that helped me keep my eyes set toward the top and remember my "why."

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Mowita Kensinger Mowita Kensinger, PA-S

A memory that I often think back on is that of being a young girl on my neighbor’s farm, peering out over the pasture, searching my thoughts for the reason that my heart did not quite feel settled. I did this often and could always trace it back to a feeling of excitement and joy, or worry and fear. Sometimes that fear was proportional to my stature: would I have to go home before the cows came in for the night and not get to sit on Queeny, the friendly white heifer, while she milked?

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Kiarash Rahmanian, PA-S Kiarash Rahmanian, PA-S

Marie Curie famously wrote, “Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”

But, people come up with the ideas and these ideas may be about people, so what did she truly mean by this? I think she wrote these words to encompass that ideas or theories draw our curiosity at first, and should be the foundation of any new research. But, she did not delineate that curiosity about people is what drives scholarly investigation. In my case, this has held to be true.

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Alice Curchin, PA-S Alice Curchin, PA-S

Prior to PA school, I worked in a high school teaching health literacy. I loved working with my students to help them reach their academic and personal dreams, but I often found my knowledge base coming up short when they needed me to provide information on more complex medical issues. I did not have the tools to help them process their history of trauma, their new diabetes diagnosis, or how to treat their three-month old infant’s rash. Working with these students, I shared in their confusion and felt paralyzed by our combined lack of medical knowledge.

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