At 50 years old, Ann Kaminski upended her life to earn a master's degree through Central Michigan University's physician assistant program.
As a working wife and mother Ann faced a unique set of challenges when she started at CMU. She switched from working full-time to being a full-time student and had to save up money to continue supporting her family while in school.
The most difficult challenge for Ann, however, was 'finding the courage' to spend large amounts of time away from her five children, husband and granddaughter.
Ann has been able to face that challenge with the help of what she calls her second family: her PA cohort.
"Having a second family in the PA program has been a very influential part of making my time away from my family more bearable," Ann said.
Ann's PA cohort is comprised of approximately 40 students. Together they take classes, work in the lab and study for exams. The rigorous course work of the PA program helped the cohort bond and become a support system for one another.
"The family atmosphere here at CMU was one of the main reasons I chose this program, along with it being one of the best in the state, if not the nation," Ann said.
The cohort supports each other not only through friendship and comradery, but also by sharing the workload.
"We all chip in to help each other out," Ann said. "Some people may be good at making Quizlets, so they'll do that. Other people are good at making study guides, so they'll do that."
Beyond providing her with a 'second family,' the PA program will open doors for Ann once she graduates in 2020.
Ann hopes her degree will allow her to find a better-paying job, and with that extra money, she plans to travel the world.
Right now, however, Ann is simply looking forward to graduating and being able to spend more time with her family — her master's degree in tow.