This weekend is graduation. I wish I could say I was excited. Instead of looking forward to a professional achievement, I'm dwelling on the inconvenience of having to travel to Arizona for the ceremony. If there was any way I could bypass the event, I would. However, attendance is mandatory to receive the degree so I'm going.
It isn't that I don't consider this an achievement. I do. I just don't feel like I did anything to accomplish it. For the most part, the classes were relatively basic. The emphasis was on thinking rather than memorizing. Instead of spitting back answers, I had to explain what I thought. Only one class stressed me out, Pediatrics. That was because I've only worked with adult patients. The world of children was completely foreign to me and had a steep learning curve.
I feel this way because there is nothing associated with this achievement. When I graduated from PT school I earned the right to practice as a therapist. My whole life changed. I had just survived four long years of college complete with lack of income, final exams and clinical rotations. When it was over I felt like I had done something.
This time the only thing that changes is I get to write more letters after my name. I don't even get that since we use electronic documentation. My automated signature will have more letters after my name. I don't suddenly get more privileges. I won't get a raise. Nothing about my practice will be any different. The only difference I can identify is that I have more free time. I'm already planning my next degree, so that won't last.
Another cause might be that I did all the course work online. I didn't go to class. I didn't interact with classmates. I logged on when I wanted to. I did my assignments independently and submitted them by the due date. It didn't feel like school. I've had continuing education courses that felt more like school. My knowledge base has significantly increased so I know I learned something.
I wonder if any of my classmates feel the same way. Based on the discussion board, everyone else seems excited. We have a reception the night before graduation so I'll have a chance to ask some of them. According to the APTA this is a big deal. I'm a doctor of physical therapy and capable of providing service in a direct access environment. Someday I may even get the opportunity to do so.