At a glance I look like any ordinary grad student. However, what you DON’T
know is that I have been legally blind due to a rare eye disease (Cone Rod
Dystrophy) since the age of 2 and have overcome my fair share of obstacles to
get where I am today. To give you all some context I see from 20 feet what
most can see from 200 feet away, I have never been able to drive a car and
sometimes I accidentally trip over cracks in the sidewalk because I don’t
see them (oopsie).
Despite this I can genuinely say that I LOVE my life and am THANKFUL for
the perspective that I have gained, as well as the ability to EMPATHIZE
with my patients due to my unique situation. Below you will find the top three
life lessons I have learned because of this and how they can help YOU succeed
as a DPT student!
1. Every time you are able to find HUMOR in a difficult situation, YOU WIN!
Sometimes (okay, most of the time) when I see a “friend” from a distance
I end up running enthusiastically to greet a STRANGER because I didn’t see
their face clearly. Embarrassing? Slightly. However, I usually just apologize,
LAUGH it off and just like that awkward situation averted! I am a firm
believer in not taking yourself too seriously and I believe this to be a critical
component for surviving clinicals.
As students we are bound to make MISTAKES. The quicker we can smile
and laugh them off the faster we can LEARN from them and move on. Humor
is also a great way to build rapport with your patients. If you can help treat
their symptoms and make them LAUGH they will leave their session feeling
taken care of both physically and emotionally.
After all, what is more healing than laughter? 😊
2. BALANCE is not something you find. It’s something you CREATE.
My first semester of PT school I STRUGGLED with cadaver lab during gross
anatomy. I couldn’t see a lot of structures clearly and remember feeling
panicked that the posterior abdominal wall looked like spaghetti squash.
However, I was determined to do my best and by putting in some extra work
studying I was able to make up for my practical grades with high written exam
scores and walked away with an A!
By being SELF AWARE of our strengths and weaknesses we can create balance
for ourselves and be the best SPT’s possible! For example, one of my
weaknesses is that it takes me a little bit LONGER to read the goniometer
when taking measurements. To MAKE UP for lost time I have strengthened
my documentation skills so that I can still maintain an efficient pace
in the clinic.
By putting in the work to improve your weaknesses and in the meantime,
showcase your STRENGTHS you will put yourself on the path to success not
only in the clinic but in life as well!
3. Worrying is like paying a debt that you DON’T owe.
As DPT students it is SO easy to get caught in a constant cycle of worry/stress
and sometimes we need a reminder to SNAP OUT OF IT. However, that is
easier said than done. After a tough first week of my clinical rotation this
summer I was GUILTY of this. I found myself hypercriticizing every mistake
I made and convinced that upon mid-term evaluations my CI was going to tell
me that I was going to FAIL. However, I stumbled upon this quote the night
before mid-terms and much to my surprise I got POSITIVE reviews and my
CI said I was doing great!
Turns out that Mr. Mark Twain made a great point and taking this
quote to heart has significantly reduced my stress levels since then!
“Challenges along the path to becoming a DPT will come up but it is important to JUST KEEP GOING.”