I am not a number. I am a person— a person with as many flaws as hair follicles (no, I’m not bald), but also a person who is grounded, talented, and compassionate.
The all-too-familiar scene many students face for the days leading up to an exam— a cluttered study room in the Landman Library.
If you are anything like me, you all too often let the fear of failing a test consume you. I can honestly tell you that stressing out over the unknown is not worth it. As we grow and develop, more and more aspects of our lives will change, and we may not immediately know how to recover or what to do in response to those changes. At the end of the day, all we can do is try. We cannot allow our past to haunt our future, and we have to remember that no matter how bad things may seem at the moment, life is an ever-changing rollercoaster that will not always throw you for a loop.
I am in the same boat as many other students my age, those who face the harsh reality of not being good enough “on paper” for grad school. I’m a junior now and currently in a GPA battle to get into Physical Therapy school, which has always been my dream. One of the main reasons why I chose Arcadia was for its PT program. Coming from Northern New Jersey, I am about a two-hour drive from home, so at times it can be hard to maintain confidence without the support of my family here with me. What I am learning, however, is that the difference between success and failure is not as black and white as passing a class or failing a class. It all comes down to how bad you want something and the lengths of your strides to get what you want.
Luckily at Arcadia, I feel comfortable enough to go the extra mile with my studies. Since class sizes are relatively small, all of my professors know my name and I am definitely more than a number to them. I always try to speak with them when I am having issues with a particular topic, or I head over to the Learning Resource Network (LRN), where I am also known by name due to my excessive (yet encouraged) use of the tutors there.
I am slowly learning that nothing in life comes easy. Everyone has to work for success, and failure can often be much easier to achieve. However, in a beautifully traumatic way, that is the best part of the collegiate journey. Not performing to expectation forces you to make a choice: Do I quit or do I try again? Those decisions are hard, but they also determine our character, grit, and heart. There will always be complications involved in a person’s decision to stay or go, but once the decision is made, the hard part is done. I have just learned to dig deep and let life take its course. I can only do as much as I can, and if PT school is meant to be for me, then it will happen.
Speaking from personal experience, I know these extremely unpleasant decisions are the decisions that will strengthen me in the long run.
I have dreamt of being a physical therapist since high school. My brother broke his leg around the time I got my license (in New Jersey we have to wait until 17). After his incident, I would drive him to physical therapy sessions after school. I would sit and watch the therapists do their work, and it was so interesting to me that I decided I wanted to pursue PT as a career. Even after three years of hard studying, constant pressure, and the occasional mental breakdown, I have never wanted something more in my life. So, despite my GPA not being where “they” say it needs to be to get into PT school, I am not worried.
Worrying does no good. Quite literally, it is what it is, and all I can do to improve my chances is work hard, ask questions when necessary, and never give up.
People always ask me what my Plan B is if PT school doesn’t work out, but I sit here today, honestly without a Plan B. At the moment, I do not see any other career that I would want to be in. I am learning to self-care and, in doing so, I am able to believe in myself more than I ever have been able to before. My father has always told me to persevere and never give up fighting for something I truly want. He has been a great role model in my life and inspires me to keep going.
Here’s my take on the world: We live in color, but everyone tries to see things in black and white. As long as you continue to see in color, one day you will get where you want to be, regardless of what a number scaled from 0-4 says to others about you.