The temperature is heating up, the undergraduates are gone and the summer is almost here! While the “lazy days of summer” had personal meaning for me in the past, it leaves me with a slightly different view now. I can’t say that I’m not, at least a little, envious of my co-workers from my days as a school teacher. As they are wrapping up the final days of teaching, in preparation for a relaxing summer (without a care in the world), I am fretting, a bit, over the fact that I have two and a half tough weeks ahead of me before I get to enjoy the hands on portion of PT school: clinical rotations.
Please make note, that I use the word “enjoy” loosely because as physical therapy students, our clinical rotations (aka: clinicals) are not exactly a picnic; we work long hours, still have school work and requirements to meet, and often work at least a few weekends (especially if we’re in an acute care setting). There are parts of our clinicals that we do get to enjoy, like our patients, applying what we’ve been taught, and learning new things from our CI (clinical instructor) that we couldn’t possibly get out of a textbook. Clinicals are experiences in which we finally begin to feel like PTs!
In the meantime, my classmates and I need to survive the next two and a half weeks! This is the portion of the neuro module in which we get to cram as much information back into our heads as possible in preparation for cumulative final exams. For me, if not for others as well, this is a daunting task. Three, large, 3-ring binders sit in my home office; they’re filled with neuro information that has been accumulating since March. While some of that information has been used fairly regularly and is somewhat easy to recall, there is plenty of other information that is buried under dust and cobwebs somewhere in the depths of my mind, and even more (I fear) that has escaped my mind all together!
That is one of the ironies of neuro science; as we move through the module we learn about neurons, the mind, how we process information, and even memory; and all the while we’re personally experiencing what we’re learning and often times, forgetting. We go through this cycle of filling our minds, emptying them on quizzes and exams, only to refill and often replace previous information with new information.
Throughout PT school I have felt like I am an athlete in a mental marathon; I train and I race only to turn around and train again for the next race! Some races are harder than others, and I may not always come in first (it’s actually quite rare when I do). The great thing about it is that, thanks to supportive family and friends, and most importantly to a God that’s been faithful to me, I have been able to cross the finish line of each of these mental races that I’ve run!