On my first week of school, someone told me, you all fought like sharks to get in here, it is now time to play like a dolphin. That statement makes more sense to me now than it did then.
I find that as I progress in the program, the objective is less about grades and more about knowledge. As it should be. In undergrad and prerequisites, the pressure felt like you had to be better than everyone else in order to get into the best job or the best program. Breathe, future fellow OTs, smile, you made it, now just enjoy the process. My cohort is amazing, everyone is so talented and smart and kind. But we all had to work hard to get here, from a pool of 250+ applicants, we were the 30 that made it. We had the top GRE scores and best grades and most volunteer hours and we are all type A personalities, etc, etc. So it makes sense that it can feel strange to shift your mindset. But when you let go of the grade outcome, but the rewards are very much worth it.
Classes are hard, you will feel challenged. Every single person in my cohort has felt overwhelmed at some point and that is how it should be. This is all new, specialized material and OT is a very broad field. I’ve always been an “A”student, so really having to work for the grades that I’ve been getting in grad school has been five times harder than anything that I’ve put forth prior to this. This past week, I got my first less than stellar grade in a neurology case assignment, I called my husband crying and pronounced myself a failure. He told me to take a step back and remember that I’m supposed to be learning this stuff, that I dont’ already know it and that I should focus on the journey. And my husband is right (don’t tell him I said that), it’s not about the grades. It’s about whether you know the material and whether you can apply it. So after more time with the case studies (and a lot of zoom presentation practice) I feel like I finally understand the material… and THAT makes me feel more confident in myself as a future practitioner.
So with my very last final of my Fall semester done, I can finally relax and enjoy a little break before Spring starts back up. Enjoy the waves, dolphins.