College, wellness

Why I Go To Counseling

Hey friends!

Cue the usual, “it’s been so long since I posted” intro.

Today I had such a great experience I wanted to share my thoughts as soon as I got home from lab and could open my laptop. Here’s the deal, I go to the counseling center at my college. It’s something that I’m not necessarily ashamed of but I also don’t share that as my fun fact when I’m meeting someone new. I’ve contemplated sharing my experiences with counseling on here before but I didn’t feel really compelled to do it until now. I briefly talked about it in my post about “The Most Important Lessons College Taught Me” but today was such a great day I just need to put it out there. If you’re reading this waiting for your sign to go to counseling: this is it. This is the sign!

I’ve seen positive changes in myself.

I used to be just a whole ball of stress. It’s actually funny because before exams people would always tell me how calm I was and mentally I would say, “If only you knew.” And here’s the thing, being stressed is good. It shows you care, but too much of anything isn’t good. And there’s a fine line between wanting to do well and obsessing over it. At some point stress isn’t helpful, it only hinders you. Last year the stress was just too much and even during exams if I started to get stressed I’d be sitting there thinking “okay let’s just get an 83” instead of actually thinking about what was on the exam! Isn’t it crazy that we let ourselves waste so much energy going down the negative thoughts rabbit hole.

Fast forward to this year, I feel so much calmer. When people tell me I’m calm I think, “of course I am, I’m vibrating higher.” A whole post on that is coming up soon! I don’t feel compelled to stay up until God knows when reading the slides “one more time”. I can appreciate all the effort I put into studying and when I’m taking an exam I can think through what I do know so that I can logically figure it out. I’ve even seen improvement in my confidence in my practical skills and patient interactions. I’m not saying I never get stressed anymore because that’s just not realistic but I’m much better at reeling it in than I used to be.

Other people have seen positive changes in me.

This was the reason I was inspired to write this post. Today I had a meeting with my academic advisor and she asked me how I was doing this semester. Just to give you a little background, I went to her office maybe four or five times last spring, and I cried three or four of those times. There were some times last year where I was just like I don’t know how anyone can do this, I don’t think I can do this. My advisor has known me since I was a freshman and she told me that prior to starting the grad phase, I had the grades to do this and that I just needed to figure out how to handle all of this new stress. So I continued going to the counseling center and working on myself and when I had my meeting with my advisor today it went completely differently.

When she asked me how I was doing and I told her that I was doing much better in my classes and I was just overall more confident in myself she told me that she saw it too. It’s one thing to have that feeling that you really are doing well but to have that validation from someone else is unreal. A year before she had been my proctor for my modalities check off and I failed. I set everything up correctly and said my parameters but when asked to repeat them I had doubted myself and changed my answer. This semester I had her as my proctor for my mobilizations practical and I went in so much calmer than I had been the year before. Just the mindset I went in with set me so far ahead. When she asked me to repeat the type of mobilization I chose I did so as if there could not possibly be another right answer. And I earned myself an A.

After my advising meeting, I was driving to the library to pick up a book I had on hold and “Good as Hell” came on the radio and can I just say I was 100% feeling good as hell. And once I finish writing this post I’ll be adding that to my vibrate higher playlist.

Mental health is just as important as physical health.

Yes, I’ll say it louder for the people in the back, mental health is just as important as physical health. Maybe it’s just the Springfield College spirit, mind, and body philosophy in me but it’s true! You are your best self when you take care of yourself! You can read more about me talking about how I balance my triangle here.

Life is hard.

I can’t imagine a better reason! I truly believe that everyone can benefit from counseling at some point in their life. Just because you start going doesn’t mean you’re stuck going every week for the rest of your life. I’ve actually gone to counseling twice now, I went second semester of my sophomore year and then I started going again the fall of my senior year.

I think in some cases counseling is very similar to physical therapy in that the goal is to not have you go forever. While there are some people that may benefit for being in counseling for the long haul (and there’s nothing wrong with that!) most people don’t need to go once a week for the rest of their life. Here’s one more tip: your therapist cannot fix all your problems. You fix all your problems by implementing the strategies you learned in counseling.

And there it is, the reasons why I go to counseling. My hope in sharing this is that it adds to the already present conversation that counseling isn’t for crazy people, it’s for everyone.

Just a reminder, a good counseling relationship is just that, a relationship. It may take you time to find someone that you really click with so don’t give up if your first counselor isn’t the one!

Vibrate higher!

xox,

Marissa

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!

xox,

Marissa, SPT