Trust me, I get it. You’re in the thick of your undergraduate career, working your tail off to obtain that report card mom would be proud of, while doing everything in your power to build up that all-star resume you’ve been yearning for. You stop and think to yourself, “Wow, I’m doing great!” but then, of course, your inner saboteur kicks in and tells you to take a look at the other people around you for a quick second. You look to your left and you see Sally, the varsity athlete with a 4.0 GPA who also happens to be on the University’s student council. You then look to your right and there goes John – the president of the Kinesiology Students’ Association – doing yet another mission trip somewhere in the pacific. You begin to realize that these are the same people who you’ll be going up against once application season rolls around. And to think you already had enough on your plate, here’s another kicker: For the vast majority of you, some of these people may actually be your friends as well!
How about that? Just when you thought getting into PT school was difficult enough, you now have all of these other factors to lose sleep over. But again… trust me, I get it. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and because I’ve walked these paths before, I’d like to offer some advice (if I may) to help you push through these interpersonal barriers in a way that benefits you, as well as the individuals around you.
Worry about yourself
My first piece of advice – albeit, cliché – is to worry about yourself. Believe me when I say this: you’re wasting valuable time worrying about what others are doing. You can only control your grades, connections, and extracurricular involvement. The time you spend looking over the shoulder of your counterparts is the same time that you could be doing something productive that would actually help with the process of making you a suitable candidate for PT school. Remember that you’re not submitting someone else’s application; you’re submitting your application. Of course, it’s totally reasonable to be aware of what’s going on around you, but the key is to not ruminate on it. I’d be lying if I said “the others” aren’t a factor, but they most certainly shouldn’t be your focal source of motivation. There’s competitors all around you, but the one that you should be most concerned with is the one staring at you in the mirror. Strive to be better than that person and you’ll be exactly who PT schools are looking for.
Remember your friendships
My second and final piece of advice is to not let the heat of pursuing PT school get in the middle of your friendships. I’m going to say it again: Do not let the heat of pursuing PT school get in the middle of your friendships. It’s just not worth it. Your career goals are important, but don’t let them take precedence over your relationships with people who have helped get you to where you are today. It’s not fair to you or them.
Competition can bring out the best and worst in people. Keep that in mind. I understand that you’re headstrong on getting into PT school but you need to let others do their thing. The John’s and Sally’s of the world are just trying to make it like you. They’re out of your control. But you know what is in your control? The decisions you make and the manner in which you treat others. If you stop comparing yourself to others and start doubling down on the things you can control, you’ll get that acceptance letter in no time.
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Thanks for reading.