Can I get a hand raise for all those that have had some well-intentioned person inject their negativity into your plans?
If you haven’t experienced this, great!
However, if you are like many pre-PA students, you’ve probably interacted with a loved one who was less than supportive of your PA goals.
How do you say “Nay!” to a naysayer?
It’s not easy. But listen folks, if I listened to every person who said I couldn’t do something, I would be shriveled-up shadow of myself. This is a tough road, and I’ll bet these conversations are based on someone’s love and care for you, so tread lightly.
Let’s go through some common ways that people like to throw wet blankets on your fire, and how to respond.
Naysayer Scenarios and Strategies for Deflecting Negativity
Naysayer: Are you sure you don’t want to be a doctor?
You: I researched every aspect of the MD and PA career and I am sure of my path.
Naysayer: PAs are just glorified assistants.
You: Oh, is that why they make $100,000 a year in their first year of employment? I’ll take it!
Naysayer: Are you sure you are smart enough? I’ve heard that PA school is tough!
You: Wow! Just wow. I will leave that to the ad com after they evaluate my stellar GPA.
Naysayer: NPs are better than PAs.
You: Although I have nothing but respect for nurses, my strengths line up with the PA profession.
Naysayer: I’m sure this is just one of your fading bright ideas that you will move on from in a week.
Sorry about the last one. I actually recommend avoiding all expletives but as you already know, sometimes it is exhausting to defend your dreams and passions.
I want you to know something about naysayers. They only have power if you give it to them. There will always be somebody out there who has a hard time thinking big or seeing the big picture. Generally, they have concern for your future and want you to avoid pain and disappointment. This is when adulting and navigating relationships gets really tricky. Its important to gently but firmly draw boundaries. Set them straight. Tell the naysayers in your life that you appreciate their concern, but that you are confident in your decision (even if you feel a little wobbly sometimes!). If they continue to push, you need to put clear boundaries in place. If they don’t support you, it may be time for a little distance.
Friends, pursuing a career in healthcare is not easy. We know it. We also know it is worth it. You need to surround yourself with people that boost you up. Spend very little of your time and emotional energy correcting the naysayers. Once you have your degree and your dream job, you will be glad you didn’t give them any power over your life.
So tell us, what reactions have you received when sharing your plans to become a PA? Were people supportive? How do you handle it when people question your decision?
When I expressed my desire to become a PA, my husband’s aunt had a LOT to say about how so and so applied, got in, and didn’t make it and kept emphasizing how difficult PA school is just based on one person. I literally told her a story about a woman I know that has a teenager, the teenager is all over the place with her decision on a career. But I realized later that the teenager is this way because for every single career that she mentions to her mom, her mom destroys her desire and instills fear into her about the difficulty and how hard it will be for her to accomplish such and such program. So this teen is working in fast food because she doesn’t have support or guidance at home. My husband’s aunt paused and quickly said “oh that’s not what I meant, oh geez blah blah” and she felt bad. Her excuse was that her father did the same thing to her so it’s already a habit to be negative about things people express they want to accomplish.
Good for you for calling her out! Sometimes people just don’t even realize the tapes that they replay in their head over and over again. They become toxic without even realizing it! Thank you for sharing!