I’ve mentioned a couple times on here that I’m a college student. I already have a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, but I didn’t spend too much time using that. I can tell myself a lot of crap about why I didn’t use it, but it’s mostly because the type of people that are drawn to the field of human services are the exact type of people that remind me of my sociopathic parents and thus inspire homicidal urges in me. No, not every person that works in the field is a narcissistic douchebag with a savior complex and a strong impulsive need to constantly be involved in some form of crisis, but let’s be honest – isn’t one person like that plenty? Yes. Yes, it really really is.
So I decided to change careers entirely. Which meant going back to school. When I started looking for PTA programs I realized there was one literally a neighborhood away from me. I can actually walk there (which I would probably do more frequently if I hadn’t experienced an attempted mugging-by-bicyclist the last time I tried that). It’s a very good program that was super competitive to get into. I worked my booty off to get in and was beyond stoked when I got that acceptance letter. In fact, it’s been magnetized to my fridge since the day I got it, 10 months ago.
Except now that I’m actually in the clinical program and, you know, learning how to practice physical therapy, I’m freaking out.
Part of the freaking out comes from how difficult the program is. I have a 4.0 and consider myself to be pretty damn smart, but this is some next level shit. Then there’s the sheer volume of physical contact I have to have with my peers. I certainly assumed I’d have to do lots of hands-on stuff with patients. And I guess I assumed I’d eventually be one of the “patients” – since we don’t have licenses yet (or even basic clinical skills at this point) we need to practice on each other so we don’t each get sued 400 times for malpractice. What I legit did NOT expect, however, was for my very first lab class to start with my professor saying,
“Okay, guys, choose a partner – someone you haven’t worked with yet – and pair up. Your first task is to properly drape your “patient”, remove their pants and shirt, and then put them back on, all while protecting your “patient’s” modesty and remaining professional with your touch.”
Guys. Omg. I literally stopped breathing. Pretty sure my heart stopped working as well. I was in full “freeze” mode for a good 2-3 minutes. I was panicking. But then I remembered that I know how to completely detach from my bodily sensations so I just floated up out of my body and went through the motions of being the “patient” all while this man I barely know literally reached under a sheet and pulled off my clothing in a crowded room with 23 other people I barely know. SO MUCH FUN.