Writer’s Choice: Year 1 Wrap Up

Cheers to Year 1 being wrapped up and done! Not to be cliche, but I honestly cannot believe how fast a whole year of school has passed by. My shock is also exacerbated by the unbelievable notion that we will be in clinics in about a year’s time. It’s an exciting and scary feeling that our journey in didactics is almost over even though it feels like it literally began a month ago. I am truly grateful for all the different things that happened this year even in the midst of a world flipping pandemic in the background. I’ve learned a lot about other people and about myself this year, so personally, my biggest take away from all this was a notion to change my old mindset.

For a little background, I was always surrounded by a really competitive peer group during my undergraduate career at VCU. My peers were comprised of predominately pre-med and pre-dental students that held themselves to a really, really high standard. They created an environment of competition and were always subtly comparing their academic achievements. They were awesome friends outside of school, but they were a big weight on me when we were in school. They played a key role in developing a negative and toxic mindset based on academic achievement.

Compared to my peers, I had chosen to study exercise science compared to the typical biology or chemistry routes a pre-health student chooses. In the eyes of my peers, this path was viewed as less arduous and really easy compared to theirs. Because of the mindset I developed, I always felt like I had to achieve what they achieved in whatever class we had shared. To make things worse, my roommate was also a Pre-PT student and he made everything we shared together a competition. This constant environment of comparison really reinforced my thoughts on academics and had me develop negative emotional habits around school. So I entered PT school with the mindset that I had to prove myself that I belonged and that i’m a competent person. It’s actually pretty funny how wrong I was about how professional school was going to be.

To round back to the beginning, I am slowly shifting away from my competitive mindset and finally starting to relax about academics. The shift is almost as slow as watching 2 snails race, but it’s happening. So I wanted to thank my classmates for showing me that not everything is about competition and there isn’t always something to prove. I want to say thank you for all the help you guys provided this year, whether directly or indirectly. The study guides really helped and struggling through it with y’all was pretty good. As another KD (Kevin Durant) would say ” Y’all the real MVP (s)”.


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I’m so proud of you! I had known about your competitive nature since the beginning of PT school but I can honestly say that I’ve noticed a difference in the past year. I’m thankful for having you around as a classmate and friend. Here’s to more study sessions and study guide sharing in the year to come!

Kevin, I also came into PT school and felt like I had something to prove since undergrad always felt like a competition. Its a bit of a hard shift in mentality to not be constantly comparing yourself to other people, and I’m honestly still working on it too! I’m glad that you have been able to relax, and hopefully after we can all be in person again things will only get better from here 🙂

As one of the MVP’s, I’d like to say welcome to the club of non-competitive learning! I prefer a learning style that lets people make mistakes along the way, so long as they learn it in the end, because some people learn best by doing. I feel ya on this year blowing by. It’s wild to think just under a year ago we were walking to Sanger for Gross Anatomy labs, and that in just about one year from now we will be in a full time 8 week clinical. Glad the class of 2022 has helped start to change your previous mindset with respect to academics. Can’t wait for next year already, and HOPEFULLY some more intramural basketball!

Kevin –
Awesome! I am so glad that you are leaving behind the notion of competition. The goal now is to get all of you across the finish line, thru the Boards, and into the job market. No more need to compete. You all are building your first strong, unbreakable professional network. I can see it weaving together – at a pace faster than the snails – and trust me, this is a network you will cherish forever!

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