College, Uncategorized

Life Update: PT School

IMG_9813So if you read my post about having to wear professional clothing to class (you can read it here if you missed it!), you know that I am now in physical therapy school!

I have just finished my first week as a doctoral student (so crazy that I can call myself that!) so I wanted to share some things that I have learned from this week as well as orientation. While I wrote these from my experience geared to my program, I believe they can be applied to any college (or high school experience).

  1. First up is find your people. Now I have an advantage because my program is 3+3 so I already knew most of my cohort but this is something I am still actively doing. This is a journey you can’t do alone, this is a whole new world and your tests are more than just recall (more to come on this a little later) so you need to find your study groups. Then you need to find the group that you can live with. You also need to find the people you can have fun with. Now since I have been in school for a week and a half now I can’t speak on this personally but advice I’ve gotten from upperclassmen says that these do not have to be the same people. In fact, they suggest that the people you live with are people you study with and are not your best friends. You will be in class with these people all day every day, and sometimes tensions rise when you spend that much time with people.
  2. The classes are harder: the teachers no longer change the slides to lay terminology, the content is challenging, the books can be dense and dry, and last but not least you actually have to do the readings. While you may not have to do all the readings you will have to read more than you did in undergrad, I think I’ve already read 5 articles and it has been a week.
  3. The stakes are higher. In my program, and most programs at the graduate level, I am allowed to get two grades of a B- or lower. That’s right, only two. This is not just to make your life painful, it is to make sure you know what you are supposed to know. When I graduate I am supposed to be able to evaluate patients and treat them based on what I believe the problem is. While I’m sure I will make a few mistakes, I can’t be making wrong decisions on everyone I see.
  4. Have fun! The counseling center came to speak to us during orientation and one of the things they told us was to make sure to take time for ourselves. My friends the year above me told me make sure I schedule sometime for Netflix every once in a while and to make sure I get to the gym. In February I went to Boston for a dance conference and I met a physical therapist who was a dancer and now works with dancers and when I asked her how to survive PT school she told me make sure to save time for dance. Can you guess why this is a common theme? You would go crazy if school was your only focus! While this is my biggest priority at the moment, it cannot be my whole life or I would go insane. Make sure to save time for what you love!

I hope you found this post useful and can apply it to wherever you are in your academic career!


Marissa, SPT

College, Uncategorized

My Study Tips

College is different than high school in so many ways, one of the biggest differences is in study habits. In high school I procrastinated, I mean who doesn’t. In college my motto is to stay ahead of the game. I always start working on assignments as soon as I get them because you’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: cramming doesn’t work! Even if you cram and are able to get an A on your assignment I doubt you’ll be able to recall that information in the future.

Actually learn it…

This is a continuation of the cramming idea, learning the material makes your life so much easier. I’m going to school to become a physical therapist. Part of our curriculum is human anatomy and physiology as undergrads and then clinical anatomy as grad students. human A&P is much like clinical in that in the fall semester you have two practicals: one of bones and one on muscles. The clinical one is a little more in depth but it’s not like the names of the bones change. One of the biggest reasons I started weeks in advance studying for my practicals last year because this is information I’m going to need for the rest of my life. Who wants a physical therapist that has no idea what muscles attach to which bones? All that studying will also pay off when it comes time for me to take clinical anatomy, I won’t have to waste time relearning all the origins and insertions, I’ll just have to do a little recall.

Study as if you have a cheat sheet…

If you had one piece of paper to take with you into a test what would you put on it. I think this is such a great way to study because it gets you to look at the key ideas as well as the things you don’t know as well. I would advise you to make this sheet a few days in advance so that in addition to studying your notes you have a simplified version you can take with you and glance at in between classes.

Make flashcards…

I know this one isn’t for everyone but I love flashcards. They’re great for learning vocabulary words and they are also super easy to carry around with you for studying in between classes.

Apply it to your life…

This is one that I’m going to relate to anatomy as well. Sometimes if I could not remember what a muscle did for the life of me I would think of a dance move that fit with that muscle’s action. The most memorable one I used was that the sartorius muscle in the muscle used for figure 4s (a stretch we did when I ran cross country/track in high school) or a pirouette in dance.

Good luck with exams!




College, Uncategorized

What to do When the Semester Doesn’t Start Off Right

IMG_7861Last week I talked about how second semester is a fresh start, but what if the fresh start does not go according to plan.

Here is how my first three days of school went:

  • In one of my classes there are tables of two, I ended up sitting alone.
  • One of my classes got the time switched and no one sent us a notification.
  • After asking if  the time change was true my teacher responded, “Yes that is correct.” And that was it, only slightly intimidating…
  • I was 60 seconds late to the class mentioned above after realizing it was on the other end of campus. I’ll admit it, I backpack ran… what has my life come to.
  • I had to give up my yoga class because of the time change.

So yes, most of these things have to do with one little switch but in the moment it seemed like such a big deal.

Just remember that things get better.

  • Friday morning in the same class I sat along two days earlier, someone sat down right next to me.
  • After apologizing to the teacher because I was late, and telling her I was going to have to miss a class because I’m going to a conference, she seemed really nice.
  • I’m now co-teaching a yoga class Friday nights!
  • I started a job at a child care center with some of the cutest kids I’ve ever met!

So just remember, nothing is permanent and you can direct where your day goes. Do not let other people make you miserable.




College, Uncategorized

The Perks of Second Semester


Second semester in college is truly a beautiful thing. This is my first time in the past three years that I do not carry over any classes into the spring. That means no biology II, chemistry II, anatomy II, or physics II; I am starting this semester on a completely new page.

Personally I think of each new semester as a time to set resolutions, and it just so happens that spring semester coincides with the biggest time to make resolutions. If you are like me and you like setting resolutions, you get two chances a semester to stop and think about your goals for the next 16 weeks. One of my resolutions this semester: get all As!

If you are like me and have no part II classes, there are no expectations going into this semester besides your own! You can’t tell yourself oh you got an A last semester so you have to do that again, or on the flip side you can’t beat yourself up for getting a B and telling yourself you need to step your game up.

If you are like me during my freshman and sophomore year remember: college is not like high school! Your grades from last semester do not average in with this semester to make a final grade. Even if it’s the same class you still have a brand new start! You have the advantage of knowing what the class set up/teaching style is without having to bring in any grades.

You also have the opportunity to start new clubs and activities in the second semester. Although I’m sure any club would be happy to have you drop in during a semester it can be less intimidating to start when you know it’s likely you won’t be the only new person in the room.

If you’re looking for tips to stay organized this semester check out my tips here!

Happy second semester!




College, Uncategorized

That Final Grade Report


At the beginning of all of my posts from now until December 31st I will be including a link to my Dressember fundraising page. I will also be sharing facts about modern day slavery. Today’s fact: “Sex tourism [going on vacation just to have sex] is a billion dollar industry that further encourages the sexual exploitation of women and girls (quote found here).

Here is the link to my fundraising page if you want to join me in helping exploited women experience freedom.  Part of Dressember is just starting the conversation, but another large part is raising money to help Dressember’s partners carry out rescue missions. Just $200 dollars helps with the immediate needs a woman has when she leaves a trafficking situation. Whether or not you make a donation, start the conversation!



It’s that time of year again… If your professors have not posted their grades yet they will be posting soon. It’s that time of year when you are rejoicing because those late night sat the library paid off or you’re sitting at home wondering what you did wrong.

I wanted to make a post out there for all my fellow perfectionists out there because sometimes we have to be reminded that we have really high expectations.

My goal this semester was to get all As…  not including A- though, I wanted all 93s and above. I thought there was going to be one class that would challenge my goal and  I was right. I was taking Physiology of Exercise this semester and it certainly made reaching my goal very hard. I tried as hard as I could but sometimes we can’t do it all. I didn’t get an A in that class and yes I’m disappointed but what can I do with that disappointment.

First, I have to accept that I did everything I could and I cannot change anything now.

Second, sometimes the odds are not in your favor. For this one class the midterm and final were 50% of our grade (25% each), the average of 10 pop quizzes were 25%, and our lab grade was 25%. I’m not an awful test taker but I am awful at true and false questions, I have the tendency to read into questions too much and wording throw me off. Both the midterm and final had more true/false than multiple choice so I had a disadvantage.

Third, I have to realize that I have gained so much from this class. My professor for this class is very old school, he lectures without a powerpoint and will only post the very key concepts after we go over them in class. I have always been a note taker, there is only one class in the past two and a half years I have relied on the powerpoints for and even then I still ended up taking notes on my print out. But when you do not have those to fall back on you really learn how to listen. You also learn how to figure out what the most important parts are. I also learned a skill that is going to be integral to my next few years in school- the art of using knowledge you already know and connecting it to what you’re learning now. In high school I was a master at memorizing things before a test, I mean who wasn’t? But once I got to college I learned that this whole “integrating former knowledge” would pay off big time. Did I always do it though? Nope. Sometimes it is just easier to put that knowledge in short term memory and call it a night. But for Physiology of exercise I really sat down and looked at my notes and connected that puzzle together, with notes from that class and from my memory of biology and anatomy (and kinda chemistry but I’m not too great at that). In any class that is designed to challenge students you should be proud of every point you earned. I have always been a firm believer that it is better to be challenged and get a lower grade than to float by taking easy classes and getting As. You are going to grow more and learn more when you are faced with a challenge so be proud of every point you fought for.

Fourth, I have to realize that there is nothing bad about a B. I’ll be honest I didn’t really want one, and at first I did not want to even write what grade I ended up getting, but then I realized there are worse things. I know I set really high expectations for myself so when I feel this disappointment I have constantly remind myself that I still did not fail, I just didn’t meet my sky high expectations.

So this was a specific example, but you can relate these steps to any perfectionist problems you face:

  1. You cannot change reality.
  2. Sometimes the odds are stacked against you.
  3. You will grow more when you challenge yourself.
  4. You probably have higher expectations than most, so be proud of what you accomplished.

So if you are not rejoicing when you look at your final grade report, take a deep breath and remind yourself that your grades are not the only thing that define you. They do not show how great of a person you are they just show how well you can show you learned material in a certain way.



College, Uncategorized

My Room!

Hi friends!

I haven’t been posting too much because although this was our first full week of classes, I’ve had a ton of things going on this past week. I’m hoping now that the craziness has died down I could do one/two posts a week. Drop any suggestions for my next post in the comments.

I still haven’t finished completely decorating my room but now that it is mostly done I figured I would share it with you guys!


I have gotten a different bed spread all three years I have been in college but this is by far my favorite! I chose to go for more of a simple look so I could add a bunch of fun pillows. My favorite being Orange Bird from Sunshine Tree Terrace at Disney World!

Here’s my desk! This year my desk is just a table with drawers underneath so I went out to the Christmas Tree Shop and bought a bookshelf to lay on top. My favorite thing about my desk is this jewelry tree that helps me keep all my necklaces untangled.


Last but not least are two pictures from Sparkle Studio Design Co that I’m going to be hanging above my bed. I still can’t believe I ran out of command hooks!

And here’s my favorite part of my room:

I’m a huge fan of fairy lights and I love the feel of my room with them on!


Until next time,



How I Stay Active

Going from dancing on a competition team and running cross country in high school I was scared that I wouldn’t find a way to stay active at school.

Something that really set me on the right track was getting involved in group exercise classes. I found a group of girls on my floor and we all started going to the classes right off the bat. We tried everything from yoga to Tabata, I even started going to classes in the morning. In high school I would have never imagined myself getting up at 6 so I could get to a yoga class at 7!

My friends and I ended up loving group exercise so much that we took the NETA group exercise exam and starting teaching during the spring semester of our freshman year! The next spring I took my Yoga Fit Level One certification. Now I’m up to teaching two classes a week, barre and ab lab!

Something I really love about group exercise is that I get to try new things all the time! My favorite classes that I’ve taken are LivFree Yoga and Cardio Kickboxing. Now yoga was something I was familiar with but kickboxing?! I never saw myself doing that but I fell in love with it after the first class.

As I mentioned in other posts I am a dance minor and also a part of the dance club on campus. In the fall we dance at our school’s homecoming event and in the spring we put on a show where members can choreograph. Choreographing a dance with my roommate this year was one of my favorite things I have done at school. We have had the idea for “A Little Party” in our heads for over a year and it was so amazing to see our dream become a reality.

Through the dance club I also got the opportunity to be a dance in the Best of Broadway shows. This year we did Legally Blonde and although it killed me, “Whipped Into Shape” was my favorite number and I still practice the jump roping number every now and then.


How I Stay Organized

I’ve had an agenda since my school gave every student one in the fourth grade, but I didn’t really start using one to help me stay organized until I reached junior high. I remember in sixth grade I would still be forgetting to bring my homework home even though my teacher made sure we wrote our homework in our agendas.

In junior high I got a little better, but all I really cared about was how cute my agenda was. The biggest improvement organization-wise was that I made a separate column of all of the books I needed to bring home each night. I never forgot my homework again!

Now, I plan my whole life in there! I use the calendar to map out dates that I have tests, club meetings, and other fun plans. Then I usually fill in homework assignments and block out study time in the weekly pages. Once I finish a task I go through and highlight it off my list, I love the sense of satisfaction after finishing something… and highlighter looks way nicer! I also try to block out my days in the Lilly pages below! Then I can plan my day by the hour (and cross it out once it’s done of course!). I found these pages a year ago at the Paperstore and I think they’re just as valuable as the agenda itself.

Another thing I love to help me stay on track is this DIY picture frame turned whiteboard. I put in two pictures of my friends and then I put in two pieces of scrapbook paper I found at Michaels. I call it my To Do/Tomorrow frame. I use a dry erase marker to write my To Do list on one frame and then I write out everything I need to get done the next day. This helps me when it’s 11pm and I need to see if I can push an assignment off until tomorrow or when it’s 7pm and I try to get a head start on tomorrow’s list.


My last way to stay organized is through sticky notes! They are my favorite, so much so that my friends and family usually get me some for my birthday. I mainly use them as a way to remind myself to pick something up or to stop and get something in between classes. Look at these cute ones my best friend got me this year! She knows me too well!

IMG_5193 2