Views from the [Black] DPT Student

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“If you build it, they will won’t come.”

Walking to lab every day, I pass the class pictures of the previous Physical therapy students who have since graduated. Every other year, there is one or two black students surrounded by white faces. It’s a bitter sweet feeling because I am making history yet it is history repeating itself. You don’t really see many African Americans graduating from P.T. programs at HBCUs. Somehow, white students have become the minority but still outnumber the black students in the class. I really do not get it!

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It’s disappointing that these black establishments cannot provide their children with a home to call their own. So now I feel empowered that I am attending and taking over an HWCU (and no the “W” does not stand for wonderful). Every May, I tune into WHUT to watch the graduating class at Howard University in Washington, D.C. I always cry tears of joy when I see the graduating nurses, dentists, doctors, pharmacists and of course physical therapists of color. It feels so good….spectacular….marvelous to know that I am not alone.

I cry because I know how hard they fought to be there. I can FEEL it because I am living it! I know the struggle first hand of what it is like to be black trying so damn hard to better yourself. Nobody said that it would be easy but it is definitely possible. #BeGreat #UpliftandEmpowerSomeoneToday

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Views from the [Black] DPT Student

Do’s and Don’ts in P.T. School: MY Keys to Success!

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P.T. school isn’t really hard. It’s just the amount of material may be a bit much to handle so it requires a lot of discipline. That is why it is so essential to develop a schedule or method that works. This can go for P.T.A., nursing, P.A. or medical students. Honestly, whoever can benefit.

Tips:
Study what you can. The material is dense and you’re not going to remember it all.
There are many branches of P.T. so be open to learning them all before sticking to “outpatient”.
You are going to love and hate your classmates (maybe hate them more) but remember you all are there for the same reason and amount of time.
People will fail out. Just be prepared to see two or three faces missing the second semester/year.
Make sure this is the right career for you so observe physical therapy in different settings.
Be as mature as possible because you will be dealing with REAL patients in unfavorable situations 97.4 percent of the time.
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Do’s:
Buy the book you feel you need. I only bought 3 books a semester and they were all older editions.
Work if you need the money but do not work full time.
Study or go over your notes the day you get them.
Ask for help from professors before classmates. (they do not know everything)
Stay after class to practice the new skills that you’ve learned in lab.
Bring food with you everyday (mostly healthy snacks).
Save money!
Try to get out on the weekend to avoid burning out from school work.
Find a study/practice buddy who is willing to work as hard as you to pass competencies/practicals.
Stay off of social media (delete the FB, IG, Twitter. Snap chat accounts off your phone).

Dont’s:
Don’t get distracted and text during class. You can miss a whole lecture zoning out for only 5 minutes.
Work more than 15-20 hours a week.
Get caught up in any outside nonsense that will cause you to lose focus.
Cheat on your exams. You are better off bombing it and studying harder for the next exam.
Be a book worm and study 24/7. Allow yourself free time.
Have a boyfriend or girlfriend. They need attention that you can not give them while you are focusing on school.

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Nevers:

Be afraid to speak up and give your reasoning in class. Professors love this. They want to see you use your critical thinking skills.
Doubt yourself! Prove to yourself you are there for a reason.
Get hung up on grades. No job or patient will care about that B- in ortho or that A in patient management.
Lose focus of why you are in P.T. school. If you feel unmotivated or uninspired, think about why you are there and the end result (Hint: $$$$$).

Maybes:
Have a “buddy” instead of a full blown boyfriend/girlfriend.
Get all of your books if you want. But Google was my best friend.
Have a drink or two every week (not a day).
Vent to friends and family about your experience.

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Some other things I did were make friends and hang out with people in my class. After all, we have 3 years together. I also worked out and tried to eat right (minus the beer). I thought I didn’t have time to go to the gym and ate junk which resulted in 16 extra pounds. I had to remember the field that I was in and that I had to promote health. Something else I used to relieve stress was Li music. It’s one of my favorite anti-stress methods and it really helped me get through. Some of my favorites included Drake “Started from the Bottom” and “Worst Behavior”, M83 “Midnight City”, Sia “Chandelier”, Kendrick Lamar “Sing About Me” and Kid Cudi “My World” just to name a few.

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These are some things that worked for me. It may be different depending on your support system, location, finances, availability of faculty, or whatever the case may be. P.T. school is a time for personal growth so use it wisely. Remember that you are great and that it is okay to take another leap to be greater!

Do’s and Don’ts in P.T. School: MY Keys to Success!