Getting Into PA School – How to Use Negativity to Your Advantage

There will come a time in your physician assistant journey when someone will let you down, break you to pieces, and try to stop you from reaching your dreams. It happened to me before I became a PA. Here’s what happened, and what I did after.



Video Transcription:

How you doing today? This is Dave DuBose, The PA Coach from

I wanted to make a video for you today simply talking about having a chip on your shoulder. Now that sounds a little different from some of the videos I made in the past but let me explain to you what I mean by having a chip on your shoulder. 

The year was 1990. I just got out of the army, came home, and wanted to go to college. So I wrote in a local university in Mississippi where I’m from and wanted to study at the time. I think I was looking at pharmacy.

And so, I visited the student councilor or the academics advisor at the school and she told me and she said, “Well, you’ve been in the military for a couple of years. You’ll probably lost this step. You’ll probably shouldn’t apply for anything in the medical field because you’re probably not at this moment smart enough to make it through.”

I was absolutely baffled and dumbfounded that she said that to me, being in her position that she held. So I left that university after making an A and a B that summer. I was in summer school.

I left that university and got a full ride to Jackson State University where I majored in biology and ended up graduating with a 3.97 GPA. I made one B in Physics while I got 89 versus a 90.

Now some would say that I was driven ’cause I was an ex-military. I was veteran.

But I was driven based on that chip on my shoulder by her telling me that I couldn’t do something. I wasn’t smart enough to do something. It motivated me to know in.

So, funny story here, midway between my Sophomore and Junior year, my new academic advisor, I told her the story. She found out who the lady was and wrote her a nice little letter saying, “Listen, here’s the transcript of the student who you almost discouraged and told this young man he wasn’t smart enough to pursue a career in medicine. Here’s his transcript, here’s his GPA, this is what he’s doing here at our University and we’re so very proud of him, and you probably should reconsider what you should do for a living based on the advice that you’re giving some of your students.”

She went the bat for me. But that chip on my shoulder because somebody told me what I could not do, I wasn’t smart enough to do it. It pushed me. It pressed me. It encouraged me. When I felt like giving up, I thought about that young lady. I kept her face ingrained in my brain all the time and I through about her and what she said to me.

So I’m telling you right now, if you’re discouraged, if you’re having a hard time, somebody’s telling you, “oh you’ll never be a PA” or “you can never get into PA school, your GPA is not good enough. You don’t interview well. You don’t have enough health care experience. You don’t know anybody. Who would want you as a PA?” Anything negative and derogatory that you’ve heard before, chip on your shoulder. Prove them wrong. Make them eat those words. 

Cram those words down your throat because you know you’re better than anybody else. You know in your heart, your mind and soul, you’re better than anyone else. And if you truly have it in here and in here, you can do anything that you want to do.

So sometimes, having a chip on your shoulder is a good thing. It worked for me, and I’ll tell you a little secret. Sometimes I look for chips to put on my shoulders because it motivates me. Sometimes more so than I can motivate myself.

Alright, once again, Dave DuBose, the PA Coach from

For more tips and tricks and information and videos and blog posts, just go over there and check out the blog.

I’ve got a lot of students get into PA school and I’m still making videos and still today trying to help applicants just like you. Yeah. I’m talking to you. Hope you get into PA school.

Once again, Dave DuBose, The PA Coach from encouraging you. Find your chip. Alright. Take care. Talk to you soon.

5 thoughts on “Getting Into PA School – How to Use Negativity to Your Advantage

  1. Hello Dave,
    My name is Kelvin from Missouri . I really appreciate all of the PA videos and advice you have shared with us online. I am having a hard time pursuing my PA degree since my mother past in February 2016. My desire is to become a PA but I do not have that drive anymore. It is gone. What advance do you have for me?

  2. Dave, There’s nothing like a personal example to inspire and motivate! That was so helpful! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi Dave my name is Michelle I am going to become a PA I am a mother of eight I am 44 I have high school diploma and some college and I’ve been told I couldn’t do it I am now facing eviction have no lights been without lights since February and determined to make a difference in my eight beautiful children slide God said your videos thank you for what you do I needed that talk to you soon.

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