So 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!