Thinking back on my 1st year in PT school, I can say that I’m proud of how much I accomplished. I didn’t get much of a break after my senior year of undergrad and felt kind of burnt out starting grad school, but I still hung in there for 3 semesters and finished strong. Grad school was much tougher than I expected. However, although it was the hardest year of school I’ve ever had, it was also the most interesting and meaningful.
In the classroom, my knowledge of the human body and its functioning greatly increased thanks to gross anatomy, kinesiology, microanatomy, neuroanatomy, and cardiopulmary classes. Then the applicability of this knowledge was applied into actual evaluation and treatment of patients in my 2 rehab courses and orthopedics. But I also learned that there is much more to treating your patients than just exercise. There is also an emotional and psychosocial aspect to it. Being able to excel at all of these areas will lead to delivering the best treatment possible.
Outside of the classroom, I took advantage of the many service/learning opportunities offered by VCU to get further involved in the field of physical therapy and also to give back to the community. One event that I really enjoyed was the Go Baby Go event where we assembled cars for kids with disabilities. During this event, I had to demonstrate a lot of initiative and creativity to build a unique car, but also had to recall on some of the knowledge from fall semester about measuring body parts for wheelchair fitment and gross anatomy to make the car in a way that it would fit the kid it was being built for. It was an overall fun and rewarding experience. I also met a couple of outstanding physical therapists who gave me a lot of useful information about home health physical therapy.
Although I’m glad to get a nice long break from school this summer, I’m also very excited about continuing to learn more during my upcoming second year. I will continue to review and practice everything I have learned over the first year of PT school for the next 3 months and will be refreshed and ready for 2nd year. I will also participate in many community service events related to physical therapy and just in general. Since I will be here in Richmond, I plan on doing a few CARES clinic shifts and continuing to volunteer with the physical therapy department at a local SNF.