My first-ever Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy issue arrived in the mail! It looked so foreign in my hands. It felt like a revered document from another time, although I wasn’t sure if it was the past or future.
In my past, I’ve seen dozens of physical therapists receive a journal copy in the mail. Some tuck their copy into their work bags, or haphazardly throw their copy in the backseat of their car. Others simply leave their copy lying around in the clinic. This small token of our profession seems to be taken for granted by some.
Not for me, at least not yet. The arrival of the JOSPT came with a huge sense of wonder: I’ve joined their ranks. A year ago, I would’ve done anything to be in the position I’m now in. And now, here I am with a JOSPT in my hands, on the way to becoming a full-fledged PT.
Competition within a physical therapy program irritates me because it isn’t healthy, and it isn’t necessary at this level of education. My physical therapy cohorts are all hard-workers, they all care about mastering the material to hopefully become great physical therapists. However, there are a few that are overly competitive.
I think it’s childish to see a guy walk up to one of the more timid girls, immediately declare that he received an “A” on the last exam, and bluntly ask for her grade. It might as well be phrased, “Are you dumber or smarter than me? And can you say it loud so that everyone can hear?” I’ve also heard people guessing who in the program would drop out. How much more mean-spirited can you get? This isn’t a zero-sum game: a classmate’s good performance isn’t detrimental to you.
Competition to drive your own performance is all well and good. But at the doctorate level, most people I’ve encountered are driven by their own goals. Not by an insecure want to validate their intellect. I can only speak for my program, but my cohorts go hard. The diligence and hard work I’ve seen has surprised me.
I would like to see everyone make it through the program. It took hard work to get in the doors, and I can already tell it’ll take hard work to get out. So it would be a shame to see someone falter. During orientation, a professor talked briefly about how there’s no more competition: we’ve already made it into the program. It confused me at the time and now I understand why it was addressed.