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Be Your Own Inspiration

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Behind every door is an opportunity. Within every opportunity lies the power to transform our lives. But words like “change” and “transformation” can be scary. They imply a new experience which may or may not provide us happiness and comfort.

For all the PAs and PA students reading this however, think of what motivated you to apply to PA school in the first place. Imagine how different your life would be right now if you did not take that leap of faith. Sometimes we need to embrace change in order to recognize the great potential that lies within each of us.

My personal story of change began less than one year ago. I was your average PA student attending lecture Monday through Friday, studying on the weekends, and trying my best to fit in a dinner with my family when possible.

What challenged me the most was my own inner struggle. I had a dream to be more than ordinary. To do something greater with my PA school experience than attend lectures, take exams, and strive for good grades just to graduate and pass the PANCE.

I was truly lucky enough to have a program director who recognized this dream of mine and who – rather than scoffing at or dismissing it – nurtured it and helped to make it a reality.

Through her, I learned of an opportunity to apply for a leadership position with the Student Academy of AAPA (SAAAPA). I ran for this position at AAPA Conference in May 2015, and was elected as the Northeast Regional Director for SAAAPA. Through this leadership role, I have come to recognize my own potential and worth.

The opportunity to lead and represent PA students on a national platform is one which takes courage and confidence; neither of which were qualities I had ever deemed myself possessing. However over the past seven months, my self-esteem has been boosted and my dreams are becoming reality. Why? Because I took the first step in transforming my own life. I recognized a dream, and I was determined to pursue whatever steps necessary to execute it.

I was my own inspiration.

My goal at this time is to try and inspire fellow PA students to not just get involved with leadership, but to strive to fulfill whatever dreams they may possess. At one point in the past, you probably had a dream of attending PA school. Maybe you dreamed about passing the didactic year and making it to clinical rotations. And here you are today! Those once far-fetched or implausible ambitions turned out to be nothing less than achievable.

So what holds us back? If you are anything like me, it is probably your own insecurities. You might think, “Shouldn’t I just focus on getting an A on this Medicine exam?” or “What if I just think this is something I want, and if I achieve it, how do I know that it will be worth it?”.

No one can predict the future. No one can say with certainty that if we all conquered our fears or achieved our innermost desires, we would be happy.

I am an ultimate believer in having big dreams. Whenever I thought – in the past or present – about getting involved or pursuing a dream, I would ask myself “If not me, then who?” and “If not now, then when?”.

If I did not have the courage to run for my current leadership position, then someone else would have, and I would now be sitting back watching someone else living and breathing in the moment that I have had the honor to experience.

Whether it is applying for that dream job after graduation, deciding to pursue a leadership position, or striving to achieve that childhood dream of yours, I say have the courage to pursue it. In fact, I hope you stop at nothing to attain all that your heart desires.

The love and encouragement of our friends and family is imperative in pushing us to reach for the stars, but ultimately the key to success is to have faith in your character, to inspire others, and most importantly to always inspire yourself.

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Mathew Mancini
Matt Mancini is a graduate of Quinnipiac University's PA program in the Class of 2016. He currently works in Primary Care and serves on the Student Academy of AAPA Board of Directors for 2015-2017.