Name: Amy Medlock, Class of 2017
Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI
Undergrad: University of Notre Dame
Fun Fact: My right thumb is 1 cm shorter than the left
Finals week. What a great time to be writing this post on time & life management. PT school is demanding and can often feel overwhelming, but it does not have to take over your entire life. In addition to the responsibilities of school I am married, have two kids (Emma & Lyla), and I have to commute over one hour each day. I have a secret though: since the end of my 2nd semester, I have not studied after 5pm or on weekends and my GPA is doing as well as ever. Shhh…Don’t tell our faculty!
It is definitely not easy getting through a DPT program with extra responsibilities, but with the right discipline and support it is entirely possible. Since starting PT school there are a few tricks and tactics I have learned that may seem simple but have made it possible for me to keep my nights and weekends free for my family.
- Give yourself set hours – I arrive at school every day at 7am whether we start class at 8am or 1pm, and I leave everyday between 4:00p and 5:00p even if we get done with class earlier.
- Pay attention in class – This may seem obvious, but some people don’t do it. If you look at people’s computers during lecture you’ll see people checking Facebook, playing Bubble Spinner or reading the news. To avoid becoming distracted by the ever present lure of Facebook or browsing the news, I sit in the front row to help keep my attention focused on taking notes. Class is valuable time that significantly reduces the amount of additional studying.
- Schedule everything – I start every week by scheduling out every day from when I am going to exercise, complete upcoming assignments, to when I can meet up with friends. This keeps me accountable to my goals and keeps me from feeling like I have things hanging over my head or that I am forgetting something.
- Study when you study – Again, this might seem obvious, but it is really easy to get distracted by conversations, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. while studying. I have become very selective in the locations I will study and the people I will study with in order to maximize my study time. I have also found people who are willing to drive down to the ‘burbs where I live on days when the demands of being a mom require that I stay closer to home (Thanks, Tane Owens!).
- Exercise & get outside – This helps me so much with feeling healthy, maintaining my energy and focusing while studying. We are PTs, I don’t need to give all the reasons why this is a must! Being productive and efficient with my studies enables me to still live an active lifestyle.
- Leave school at school – I understand that it is difficult for those that live with classmates but I avoid doing school work at home. I do my best to be present to my husband and kids whenever I am at home. I am not saying that I am perfect at this, but I really do try.
- Stay involved – I have found ways to stay involved and active in both our academic program as well as our profession as a whole. Adding extra responsibilities and events further forces me to organize my time and priorities. I do not have time to procrastinate; therefore, I do not.
- Develop a support network – I feel so blessed to have a supportive and understanding husband who stays home with our kids when they are sick, makes dinner when I get stuck in traffic, and pushes me to be the best wife, mom and student that I can possibly be. I also have amazing mom-friends who have my back when childcare falls through or when I need a glass of wine and movie night.
I have had to develop these strategies and practices out of necessity due to my responsibilities and commitments outside of PT school. But, we all have responsibilities and commitments outside of the classroom. I hope some of these pointers can help you to stay focused and stress-free(ish!) as you go through this vigorous program.