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Tips and Advice for First Year Students

Tuesday, September 12, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Matthew Nicholas
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Tips and Advice for First Year Students


By: Danielle Januszyk, SPT NorthwesternMy first year of DPT school was quite the experience. It was less so about learning my anatomy and physiology and more about how navigate in such a rigorous program itself. When do I study? How to I study? Am I going to have time to shower today? These were some of the more important questions I faced rather than what was the origin and insertion of X muscle.

First year was all about trying to find a system that worked for me. Unfortunately, this took me much longer than I had hoped; and honestly I probably still haven’t gotten it quiet right yet. First trimester I was still stuck in my old ways, too stubborn to give up my study methods that had once worked in undergrad, but now weren’t working. I kept comparing myself to my friends who would get 100% on exams, and I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t doing the same.

The most important thing I have learned from this experience is that it doesn’t matter what anyone else does, you need to find something that works for you and stick with it. Whether it takes 5 failed exams to get there, as long as you get there and learn what you need to to become a good clinician, that’s okay. PT school is the time to make mistakes and safety fail, because when it comes time to working with real patients, that doesn’t go over as well.

My strategies relied heavily on trial and error. I would try a certain way of studying and realize I wasn’t getting anywhere, and completely scrap it and move on. Half of the battle of passing exams was learning how to study, who to study with, and making sure to pencil in some free time. I would have an entire Saturday free and just study all day and retain far less than if I had blocked off a few hours here and there to study. I would like to think that I have overcome (most of) my stubbornness and learned to adapt my habits for the better. This is always a work in progress as we have new things constantly thrown at us, with the constant answer of “it depends” getting in the way of the black and white pictures I like to paint in my head.

Overall, my first year of DPT school was all about figuring out what I needed to do to be successful. If that meant taking a break from studying to go for a run or buy a big chocolate chip cookie, I did that! Probably too many cookies, but I passed my first year so I must be doing something right.

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