I wrote a similar post after my first semester of PT school, titled “10 Things I Learned in My First Semester”. I’m going to keep writing similar posts throughout school, because I’m always learning something new.
1. I worked a lot harder than in my first semester.
This semester was more challenging than the fall semester for me. However, I started off a lot stronger because my study habits started off stronger, and we had taken classes with the same professors already. I thought the first semester was tough, but this semester was more difficult me, academically, mentally, and emotionally. I am so proud of all my accomplishments so far. Looking back on undergrad, I realize that my grades could have been much higher and that I did not apply myself as much as I could have. I can’t change that GPA and I’m fine with that, but I am able to push myself harder because I realized that I am capable of doing extremely well in such a rigorous program.
2. Exercise is essential to feeling great and performing well
The beginning of the semester was wonderful! I went to the gym before class every morning, I studied at the gym occasionally, and felt so accomplished every day. After spring break, all of the exams started and I was too overwhelmed to go to the gym. I was tired in the morning, I was more stressed out, and I was moody. I was doing fine on my exams, but I did not feel particularly happy. Near the end of the semester, I began running and foam rolling and felt so much better. It was almost an instant change, because running gave me an outlet to just focus on the outdoors and how I feel, and gave me a moment to not focus on school. Keeping up with exercise is tough, but I know that I need to keep it up as much as possible in the upcoming semesters.
3. Palpation lab is fun and not as awkward as you would expect
We mostly palpated bony landmarks all over the body, but were also able to find some ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels. We had to take our shirts off for 2 palpation labs and 1 kinesiology lab to get better access to the shoulder, upper back, and clavicle. Yeah, it was pretty strange to be shirtless in a classroom setting, even though I’ve been in a swimsuit around several classmates already. However, it felt fine after a couple minutes and all our nervous laughter went away. It was similar to when we had to feel everyone’s ischial tuberosities. Palpation lab is really interesting and its a great time to learn without worrying about remembering everything, because we weren’t tested on our palpation skills this semester. I got to pick the Pandora station for our last class session, so that was also pretty cool!
4. Making a budget is challenging
I wrote in the previous post that I took out too many loans and needed to create a budget. I made an Excel spreadsheet that included my spending for the spring semester. It’s color-coded and has a pie chart, so I’m pretty proud of it. I had to decide how much loan money I needed to cover the Summer semester, and that was challenging. I knew that I did not need the maximum amount, but I also did not want to accidentally take out too little and be stuck with not enough money. I tried to guess at how much I would need, but it is difficult because I’m not exactly sure how much I will need for books and I haven’t decided if I will want to buy a plane ticket back home before Fall semester begins. I’m crossing my fingers that everything worked out. Budgeting is really important, and I should have been watching my expenses from the very beginning of PT school.
5. It’s ok to cry
I know that this is probably common sense, but I wanted to include it anyways. Several classmates cried at least once so far during PT school, whether it was about school or other issues. I definitely cried a lot, because it’s hard to deal with any issues when a majority of your time is dedicated to school. However, I always made it a point to communicate with my classmates so they were able to check up on me. Everyone is so supportive and caring, so you’re never alone when dealing with any problems that may arise.