10 Questions With Adriana Rodriguez - Past client and brand new PA-S

During the application season, Rachel and I read dozens of personal statements and what we’ve noticed through them all is that everyone has their unique stories, their creative plans and paths towards becoming a PA. Of them all, one of the most intriguing, inspiring stories I read was of Adriana. Adriana is a dreamer, a genuine optimist and she is the epitome of the ‘American Dream’. As an immigrant myself, I found her relatable given her stories and her hardships. The fact that she was relatable was the strength of her application. She was one of our first clients (comprehensive package) when we started the website in April 2018 and this is her journey through the application cycle and eventual acceptance!! Congrats Adriana, we wish you the best!

1. Tell us about you and your journey to PA School.

My family and I emigrated to the United States when I was 9 years old looking for the ¨American Dream¨.  I was the first in my family to get an education past the 5th grade level. After high school, I worked in the medical field (as a CNA, PCT, and MA) for several years but it wasn't until I worked with several PAs in 2011 that I began my journey to PA school. I returned to college in 2013 and graduated with a Bachelors in Biology in 2016.

2. The hardships that you went through and the obstacles you had to tackle were tough, more so than most applicants. Do you look at them as your strengths or your weaknesses.

I honestly see them as blessings. I'm sure that while I was going through these hardships I might have felt otherwise and questioned their purpose, but I thank God for experiencing every single one of them and for having the faith, strength and determination to push through. Each struggle helped me become who I am today and for that I will be eternally grateful.

3. What were your stats applying to PA School this application cycle.

Overall GPA: 3.05

Overall Science GPA: 3.34

Post-Bac GPA: 3.63

Post-Bac Science GPA: 3.60

Healthcare hours: 6,216

Shadowing hours: 150

Volunteer hours: 968

Extracurricular activities: In undergrad I taught sunday bible school in my local community church and was a research assistant during my last year in undergrad. Then post-bac I decided to get more involved with the university and joined the Pre-PA society of which I was a member for one year, and enjoyed it so much that the next academic year I ran for president and won!  Most recently I also became a volunteer health promoter with a local community clinic that focuses on reducing barriers to healthcare access.

4. Is this your first time applying? If not, what were the things you changed this application cycle?

No this was my second time. I first applied to several PA schools in 2017 and was invited for one interview with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

I was not outright accepted in their program but was extended an invitation for their newly created ¨Physician Assistant Enrichment Program.¨ I completed my first semester in the PAEP this past December and was also given my acceptance into the UTRGV PA program for the 2019 fall semester. I am happy to say that I will be part of the UTRGV PA class of 2021!  I did not make any changes when applying the second time because I was accepted into the PAEP at UTRGV.

5. Applying to PA school is hard enough, but your path becomes more interesting as you are also a mother. As a mother, you have to juggle many things in addition to the application cycle. What would you recommend for other applicants who also have children?

I would suggest if you can, plan everything ahead of time, more so if you lack a good support system. Start preparing your children and/or spouse about what is to come in the near future, even if that is years away, just so everyone can get mentally prepared for what lies ahead because it is a major life changing decision, especially if you have to relocate.

6. What are your general recommendations for those applying to PA School?

Believe in yourself and in all those “cliche” motivational phrases about what it takes to succeed. But do not only believe in them, apply them in your daily living. Whatever quote that might be, hold on to it if it helps you move forward! Also, CASPA is very time consuming (and confusing) so start reading about everything you need before the application cycle opens and make yourself a timeline for how/when you want to turn things in by.

7. What was something that you found easier than you expected during the application cycle.

Navigating through CASPA and turning everything in ahead of time. Gathering the required information and documents is rather painless if you prepare ahead of time.

8. What was something you found harder than you expected during the application cycle.

The fact that I was in the PAEP put more pressure on the whole process because I knew the admissions committee expected more out of me than the rest of the applicants.

9. How was ‘The Humerus PA’ utilized throughout your application cycle?

They graciously helped me with everything and anything I needed! From reviewing my CASPA application to revising my personal statement numerous times until I was satisfied, to thoroughly helping me prepare for my interview in MMI format.  Aakash was patient and attentive throughout the entire process. He was easily accessible and had an open line of communication at all times. I was impressed with the vast knowledge he had in helping me prepare during the application process. If you are looking for someone who is entirely committed to helping you succeed and be by your side cheering you on throughout the whole process, then I wholeheartedly recommend his services to anybody who is applying to PA school!

10. What are your plans for the future. Is there a particular specialty you have in mind?

First and foremost is to complete PA school. I would love to work as a Surgical PA—the OR is calling my name—I just know it! If all goes according to plan then after a few years of gaining experience I would love to be my own boss and work as private PA contractor and eventually open up a mobile health clinic that can help other “dreamers” like myself!

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