Q&A: Caroline McAdams

Emma Tanner, News Editor

Tanner: What is your major and classification?

McAdams: Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on health. I’m a junior.


Tanner: What made you choose that career path?

McAdams: I was originally pre-med when I was a freshman and then I began to explore other careers in the medical field. I did a lot of research about PAs and found that they only have to go to school for two years and do most of the same that a doctor can do. The most appealing thing about the profession is that physician assistants are able to switch specialties since they are trained as generalists. And not to mention it is ranked in the top five as best jobs to have.


Tanner: What goes into being a pre-physician’s assistant?

McAdams: Well as a pre-PA student I first had to pick out the schools I want to apply to so I will be able to see the prerequisites they require. Lots of the schools are the same, but some have a few differences in classes they want you to complete before applying. Once I figured that out I have tried to tailor my degree to fit the prerequisites I need and also added some other health-related classes, so my application will be as competitive as possible. I also need around 1000 patient care hours to be close to a competitive applicant. So I have been working in the emergency room at Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield to fill my patient care hours requirements.


Tanner: How much of your time is devoted to class/schoolwork?

McAdams: Every day I go to class for about 2-3 hours, so my actual class time does not take up too much of my time. However, studying and schoolwork take up a good bit of my time. I have to keep a high gpa to be considered for a program so I dedicate a lot of my free time to school.


Tanner: What are your plans following graduation?

McAdams: I plan to take a gap year after I graduate. I have not locked away plans yet, but I would like to possibly do service work overseas for a few months. I want to gain as much experience as I can before I apply.


Tanner: What are your goals for the future?

McAdams: My future goals are to be accepted into PA school at UAB for their dual master’s program in Physician Assistance and Public Health or be accepted into the Medical University of South Carolina for their masters of Physician Assistance. Once I have graduated from PA school I would love to work in a large city hospital. I enjoy when there is not a lot of downtime during my job and I like constant adrenaline, so I’m definitely considering taking a job in an ER.


Tanner: Have there been any people who have made an impact on you while at UNA?

McAdams: Dr. Amy Crews is a huge reason why I’m at UNA. My journey to get to UNA and where I am today was quite the whirlwind. Dr. Crews has been there from the beginning from signing me up for classes to telling me I can get into PA school when I doubt myself. I’m actually lucky enough to work in the biology department where she is the chair. This means I’m getting to know her on the academic side of her work and also the side of her that will joke around with me. I honestly wouldn’t be nearly as successful at UNA if it weren’t for her. She will never know how much she has actually helped me through undergrad, planning out my future, and reassuring me I will be alright.\


Tanner: Are you involved with any campus activities/RSOs?

McAdams: AED and CASE Ambassadors


Tanner: What advice would you give to your freshman self?

McAdams: Major in whatever you want and then just fill prerequisites in a little at a time each semester. Don’t stress over one bad exam grade, because you will be able to pull it up. If you work hard and really put the time in you can accomplish what you’ve put your mind to. But don’t forget to have fun too, don’t spend all your time studying and worrying.


Tanner: What have you learned in your time at UNA?

McAdams: I have learned that my entire view on UNA when I was younger was wrong. Even though it is close to home and not a large university, it is a great university. The professors take time to learn your name and ask you if you’re doing okay if they notice you’re having an off day. You aren’t just a number at UNA, you are a person. I feel like I can actually mean what I’ve said because I did not start out at UNA. I went to the larger university and felt like I was no one to the professors, but since coming to UNA I haven’t felt that. I’ve also learned that at the end of the day we all make mistakes, but they don’t define you or your future.