Module IV. The fall. The real deal. From the first day we started PT school, we’ve heard a lot about the module in which we currently find ourselves immersed. We heard it was busy. Check. We heard it would involve a lot of research. Check. We heard it would be a time of bonding and a time of surprising fun. Check. And we heard it would be a time where we might forget our right from our left. Double check.
What we didn’t hear as much about is that it would be a time of realizing that no human body is perfect. We all have faults! The good thing is, most of these deviations are harmless and the vast majority of them just make us unique rather than cause us pain. To prove my point, here’s a fun fact. Did you know that right this very minute as you’re reading this, one of the discs in your back could be slightly out of position? Well if you didn’t know that, then chances are it’s probably not causing you pain, correct?? And therein lies one of the beauties of the human body; it’s not a perfect machine by any means, but it sure is awesomely resilient and adaptable.
For those of you that do have pain that has moved out of the harmless realm, good news! Myself and about 50 other people will be graduating in approximately 2.5 years and will then be more than happy to treat you! All kidding aside, this module and its myriad amounts of information are helping us grow in our ability to repair the machine that is the human body. We’ve still got a lot to learn, but every new technique we practice is getting us to see the bigger picture and is making us more aware that there are a lot of pretty amazing ways we can help people with nothing other than our two hands. Now if only I could remember which one is my right hand and which one is my left….Cheers to Module IV!!
Imagine, if you will, spending 2 days a week (and sometimes more) with someone for 7 months. What do you think you’d be able to learn in that amount of time?? Hopefully, if you got along well with said person, you might become good friends and/or you might learn some really impactful things from them. Now imagine that this person is actually a human cadaver who has donated their body so that you could learn from them……totally different right?? Maybe not as different as you might think.
Allow me to explain. In the 7 months spent in anatomy lab, our donors imparted invaluable knowledge upon us, just as you would expect would happen when getting to know a living, breathing human being. They taught us about life and death. They taught us about what makes up the portal triad of the liver. They taught us about the popliteal and cubital fossas. Perhaps most importantly, they taught us what a mind-bogglingly intricate and amazing machine we’ll be trying to fix and mend for the rest of our careers as physical therapists.
One thing you might argue is that the metaphor certainly must break down when you introduce the idea of friendship. Indeed, while friendship is a term that can’t fully be applied here, I for one felt a bond with my donor, a bond built from a sense of thankfulness and the same kind of bond that a student might feel with a teacher. In addition, friendships were certainly formed with my lab partners, and I credit this largely to our donor bringing us together to implement teamwork and strategy in ways that are completely unique to this experience.
At the end of our last day in lab, I had the sense that a great relationship was coming to an end. I think that the gift that our donors gave us is often underappreciated, and I found myself realizing that I had at times taken our donor for granted. However, as I reflect on the experience, I can say that I am incredibly thankful for this one of a kind experience, and I can definitively say that I will carry the lessons learned in the anatomy lab with me for the rest of my career. So here’s to our donor as we thank them for their wonderful gift.
It’s been a busy yet exciting June and at the beginning of the month, we got the chance to go to the NEXT conference in Charlotte (one of the many great things about Elon DPT is that our program helps provide the means to give us these awesome opportunities)! NEXT is a yearly Physical Therapy conference where PT’s, PTA’s, and PT students can come together and network, discuss current issues facing our profession, and learn about exciting new research. Even though some of the information presented was a little over our heads as first years, it was still an awesome opportunity to learn some new things and realize that a lot of the groundwork courses that we’re in right now are preparing us to be able to synthesize the kind of information we encountered at NEXT.
One of my personal favorite moments, other than hearing one of my own first year classmates give one of the most rousing Oxford debate audience-contributed speeches of all time (#freedomisntfree), was getting to hear the Maley lecture. Dr. Andrea Behrman gave an awesome presentation regarding some advances in the treatment of spinal cord injuries in children, and it was amazing to be reminded of the incredible works of healing that we will be able to contribute to during our careers as PT’s.
Hopefully NEXT was the first of many conferences that I’ll be able to attend during my time as a PT student, and thanks to Elon DPT for making it happen! Happy summer!
The halfway mark of our first year as PT students is fast approaching, and that’s honestly pretty hard to believe. Even though it’s flown by, I think we’ve all learned some valuable lessons. One of the things I’ve come to realize is that it’s pretty hard to draw a lot of comparisons between graduate school and undergrad. They both have the word grad in them, but the similarities pretty much stop there. For me personally, I spent two years in the “real” world, and I’ve found that my “real” world routines are a lot more commonplace here in grad school than are my undergrad routines. For instance, undergrad was all about the late night study sessions in the library. Now, I don’t think I could stay up past ten if I tried. So maybe I am a bit of an old man, but hey some routines are just hard to shake. Another big difference?? No more late-night Subway runs in grad school.
All kidding aside (although I do miss that fresh baked bread), another pretty crucial difference is that everything we’re learning now is part of one big picture. Whereas in undergrad, info from my Classic Greek Literature class went in one ear and out the other, the things we’re learning now are all important pieces of information that will be crucial to our being able to successfully treat our future patients. And honestly, it’s a great feeling to learn one more piece of the puzzle and realize that I’m that much closer to being able to get out and help some people heal. Our program here at Elon does a phenomenal job of tying it all together, and we’re starting to see that big picture taking form! Two and a half more years 2016….we’re practically there!!
Another set of finals has come and gone, and the DPT class of 2016 is officially done with Module II! As much fun as we’ve had together over the past few weeks whilst studying, playing intramurals, and enjoying the glory of the Francis Center Fountain, I think we are all in need of some time away. Some of us, myself included, will be heading to the beach, but others are heading home to see family and friends, and a few will be enjoying some pretty sweet vacation spots! Gotta admit though, as much as we all need the breather, I’m definitely going to miss everyone. We sure have become a tight knit group in these few short months of our first year!
Once we get back from break, we’ll pick up the second half of a few classes, we’ll start formulating more solid ideas for our research projects, and we’ll start digging in to the orthopedic portion of our curriculum! So in other words, lots of exciting stuff! In the meantime, I plan to let my brain rebound, eat a lot of seafood, and enjoy this break!! Congrats class of 2016!! Happy break!!
It’s March. That means Madness! With the ever-exciting NCAA tournament just around the corner, I think it’s safe to say that my classmates and I are all excited that the mid-term madness is over. Last week was our first official week of mid-terms as PT students….seven mid-terms in five days!! So how’d we make it through all that information you might ask? Gratuitous amounts of coffee? Lots of group studying?? Taking full advantage of every possible white board in the Francis Center??? While we certainly utilized all of these things, I think one of my most helpful tools was the reminder that all of this hard work and studying is ultimately leading us towards being able to positively and tangibly affect the lives of our future patients.
It can be intimidating at times to think about how much information we have left to cover as students and on top of that, we’ll need to keep learning as professionals if we want to meet our true potential. However, when we realize that this continued learning is ultimately for the good of our patients, the intimidation factor goes way down. And honestly, isn’t it great that we’ll be working in a profession that keeps improving itself and that offers us fresh opportunities to learn and implement new skills?? The future, though filled with much learning and more studying, is bright and exciting!
Happy bracketology season!
It’s official!! The DPT class of 2016 just finished our first module! It’s kind of crazy to think that our first month and module went by so fast, but there’s not much time to reflect because we’re already off to the races with our classes for Module II!
The first module was definitely a good introduction to grad school life, and I think we’re all thankful that we’re being eased into the flow of things. This pace has been great because it’s also given us the chance to start bonding with one another and to build some community. So far, some highlights include basketball in East Gym, wheelchair bowling and weekend hangouts. I’m super pumped to get to know everyone better and to keep building what I have no doubt will be an awesome, productive and cohesive DPT class!
Right now we’re getting ready for our first lab practical and trying to figure out the flow of Module II. We’ve got quite a few more classes now, so balance is going to be key. While there will no doubt be a lot of work and study involved, I’m excited for everything that we’re going to learn in Module II. Every class is one step closer to getting out and treating our first patients!!