Category Archives: Libby

DPT Pro Tips

Happy Holidays, folks!

The DPT Class of 2017’s much needed week-long Thanksgiving Break has come to an end. After nearly 16 weeks of the Ortho Module, the break was much needed to reenergize the class for a busy two weeks before Christmas Break! It is hard to believe that in only two weeks we will be able to call ourselves “second years.” Yay!

As my class becomes second year students, a new class will be coming in January! As I reflect on this busy year, here are some tips that I have for incoming Elon DPT students, or any DPT student I suppose! NOTE: These are much easier said than done.

  • Find YOUR best way to study – Everyone studies differently. Some people prefer to study alone, while others prefer to study in groups. Some study best at the Francis Center, while others thrive in busy coffee shops, or at home. Some classmates will study for an exam for two hours, while some will study 20 hours. Whether you rewrite the material, talk it out or type up study guides, find the way you learn best and be content with it. Don’t let others judge you for how you study best, because everyone is different. You do you!
  • Get to know your classmates and professors – You spend a lot of time with these people, so make the most of it! Everyone in our class comes from different backgrounds and it has been lovely getting to know everyone. All the professors at Elon are pretty unique too. They all have awesome nerdy quirks about them, which makes them so likable! Lately on Fridays at lunch, our class has been tailgating by the parking lot. People have been bringing food, a grill, and lawn games and we have been having a great time together outdoors. Dr. Freund even brought out her volleyball net!
  • Pace yourself and stay ahead – The classes are difficult and move at a rapid pace. They are manageable if you stay on top of the material and don’t cram until the night before. I remember in undergrad when I could cram the night before and feel comfortable going into a test. Those days are gone. Stay on top of things as best as you can, especially during the second half of your first year when Ortho starts in August! You can do it!
  • Thoroughly enjoy breaks – During your first year at Elon there are seven full weeks of break. Seven full weeks! One for spring break, two for summer, one for Thanksgiving, and three for Christmas. There are also some periodic long weekends. That’s a generous number of breaks! Enjoy that time with family and friends doing fun things.
  • Make time to do things you enjoy – Even if it isn’t during a break, enjoy fun things! Call or Facetime friends and family, workout, pop on some Netflix, bake, cook, hike, rock climb, kayak, go for a walk or run, or get a manicure or pedicure. The options are endless. Make time in your schedule to do fun things.
  • Stop complaining – I have definitely learned this the hard way. Complaining doesn’t really get you anywhere; it just buries you into a deeper hole of unproductivity. Stay positive and optimistic even when you don’t think you can do it anymore. Listen to Nike, “just do it!” This is much easier said than done!
  • Stay healthy – It’s alright to have your go-to study snack *ahem* Sour Patch Kids *ahem*, but make time to stay active and eat well.
  • Forget about your grades – Remember that time when it seemed easy to get an “A”? It isn’t as easy as it used to be. It is tempting to check Moodle frequently to see if you are staying at an “A” average, but having those expectations is detrimental to your mental health. The professors are challenging, and are already prepping you for the licensure exam. Try your best, but don’t expect an easy “A.”
  • Share your study guides – Study guides are great way to review material and you can definitely help classmates out by sharing them via Facebook or email. You are not competing with your classmates anymore, so help a brother or sister out!
  • Practice what you learn in lab – Be sure to practice different patient scenarios so that you are ready for the clinic. Knowing all the information from the book is one thing. You have to be able to put it all together in the clinic if you want to have the best patient outcomes!
  • Research opportunities are what you make of them – Students must participate in a research project during their first year with a faculty member. While some enjoy research, for others it’s not really their thing. Many groups will be taking their research to different conferences, while some will be done with their research experience after their first year. Doing research can be time-consuming and frustrating because a lot of times things don’t go the way you intend, but that’s research! Think critically and make the most of it.

 

If I could sum up everything I just said I would say that PT school is all about balance. Treat PT school like a job, and don’t let it consume you. Stay healthy physically, mentally and emotionally.

I hope that these tips don’t scare you, but instead help you prepare for the busy and fun year ahead of you! I have to tell you that I’m guilty of not following my own tips during my first year. They are a lot harder to follow than what you think. Hopefully I’ll follow them a little better during my second year, and you can get it right the first time.

Good luck, first years! Welcome to the Elon family!

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It’s Inevitable: How to Deal with Homesickness

In the midst of a long module of Ortho classes, you could say I’m a little stressed and homesick. Don’t get me wrong, North Carolina is a lovely place to call home, especially with this gorgeous fall weather! But my classmates will tell you that Michigan has a special place in my heart (because half of my wardrobe is Michigan apparel). I especially miss my family in Michigan, but it’s all right because my PT family has my back and has become my second family.

We eat, hang, play, laugh and work together. It’s a beautiful thing.

First of all, we definitely know how to celebrate birthdays. Our president and vice president make sure everyone gets a funny card on their birthday and bring in delicious treats. I have eaten more donuts this year than I have my entire life! One day a classmate got a piñata for her birthday, so naturally Dr. Lawson hung the piñata from a theraband on a crutch and wanted my classmate to strike her piñata with a quad cane. Wish you could have been there to understand the madness that was going on that morning. It was a definitely a memorable day in PT school.

Our class also embraced the fall season with pumpkin carving and every fall treat imaginable. It was a dream! Some people’s pumpkins were works of art. I hadn’t carved a pumpkin since my high school days, so it was fun to get all the guts out and carve. It was definitely a good bonding experience with classmates and a nice time to take out some stress on the pumpkins!

I have also been able to bond with my classmates over intramurals! I participated in volleyball and let’s just say that we DOMINATED. Elon’s DPT students are notorious for winning intramurals so we wanted to make sure to continue the tradition. We were undefeated and got super cool T-shirts! My fellow classmates also won flag football intramurals, too. Again, intramurals are another great way to bond with classmates and take out some stress.

Elon’s Homecoming was last weekend! None of us are alumni of Elon YET, but we decided to join in on the Homecoming festivities. The small town of Elon was booming with returning alumni and parents visiting for the weekend. Elon may not have the most winning football team around, but nevertheless, students and parents enjoyed a crisp, fall, Saturday afternoon of football.

Believe it or not, most all of us know where we will be going for our three eight-week clinicals during our 2nd year. I’ll be in Myrtle Beach during the winter, which will be a nice change from the bitter winters of Michigan. Then I’ll be in Indiana and Illinois for my other clinicals, so it’ll be nice to be a little closer to family during the summer months! I’m excited and a bit nervous to step my foot in the clinic come January! I have learned A LOT this past year so I don’t know if I’ll remember most of it, but hopefully it has all become natural to me. We have had a lot of practice in class and in Elon’s pro-bono clinic, so I am confident it’ll show.

Demographically we are a diverse group of individuals, but we click so well. The love and laughter of my second family helps me get through those tough days when words like “presynaptic adrenergic inhibitors” sound like “skjdflksdsfdeghjosfj.” It will be strange as we part ways for our clinical experiences in January, but it will be great to come back and share our experiences with one another.

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Searching for Balance…and Having Fun in the Process

Now that it is September, the Ortho Module is in full swing for the Class of 2017. When Module IV started in August we realized that we didn’t have class on Wednesdays.

FREE TIME, RIGHT?!

Nope.

Wednesdays are for practice, research and visiting PT clinics! While it is nice to sleep in an hour or two, most of us spend our time in the lab practicing different techniques we have learned during the week. Multiple professors are in the lab so there is always someone to ask for help. We are doing a lot of hands-on learning and the professors challenge us every day, but every day we feel more and more like PTs. We also spend time with our research advisors working on various projects. Lastly, we visit some outpatient clinics and observe. It is a lot different observing physical therapists now since we actually know why they are doing what they are doing. Pretty exciting stuff!

As PTs we must be advocates for a healthy lifestyle. Every hour we are given a 10-minute break to clear our minds and walk around. To get away from this monotony, a student in our class had the brilliant idea of starting the “Motion is Lotion” challenge. Every break, students have the option of staying at the Francis Center or taking a quick run outside. There are two route options: a mile and a half-mile. Friday is a wild-card day where people are given the option of doing some type of strength exercise. It has been a great success so far! People keep track and at the end of the module there will be a prize. Exciting! 🙂

We continued the “Motion is Lotion” Challenge last Thursday night at a baseball game with a 1K Beer Run. It was social event of the season! After a busy week of lab practice and research it was the perfect night to support the local baseball team, the Burlington Royals. We had great weather, yummy food and good company!

Last weekend I had a great time with friends in Asheville. It was a bit of a drive, but it was well worth it to spend the weekend in the mountains celebrating a friend’s birthday. The highlight of the trip was going zip-lining in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Asheville is very cool artsy mountainous city that I definitely want to go back to.

I am now realizing that perhaps I spend too much time having fun with friends and not enough time studying, but it is all worth it. It is difficult to find the perfect balance between studying, friends, and making time for yourself. You have to strive for it though when you are PT school. So much of my time is spent studying and as much as I love Elon University and physical therapy, there is only so much I can do before I NEED time with friends or time taking care of myself. It’s great that I have a support system here that allows me to do just that.

Baseball Game

Baseball Game

Spring in North Carolina

Happy spring y’all. The Class of 2017 has the afternoon off today and everyone is enjoying it thoroughly. Some are going kayaking while others are going on a hike, but I thought I would update you on what our class has been up to before I go enjoy the North Carolina sun at the pool.

Before PT school, it seemed like everyone was competing with each other to attain the highest GPA, the most extracurricular activities, and to become buddy-buddy with their elders so they could get good recommendation letters. I’m not going to lie – I was part of that cohort. Now that I am in PT school, students still want to maintain a good GPA, get involved, and communicate with faculty, but with very different intentions from undergrad. We all want to do well because we all want to be successful and knowledgeable physical therapists.

It is crazy to think about all we have learned in a 3-month module. During Module 2, we dove right into Anatomy and Physiology. Although those classes took up most of our time, we took other classes to learn about bed mobility, assistive devices, cryotherapy, thermotherapy, and my personal favorite – soft tissue mobilization (a.k.a. massage). At the end of April, nine exams (including written exams and lab practicals) sounded very overwhelming. However, the exams were spaced out and once I started taking the exam or went into the room for the practical – I was shocked with how much I knew and how much had already become second nature.

Learning is much more fun when you have other PT students to collaborate with. One of my favorite memories at the Francis Center during Module 2 was when most of our class came in on a Sunday night before our PT Science I practical to practice how to use assistive devices. Everyone was walking around with canes, walkers, and rolling in wheelchairs and all laughing and helping each other out. It was very cool to see everyone helping a brother or sister out, while still having a great time learning.

But hold the phone.

PT school isn’t all about studying – the Class of 2017 definitely knows how to have fun outside of class. Raleigh, Durham, and Greensboro are close enough to enjoy country concerts, cool coffee shops and minor league baseball games – all of which our class have thoroughly enjoyed. Last weekend, I enjoyed my first Carolina Que Dog at a Durham Bulls baseball game. Who knew barbecue and slaw on top of a hot dog could be so good?! The night concluded perfectly with many of us PT friends watching fireworks together at the ballpark.

Since much of our day is spent sitting in the classroom, we also like to get outside and stay active. The bikers in our class have made a couple trips to the ice cream shop a bit south of here and I’ve already made two trips to hike at Hanging Rock State Park (which is absolutely beautiful). Some of the best memories I have so far are playing tennis with my classmates. We aren’t very good at tennis, but we are pretty good at laughing at ourselves playing tennis. Lastly, many of Elon’s PT students, their families, and the surrounding community came together in April to run a 5K to support the H.O.P.E. Clinic, a student-run pro-bono physical therapy clinic for those who are uninsured or under-insured in Alamance County and surrounding areas. Learn more.

Module 3 is now in full-force and we are all really starting to feel like physical therapists. We strut our stuff with confidence in our clinical attire while carrying our handy-dandy PT kits (which contain our fancy goniometers, tape measures, stethoscopes, and the like). We are already learning how to correctly diagnose a musculoskeletal problem and the art of manual muscle testing, and are having a blast doing it. We know a lot more about physical therapy than what we did 5 months ago, but know that there is much more to be learned. It is pretty difficult, but together we are up to the challenge. Just one step closer to becoming a PT!

Now off to the pool. See ya!

DPT at the Durham Bulls game Outside of the Francis Center DPT at Hanging Rock DPT after the 5K

Nice to Meet You!

Hey Ya’ll!

My name is Libby and I’m new to the blog this year! I’m from Michigan so getting used to saying ya’ll has been a difficult task, but I have really enjoyed getting into the southern swing of things. The weather is pretty phenomenal too – I don’t miss the 15 inches of snow my parents got last weekend. Our class of 46 is made up of wonderful people from all over the US (including Alaska!), so I’m not the only one in transition.

Although our class is made up of people of many different ages, personalities, and backgrounds, we all are clicking very well. It always seems like there is something fun and exciting to do. One of our first assignments was to experience life in a wheelchair for 48 hours. It was very difficult, but to make the most of it we went bowling. One of our classmates even bowled a strike by swinging the ball under the wheelchair. It was pretty impressive.

Professors definitely eased us into the first module, which was very considerate. It gave all of us time to bond and hang out with each other. A group of us were able to go to dinner and the movie American Sniper. Another group was able to go hiking at a state park about an hour from Elon. We even have class challenges playing Trivia Crack (a smartphone trivia game). So many memories have already been created! We are going to be seeing a lot of each other the next three years, so we best get started now.

It is crazy to think that the first module has come and gone. Now it is time to get down to business. We already had our first anatomy test, which was actually really exciting (nerd alert). A group of us studied together whilst watching the Super Bowl and eating chicken wings and mozzarella sticks. We didn’t get much studying done, but again, we definitely made some memories.

I could go on for days talking about how exciting the first module was (about both the course content and the social activities) – but I must be off to anatomy lab! A cardiothoracic surgeon is visiting us to perform a median sternotomy on a cadaver and to teach us more about the cardiac system. Pretty exciting material!

Can’t wait to keep sharing my experiences with ya’ll.

-Libby