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Journey of a DPT Student

Maintaining Relationships

Published July 11, 2011 4:56 PM by Lauren Rosso

Maintaining relationships during PT school is really hard, and I think I'm failing miserably at it. When I woke up today, I took some time to respond to week-old emails, check my voicemail and follow up on events in my friends' lives that I haven't heard about in months. I realized that I have been neglecting just about every relationship in my life that wasn't formed through PT school, and I'm starting to sense the strain being put on all of the others.

Am I selfish? I feel so guilty that my little world of flashcards and mnemonics has been revolving around me for the past month, but there never seems to be enough time to fit in everyone and everything. What's worse is that when I have a break, I usually just want to have some "Lauren time" and call it a day.

As a solution, I'm finding creative ways to incorporate people into my PT life (i.e. they are my practice subjects for surface anatomy). Sometimes they'll even quiz me on origins and insertions. The best I can do is be thankful and promise everyone free PT for life as payment for my absence throughout the next three years.


Definitely a different perspective.  I will tell you that the DPT program has required a lot more work than I was anticipating.  That's not to say I didn't expect it to be difficult, but I think I may have underestimated the amount effort I'd need to put forth in order to excel.  I'm not sure if your girlfriend feels the same way, but it's something to keep in mind.  The best advice I can give you is to try to incorporate yourself into her "PT" life, especially with her classmates.  If she is enjoying her experience and really likes her classmates, then she is going to want to spend time with them outside of studying.  That's when you can come in!  Go out and get a beer with them, hang out, and make yourself a part of the group.  Some of my classmates' significant others are so much a part of the group that sometimes I forget they're not in our program.  Hope this helps!

Lauren Rosso June 15, 2012 9:34 AM

Here's another perspective....My significant other is 1 month into her first year of a DPT program and seeing this blog, especially this entry, is definitely interesting.  As an outsider, I can't understand why studying and classmates seem to get all the her time and seemingly the priority over me...but then again, I can't understand what a program like this entails.  Sometimes after a long day of class or studying, she wants to go have a beer with classmates and I have a hard time NOT getting offended that she doesn't want to come right home. All I keep hearing about is divorces/breakups occuring during the first year amongst the 2nd year students.  I really feel that her and I are stronger and that she is my soulmate...that we can make it through anything. So do you guys have any advice for how a partner of a DPT student can be understanding/ especially with how life changes/bonds with classmates and etc?  Do things start settling down as time goes?  I just want to have some sanity. :)  Any advice is greatly appreciated.

L. Halers June 15, 2012 8:54 AM

Maintaining relationships that I have formed so far in life have been difficult for me as well.  I have categorized anything outside of schoolwork as "extra-curricular activities" that require careful budgeting of time.  If my parents only had 30-40 minutues of my time a week, then everyone else can only get less.  I no longer have the luxuary of talking to my friends 2 hours or even 1 hour at a time.  However, to not lose the friendships, I "prioritize" my friends --- keep contact with the 1 best friend weekly, then keep contact with the good friends regularly, and anyone else if time allows.  In addition, I have been allotting contacting 1 good griend a week or every other week.  As long as I maintain the flow, I found, I am still keeping in contact in spite of the lack of communication frequency.  Forming new relationship has been difficult, especially I am at least 15 years older than 99% of the class and have already worked in the corporate.  I find my perspectives and the things I am interested of discussing are very different from the rest. Thus, maintaing existing relationships is a high priority to me.  These relationships are those that keep me grounded, that encourage me forward, and bring me a dose of reality here and there.  

Liang Liao January 17, 2012 8:47 AM

Victoria- it was a major adjustment when school started.  What I was struggling with was not holding on to relationships, but instead maintaining them at the level I had been prior to PT school.  I of course had time to make phone calls, but never to get the details that I was used to.  I really miss that.  I wish the 25 minutes it takes to write a blog could be enough!

Lauren Rosso August 24, 2011 12:49 PM

These blogs all made me laugh. You have enough time to blog but not make a phone call??? i just dont get it.

Victoria Mooney, home care geriartrics - PT, self employed August 7, 2011 1:46 PM
encinitas CA

Nicholas- I've been trying to do the same thing.  My situation got even worse after I wrote this blog.  I saw my parents for the first time in weeks, and my dad seriously said that he was happy to get to talk to me because I only call when I need something.  Talk about feeling like the worst child in the world!!!  It was a reality check for sure.  I just hope things calm down soon.

Good luck!  We'll be in the same boat for the next few years.

Lauren Rosso July 20, 2011 10:34 PM

I'm with you on this one. In the excitement/stress of my first semester, I'm losing touch with many good friends back home. It helps me to take a minute to shoot a couple texts RIGHT when I think about it. If I wait, I get preoccupied with other things and inevitably forget. I know how much I enjoy a random message from an old friend, so I'm trying to make it a priority to send them myself.

Nicholas Chamley July 20, 2011 2:36 PM
Orem UT

Katy- you are right.  I'm finding creative ways to sneak in phone calls and e-mails.  I used to hate talking on the phone in public, but that went out the window a few weeks ago.  I just hope it's enough.  There was a certain expectation from my family that when I moved back to Pittsburgh, they would see more of me.  I just feel so bad sometimes.

Lauren Rosso July 11, 2011 10:51 PM

I remember this being the most challenging aspect of graduate school and I lived with my romantic partner! There were so many nights where I'd get home after he went to bed and he'd be gone for work by the time I woke up. Not to mention the ways my friendships and family relationships seemed...neglected. I remember using my bus rides home at night to make phone calls and spending a lot of meal times catching up on email. Never did I do just one thing at a time! Hang in there. Your loved ones understand.

Katy Lev, Writer July 11, 2011 8:31 PM
Pittsburgh PA

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