Those two words would have terrified me as a child. Who would go to school as a job? As I sat on top of a slide during elementary school, I couldn’t imagine wanting to learn something so much that I would professionally go to school. I wanted to be an astronaut. To my second grade mind, all I had to do was show up at NASA headquarters, and they would let me play in the zero-gravity simulator.
Little did I know that I would end up in Indy studying after college to be the best physical therapist I can be. After a lunchtime aside made by a few of my DPT classmates, we were shocked to realize that grad school isn’t all that different from elementary school, and I was inspired to write this post.
Whether there were 25 students or my current class of 48, we all go to class together. We walk across campus in a student physical therapist bundle as we
drag our feet skip happily toward our next class. We’ve graduated from 50 minute classes to 3 hour classes, and we spend a good 31 hours per week together in the classroom, but it’s essentially the same thing.
Almost everyone brings their lunches from home, and you get jealous when someone has better leftovers than you. Or when someone brings Subway or McAlister’s and all you have is that leftover mac’n cheese/butternut squash fiasco from last week that you’re still trying to get rid of. Hypothetically, of course.
We go to class together and we eat lunch together, waiting patiently or not-so-patiently to use the microwave and groaning at the person who brings fish (which is usually me. Salmon is delicious, back off.).
We’re in class for a lot longer now, but our professors still give us breaks every hour or so. Without fail, we grab a ball, run outside, and play 9-square. (It’s essentially 4-square, but amped up. More on that here.) We stay outside until our professors eye us through the window, our recess over. Then we trudge back inside and wait for the next 9-square break.
4) Field Trips
Every other week, we get a break from classes to go on a field trip. In elementary school, we may have gone to a museum, but now we go to different clinical sites to get a deeper glimpse into the real reason why we’re studying so much. We see patients under the guidance of clinical instructors and interact with the populations whom we will serve in the future. Depending on the type of museum we’re talking about, I think the clinic visits are much more fun. I enjoy acquiring random knowledge from museums as much as the next science and history nerd, but working with patients is what I want to do for the rest of my life. So…there’s that.
5) Show and Tell
In elementary school, we would bring something from home to brag about to our classmates. Now, we bring ourselves to Surface Anatomy on Fridays, and brag about our palpable trigger points, our easy to find posterior superior iliac spines, and gossip about so-and-so’s great winged scapula.
The workload may have increase >100-fold, but surprisingly, physical therapy graduate school is not that different from elementary school. While this may not hold true for other types of graduate school, it is certainly accurate for SPTs. If only you could get a doctorate and still have naptime.
Thanks to Jordan, Lauren, and Rachel for inspiring this post.