Getting through physiotherapy school is tough. Between studying for finals, practicing for OSCEs, performing well on clinical placements, and doing your best to maintain a solid work-life balance, the 2-year professional Master’s program can sometimes get the very best of you. As a result, we tend to lose sight of some important concepts that serve to keep our morale high during these challenging times. For this reason, I’d like to draw your attention to the 5 things I believe you should keep in mind throughout physiotherapy school. Let’s not waste any time and get right into it.
(1) You just have to pass
As the age-old saying goes: “Seven-oh, good to go.” Remember, you already got that ridiculously high GPA in undergrad that was required to get into PT school. It’s not undergrad anymore. Focus on actually developing a deep understanding for the material and skills you’re learning, so that you can start becoming that all-star physio early on in your respective process.
I want to stress, however, that this does not mean that you don’t have to work hard anymore. Continue to stay on the grind, but just learn to divert your attention to the things that matter, as opposed to remembering every minute detail that probably won’t hold much water in a real-life clinical scenario.
(2) Don’t compete with your classmates
Again, this is not undergrad anymore. At the end of the day, you all have the same end goal, which is to become a physiotherapist and make a positive impact in the healthcare field. So why compete in the process of doing so? Help each other out and learn from each others’ unique experiences, as opposed to competing with each other. By doing this we can help push our beloved profession forward.
The formula is simple:
Classmates = colleagues
Classmates ≠ competitors
Follow this formula to a tee, and I promise that you will develop lasting and unbreakable relationships and bonds with your fellow classmates beyond PT school.
(3) Getting into PT school is hard
Don’t believe me? Here are some of the most recent stats for Ontario PT schools.
- # of applicants in 2022 = 1,105
- # of positions offered in 2023 = 68
- # of applicants in 2022 = 1,206
- # of positions offered in 2023 = 80
- # of applicants in 2022 = 1,328
- # of positions offered in 2023 = 67
University of Toronto
- # of applicants in 2022 = 1,306
- # of positions offered in 2023 = 110
University of Ottawa
- # of applicants in 2022 = 191
- # of positions offered in 2023 = 40
Staggering numbers, don’t you think? As the years pass, it’s only going to get harder, so appreciate where you’re at right now. You’ve accomplished something massively important to you in your life, and for that, you should be very proud of yourself. Now keep crushing it!
(4) Normalize uncertainty
You’re not going to know all the answers. Even when you graduate, have taken a bunch of continuing education courses, and are well into your years of practice, you are still not going to know all the answers. The Dunning-Kruger Effect illustrates this beautifully for us below.
As you can see, the uncertainty never really ends. And if anything, acquiring more experience and knowledge within the rehab world only further complicates this process, so get used to it now! Think critically, stay up to date, and don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” It’s all part of the process.
(5) Take care of yourself
Remember #1 on this list? You just have to pass. That being said, don’t feel guilty stepping away from practicing mobs, MMT, gait aids, auscultation, and balance training. A gym session, a night out on the town with your classmates, or a few Friends reruns on Netflix is not going to alter your pursuit of becoming a physiotherapist – I promise you that.
In all honesty, setting the books aside will most likely make you more efficient and productive, because you’re allotting some “me” time and allowing yourself to decompress from the rigors of physiotherapy school. Becoming a competent physiotherapist is definitely important, but don’t forget to tend to your mental, physical, and spiritual health first.
That’s all I got for you, folks! If you keep these 5 things in mind throughout PT school, I am confident that you’ll make your life a whole lot easier over these next 2 years. Now keep doing big things!