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Thread: Any Advice...can't make up my mind.

  1. #1

    Any Advice...can't make up my mind.

    It's been quite a while since I've started a thread on here. I still manage to come and browse for answers to questions every once in a while of course. Part of the reason being, is that I've returned to school...which is causing the current dilemma.

    It took a while to get back to school and now I'm more unsure about what to do than ever. I have a degree in criminal justice. I found out WSU had a degree in forensic science as well, so I thought I would give it a try. Well, I'm not as excited about the being a scientist part as I thought I would be.

    Recently, I thought that maybe I wasn't on the right path and began to think about my plan B which would be obtaining a paralegal certificate. This is still a very viable option for me right now.

    I just had to chat with my chemistry teacher...she's an excellent professor and if I would have had her in high school I would have likely pursued science/medicine as I wanted to back then. I was set on being a physicians assistant for a while...and for whatever reason went a different route.

    After this chat with my professor she had me rethinking my possible career goals. She brought up and suggested different ones, she actually took the time to brain storm with me. She has such a positive attitude and definitely feels that say people like me/us are under represented in science and medicine. We ruled out a few things and she brought up pharmacy which is something I had thought about, she even gave me the names of a few people to talk to. Then the following class period she gave me a card with some contacts and also suggested the physician assistant program here at WSU. That has really got me thinking since I originally chose WSU ten years ago because they are the only school in kansas that offers that program.

    I've pretty much ruled out would take 7 years to complete from this point on. Paralegal would take 1.5 years and surprisingly the PA program would take me about 3 years from this point on, it is a masters degree program.

    I am scheduling some time to speak with someone with the PA program to get there insight and see just how realistic this is for me to pursue...more so on a physical level. I know there would be some physical barriers, but in the grand scheme of things I know there is money out there to take care of such things.

    What has me considering it the most is how much those with disabilities, particulary SCI's seem to get nowhere with their "regular" doctors who just don't seem to understand. Who better to understand then someone who has and is going through the same thing. I personally feel jipped when I go to the doctor for just a they can't give me much of a physical exam from my chair.

    I hope speaking with someone in the program helps me come to a decision, as I am at a bit of a cross roads and need to make up my mind. I either stay in Wichita or I move back to the KC area for the paralegal program I want to attend.

    As far as the paralegal option goes, I think it is a good match with my personality and interests as well. I guess you could call me a jack of all trades master of none...thats how I feel anyway with so many varied interests.

    I thought posting my dilemma would help in figuring this all out.

    Thanks for listening!


  2. #2
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Windsor ON Canada
    I am certainly NO ONE to give career advice but this is just my opinion:

    I tried a pharmacy assistant program at the college level when I was 21 ... everything was great, until it came to lab and reaching high shelves. The reacher didn't always cut it and we were marked on everything right down to our appearance (proper attire, med jacket - I don't miss that white jacket rubbing on the wheels or bunching when I tried to close it) and demeanour. Several students would end up crying in lab, lol (frustration).

    Forensic science would be darn interesting .. but how to keep a sterile clean field in a wheelchair? (someone needs to make those detox reeboks* into wheel shapes lol)

    If you have the smarts to be a physician's assistant (or a physician for that matter but we'll see you in ten years) then go for it!!!

    Anything in the legal field would probably welcome you with open arms.

    My opinion is that the medical career sounds challenging .. the legal one sounds like a smoother route, and no one would fault you for that - especially if you deem it a 'perfect fit'. Sometimes it helps to see it written down, eh.

    Good luck in your choice and good to see you back again!

    *detox reeboks - David called the surgical shoe-covers those when he was in recovery from alcohol - I thought it was funny lol
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    I think the PA program would be a good fit for you. One of the docs. at rehab. is in a chair. He was in it went he went to medical school. He is now a doc. that specializes in kids w/ CP. He works in St. Cloud, MN. His name is Dr. Scholsser. Good luck w/ your decision. You sound like someone who will make it in this crazy, mixed up world of ours.


  4. #4
    I'm going to comment because although I can't pretend to be a scientist (just a high school math teacher), most of my friends are scientists/researchers of some sort... and I find them to be the most open-minded and understanding of people, as well as the sorts who whole-heartedly approve when you do things differently and figure out clever tricks. Why "we" are underrepresented I don't know... perhaps the long, exhausting hours, but I would say NOT the attitudes. You go, girl, follow your heart and your talent and don't let anyone tell you you can't!


  5. #5
    Senior Member Ashley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    St. Louis, Missouri
    if money is a factor in your decision, a pa would make better income than a 2yr degree...i've heard many paralegal positions are given to law-interns going through school so it might be hard to find a career with that.
    Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow.
    -Dorothy Thompson

  6. #6
    KS needs PA's. They are really popular there. I would love to have a SCI PA. I don't see why there would be many physical barriers besides the rigors of internship etc. Don't underestimate those.

    PA's are in great demand in all rural areas. Reservations, for instance, have been begging for them for years.

    My mom lives in a nursing home in Eureka KS. Her doctor just has one PA in charge of the nursing home patients, he rarely visits. I assume they see pts. in his office, I know they do rounds at the hospitals.

    A friend of mine is a nurse practitioner, quite similar, in Santa Fe. She is on the nursing home rounds also. She is often frustrated because they try to be cost-effective rather than give good care. It puts her license at risk and endangers ppl. It's getting worse, so just be aware.

    My Dr. has a PA in his office. I'm always glad to see them.

    In Longton KS (super rural) they have traveling PA's that hit a few of those really isolated areas. They have an office, ppl have appts, the PA's crew bring their charts. Draw their labwork, take it back with you, call them in a day or 2. Sometimes you'd see people and say get to the hospital NOW. It's like a traveling doctor's office and is a benefit to ppl that otherwise wouldn't be able to travel 40 miles to the largest town nearby. Much of eastern KS (Elk and Chautauqua counties esp) is like the Appalachians, it's so isolated. You might have to pick-n-choose your office space carefully, but it's do-able. I know in Longton they'd happily throw down a crappy ramp for a visiting medical person.

    So there's what I know. Big demand. Important work. Saving lives.

    I hope you go for it.
    Last edited by betheny; 04-28-2008 at 08:27 PM.

  7. #7
    Thanks for your input guys. I really am a bit torn still. I see good reasons for both. Although I have heard similar stories about it being difficult to get jobs as a paralegal...and doing a little research on PA's...there are jobs everywhere.

    The money would be better as a PA...which wouldn't hurt since living with a SCI is not exactly cheap.

    I'll sleep on it for a few more days...

    I was also thinking that it might not hurt to just go for it...and if I am not accepted to the program then revert back to plan B..again.

    Off topic, sort of...I just went to a Physiatrist here in Wichita whose office was completely wheelchair user friendly. They even had a scale built in to the floor and an accessible exam table with a spare transfer board. The doctor did say this is her only location like that, but she tries to get people who visit her other locations to come to this one if she can. I don't know if there is anyone on here near the Wichita area...but I would highly recommend this doctor and the location.

    Thanks again!


  8. #8

    I think I've figured it out...

    I can't believe how torn I've been over this whole thing. Up until Tuesday of last week I thought I had made up my mind. If you would have talked to me yesterday...depending on the hour you probably would have had a different answer.

    Well, it came to me on my long drive home from campus. I find driving a good time to think...when I'm not thinking about just how much gas my van is eating up anyway.

    I think it's come down to gut feeling. When I think about the whole medical field idea...I get a nervous feeling. When I've thought about working in the courts, I actually get excited about the idea.

    Even though science interests me...I think the whole criminal justice/legal system interests me more. Which makes sense consdiering I have a degree in criminal justice and until my injury worked in law enforcement/corrections.

    Anyway, I'm feeling pretty good about this decision now. Hopefully I don't go changing my mind. It is nice to know that my professor ,who I admire and respect, has faith in me that I could do more with a science degree at least.

    Thanks again for the comments...they helped me sort things out.


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