Reflections on My First Semester in PT School
Today marks my last lecture of my first semester in PT school. I've completed gross anatomy, physiology, clinical anatomy and introduction to physical therapy. I cannot believe how much I have learned and, more importantly, retained! I can't wait to see what the next semester brings. Here are some lessons from this summer that have stuck with me the most:
You really, really can't study in advance for anatomy. I struggled with this question before starting school and never did end up studying. I am glad because graduate-level gross anatomy is hard. Not because the material is especially difficult but because it goes so fast. Our class was 8 weeks with exams every other week (cadaver and written). No amount of pre-studying would have prepared me and I only would have burnt myself out. Just stay on top of the material as it comes and you really will be able to do it.
You have to get in with a group. The best performing students in my class so far are those who study in groups at least part of the time. Everyone thinks differently, studies differently and grasps different information better, making it the only way you can find your weaknesses. I was amazed how often I thought I knew a subject well until someone asked me a question about it. Some of my classmates also came up with genius ways to remember things that really saved me on test questions. So get to know your classmates, use their strengths and share your own.
Do your best to enjoy the journey. Physical therapy school is tons of fun (really!). Late night studying will bring out the drowsiest and most hilarious sides of your classmates. Lunch breaks will become a time to take off your shoes and lay on whatever piece of furniture you can find and, for some people, ping-pong in the student lounge will become an extreme sport. I can't remember the last day that passed without a belly laugh!
All jokes aside, the few years you get to spend with your classmates only come around once. We are all so lucky to have been accepted into a program and to be getting an education to do what we love. While we may not all get to skip down to the beach after a tough test like my classmates can, do your best to find fun things to do and unwind regularly. It's just as important as studying hard!