When you are in a six year program at the same school you would think by year five that you would have it all down pat. How hard can it be? It’s the same school, same people, and by gosh at this point it’s pretty much the same professors. I will be 100% honest; that is what I thought going into this year, but I could not have been more wrong
My sentiments to my parents the week before I came back to school were “Well here goes another year, I feel like I pretty well got it down at this point.” Now we are 5 weeks into the semester and I realize how dead wrong I was. There is something about the transition from being an undergraduate student to a grad student that seams to happen quietly while you are gone over the summer. Below is my list of ten things that are different from undergraduate to graduate.
1) You get Fridays off. As an undergrad I would have been so excited to sleep in and relax on my Friday off; now, as a grad student, I rejoice in the opportunity to get up early and accomplish all my work without the disruption of class.
2) You get to treat patients in the on campus clinics. Being able to spend three hours a week in the clinic treating patients is a wonderful thing; you get to apply the things you learn in class to your patients in clinic.
3) You no longer have a organized sport to keep you in shape. I was on the swimming team all four years previous to this one but because the NCAA only allows an athlete to participate in a sport for four years or ten semesters, I am no longer eligible to swim. Now, I have to motivate myself to work out, sometimes at eight at night after a full day on campus, not as easy as when I had swimming to make me stay in shape.
4. You get the opportunity to become a Graduate Assistant. – This year I work 10 hours a week helping to teach Kinesiology which is a grad level class that our 4th year PT students take. I spend time tutoring students, holding review sessions, and attending lab classes in order to aid the teacher as well as facilitate the student’s learning. I love my job as a GA but it also requires me to attend 2 extra 4 hour labs a week, try fitting that into an already packed schedule!
5) Familiar faces on campus all of a sudden are far and few between. Last year as a senior you knew everyone on campus; it felt like no matter where you went you knew someone. Not so much this year! When you get back in the fall, you realize that a lot of the once familiar faces have graduated and are now out in the “real world” – a place that at this point you just can fantasize about!
6) The freshman on campus this year look so little. You have to remember you all were in seventh or eight grade when I graduated high school!
7) You spend all your time in one of three buildings. Because the PT students all travel in a pack from place to place and we are a large class there are only two buildings that have classrooms to hold us all: Golisano Academic Center, the Wellness and Rehab Institute, and of course, the library. If you want to find one of us, that is where we will be no questions.
8) You find the need to purchase tea that has the same amount of caffeine as two espresso shots!! Something has to get you through those 8 am classes and when you are not a coffee drinker, tea is the next best option. Celestial Seasonings makes a tea called Fast Lane that has as much caffeine as two espresso shots; it’s my new go to.
9) You learn that you have to take advantage of the free time you have. Free time is far and few between in grad school but you learn quickly to take advantage of the time you do have, spending it with who else but all your PT friends and your grad speech friends.
10) Although sometimes you feel like you are super stressed at all times every time a new fact makes sense, you have a great session with your patient in clinic, or you realize that you will graduate as a doctor, it makes it all worth while.