On April 11, after a heated Challenge Bowl competition at the Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants (WAPA) annual spring conference, PA students from University of Wisconsin at Madison, La Crosse and Carroll University gathered at Sprecher’s Restaurant and Pub in Middleton, Wis., for an evening of socializing, networking and comparing notes. For the Madison students it was also a celebration of their Challenge Bowl victory!
The idea for a student social gathering after the Challenge Bowl came from an observation that PA students across the state would not only cross paths during clinicals, but in the future of our professions. Early introductions and an evening of delicious micro-brews provided the perfect format for students to mingle and discuss the many similarities between PA students at all programs.
The proximity to starting our clinicals led to conversations about locations, overlapping interests and plans for the future. And second-year or clinical-year students enriched the evening with tales from the OR, ER and family practice clinics across the state—a much-needed light at the end of the tunnel for first-year students worn thin by the crummy weather and intense workload.
An additional perk was seeing students we had interviewed with at various schools last year. We are now in different programs progressing toward the same goal, while experiencing the same kinds of stress and day-to-day challenges.
It was the perfect chance to catch up with old friends—Amanda Breuer, whom I attended undergrad with and had not seen in several years—and make new friends.
Near the end of the evening Mike Conway, the UW-Madison 2014 class president, and myself had a chance to step back and discuss what lay ahead. We looked at the group of over 50 students and talked about how we were the future of the PA profession and how down the road our paths would cross again. We also hope that future PA students will continue to gather after the Challenge Bowl and someday be a regular part of the WAPA conference.
A tremendous thank you to the students from UW-Madison, La Crosse and Carroll University for making this a successful event and a morale booster for everyone. A special thank you to Mike Conway for helping to plan and coordinate with the wonderful staff at Sprecher’s!
Editor’s note: The Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants is one of several state academies that host their own Challenge Bowls. Find out more about the national Challenge Bowl taking place at IMPACT 2013: AAPA’s 41st Annual Physician Assistant Conference.
John (JJ) W. Jenkins is a first-year PA student at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wis. and serves as the Carroll University Physician Assistant Student Society (CU PASS) president.