School is crazy right now. I feel as though every day there is something that has to get done and I’m always updating my planner with new things. It’s truly a very exciting time. We are right in the middle of out Orthopedic Module. Right now we are learning about the lower extremity. I’m loving this module. We get to actually put our hands on people and feel all the things we spent so much time learning about in Anatomy class. It’s like all these puzzle pieces are finally coming together to make a gorgeous picture.
When I first started the Ortho module I felt nervous about handling everything. I figured I would be sleeping less and spending all my time studying. That is absolutely not what is happening. I am sleeping the same as always. The workload is manageable. We are so much more well equipped than we even realize. Everything that they are teaching is like another layer on this beautiful PT cake. It’s really awesome to be sitting in a classroom where there is so many interesting discussions happening that tie in anatomy, biomechanics, and physiology. I am constantly being impressed by my classmates and what they bring to the table. It’s awesome being surrounded by others that are so passionate about what you are passionate about.
The only other thing that is happening right now is research data collection. I have mentioned previously that we do a research project in this program. The project that I am working on is looking at baseball and softball players. We are collaborating with Elon softball and baseball and that has been a truly rewarding experience. I have learned so much about conducting a research project and working with university athletics. As I mentioned, my research team is collecting data at the moment and so this is requiring a lot of out of class time. We are also having to work with our classmates for help with collecting the data in an efficient manner. I am so thankful that Elon fosters such a collaborative group of students or else I don’t know how we would manage.
Overall everything is continuing on wonderfully. Next month I will be updating you all on APTA’s NSC and the NCPTA Fall Conference. It should be very exciting!!
So this month has been a busy time. We started module 3 which is basically like our pre-orthopedics module. Module 4 is our major orthopedic module. It’s exciting to start learning this new information. I have talked to some classmates and a lot of us have felt that this is what we imagined PT school would be like. A lot of lab time working with goniometers and doing MMT. I feel like every module I get more and more energized about my decision to pursue a doctorate of physical therapy. So here is the lowdown on the classes and fun stuff that been happening.
Everyone has to complete a research project. My research team has been working on our project pretty diligently since we were assigned. Not everyone has the same commitments for their research, but ours is working with athletes so we are trying to coincide with their schedules. There are times when everyday after class and during lunch that my group has met to work on our research. There are also times where I haven’t worked on research because I have to prioritize an exam or quiz and everything has evened itself out.
Duke has been collaborating with us on collecting data and we were taught their testing protocol. This took some practice and learning because some of the tests in the protocol we haven’t had the chance to go over yet in classes. It required some extra practice after and before school, but the skills that I learned made it worth it. The protocol can also come in handy for our own research, so that is a definite bonus.
A little side note, but I participated in another Elon student’s research. It was interesting to be a patient in a research project because I have never participated before. It allowed me to see the level of professionalism that is required. I highly recommend participating in someone else’s research before doing your own so that you can see how it all goes. Also getting patients for a research project is difficult so help people out and participate.
We had a challenge in one of our anatomy classes to paint the face muscles. We were separated into teams and worked to create the most anatomical representation of all the facial muscles and then describe their functions. It was a ton of fun! We got judged by faculty members, which is always nice to see faculty that we don’t see very often all come together. My team was the winner!
APTA NEXT Conference
I got accepted to volunteer at the APTA Next conference in Orlando, Florida. I was also awarded a scholarship to help make going be more financially viable. I am going to be going down with another classmate. I also know of other students from Elon that are planning on attending. I am really excited to see what this conference has to offer. I am also pumped to meet other PT’s and PT students from around the nation.
This is a program that works with the special olympics. They sent out information to our class and three of us have decided to volunteer with them. We will be providing screening as part of APTA’s Special Olympics Healthy Athletes initiative. I have been craving more opportunities to volunteer, but find it difficult with my current schedule. I think this type of event is such a relevant and perfect opportunity to volunteer.
So this past week was the dreaded midterms. Here’s the lowdown on what to expect.
Monday: PT Science 1 Practical
Tuesday: Anatomy Written Exam and Lab Exam
Wednesday: Research and Design Written Exam
Thursday: PT Science 1 Written Exam
Friday: PT Science 2 Written Exam
So as you can clearly see it was a jam-packed week. It was nice to not have our Physiology exam this week as well. That professor does things a bit different and has a different testing schedule. So it was like a mini physiology spring break. I think when I looked at what the week looked like it gave me this small dose of panic because it just seemed very overwhelming. I definitely sat there on the Saturday before and had to figure out my game plan. That included a lot of me opening and closing various notebooks and textbooks trying to study everything all at one time. After I realized how absolutely futile that plan was I started to prioritize my studying by when the exam would appear. So what I did was, I would try to study two items ahead. So on Sunday I was studying mostly PT Science 1 practical information, but also Anatomy. This helped to make the material more manageable and didn’t make me feel as though I was cramming.
I don’t know about you guys, but when I was in undergrad or in high school I rarely ever studied in groups. I hated them. I found that to be one of the most epic wastes of time ever!! Ever since grad school has started, I have changed my view on group studying drastically. Everyone in the program is so smart and comes from such a variety of backgrounds that they bring different perspectives to what is being taught. For example there are a lot of people who worked in outpatient physical therapy clinics and a handful who have worked in hospital settings. These two settings are very different and so each student brings a different outlook on how to do stuff and why things are done in that way. I have really benefitted from group studying. I did a lot of this to prepare for the midterms. It also makes you feel better to be around others who are doing nothing but studying for as many hours as you are. Misery likes company, not that I was truly miserable, but you get what I’m saying.
Everybody studies in different ways. I am the kind of person who has to rewrite everything at least twice for the information to really click in my brain. I know someone who writes all important information on colored pieces of paper. Some of my classmates have to write things down on whiteboards to digest the information. I have difficulty with the whole whiteboard thing because I get marker all over myself every time! Anyways, I also study in the morning. Like early in the morning. Like six or five in the morning depending on if I feel that I need extra time. I go to sleep about the same time as most grandparents: 9-9:30 P.M. One of my best friends in the program stays awake until about 2 every night, but wakes up at around 7 every morning. So you can see how everyone’s style of when and how to study varies so much in the program. I know one guy who only studies at the Francis Center and once he leaves he doesn’t do anymore work. I am really impressed by everyone’s work/life balance. I think most of us understand that we still have to keep doing the other things in our life that brings us happiness or else we are going to get burned out.
On all the days of testing it was really nice to talk to my fellow classmates. They were super encouraging about everything and helped to not make me feel dumb for some of the questions I had. I felt that most people did a really good job in reducing the nerves that built up for the practical and lab exams. Something about those kinds of tests really get me super jittery and nervous. I don’t know why I just end up building them up in my head. They were fine. The professors were super nice, reasonable, and reassuring. They encouraged us to come by and talk to them and review stuff with them before and after the exams. I really appreciate how they are always so accommodating and friendly.
All in all midterms weren’t that bad. Did I feel stressed out at some points? Yes. Did I question if I actually belonged in PT school? Yes. Did I eat 3 boxes of Girl Scout cookies because of said stress? YES. But I feel like all that is to be expected and I’m glad it’s behind me. Now I feel more prepared for what to expect for finals and for all the other major exam weeks to come. I survived them completely unscathed! I am just happy that I have such great classmates to be going through all of this with.
Oh and as treat to ourselves for handling midterms like a bunch of champs me and a few classmates went to a local Vineyard. That was a neat experience and I am glad these little outings exist. It was like the exclamation point at the end of one heck of a week.
Right now I am in my second module here at Elon. There are a total of thirteen modules. So basically I’m right at the beginning. I don’t want to overload you with too much information, but to instead give you a light taste of what has been going on. These are just three topics that have really been on my mind lately. Each post will focus on something different to give you an idea of all that is the Elon DPT program.
When I was in undergrad I loved my Anatomy classes. I thought they were so fascinating and I remember other students complaining about how hard and boring they found it, but I couldn’t get enough. I found the human body so intriguing. My undergrad program didn’t use human donors, instead it was all done on models and pictures. That has been the biggest delight with Elon’s Anatomy course. I love that we get to actually work on a human donor. It really brings all these concepts to life and helps to solidify my understanding of the human body. The first day of dissections I wasn’t sure how I was going to react because I’ve got a pretty severe fear of sharp objects and I don’t like seeing people get hurt. However, it was one of the most exciting and interesting things I have ever done! I loved every minute of it!
We have completed our first Anatomy written exam and lab practical and I have to say I just adore this class. I feel as though I am absorbing the material in a way I never did in undergrad! Dr. Cope is a fantastic professor who makes the concepts stick.
So we take these classes called PT Science 1 and 2 this module. I have found these classes to be the most challenging because they are very hands on. This is really the start of taking the information that we are taught and applying it in a realistic way. We work with different lab partners and practice bed mobility, range of motion, modalities, etc.. Having the chance to actually do stuff that can be applied in a clinical setting is a little intimidating, but overall it is exciting. I love learning techniques that are applicable to my future.
Outside of school:
The students in my cohort have done an excellent job at finding activities to do outside of the classroom. We have had events where we hang out as a cohort and others where we socialize with the 3rd years. This has been a great chance to get to pick their brains and find out what to expect. I really enjoy when the class will do impromptu wiffle ball games on sunny days when we get out of class early. Or when we get people together to go watch a free movie at the Turner Theater. Also some of the girls have created a workout group where we go to the group exercise classes offered at Elon and exercise together. These small outings are huge morale boosters because PT school is challenging and sometimes you just need a break.
All in all things are going great!