A Week in the Life

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By Michael Carroll

Where do I begin? Should I tell you about my first days in the St. Petersburg College (SPC) O&P program, or about the depths to which I've already been exposed to anatomy and physiology for O&P? Or should I tell you about what a rough week I just had? Maybe I'll just start at the beginning.

School hadn't even started, and there was already talk about school closures. Being the good Floridian that I am, I kept a close eye on reports of the hurricane that was rapidly approaching on the night before the college orientation session. The next morning, I checked my e-mail to ensure that the SPC campuses would be open before driving two hours to get there. Once I had the "all clear," my drive from Orlando to St. Petersburg began.

When I enrolled, I thought that I would live in St. Petersburg or Clearwater, both of which are much closer to the SPC Health Education Campus than Orlando, but for the time being, I've decided to stay at home, as my clinical rotation site is in Orlando.

I'm thrilled to be starting at SPC right after the college dedicated its new O&P clinical education center. The $10 million, 27,000-square-foot building took two years to complete and is the beautiful result of five years of hard work by the faculty, staff, and supporters of SPC. The lab alone is exactly the way I would want my own facility to look. The layout is perfect. The whole building is "wow"-worthy.

In addition to the facility, the faculty and staff are great. All of them are more than willing to help. All of the professors have worked in the field previously, which is reassuring, especially as a young person who aspires to be a successful clinician. The valuable knowledge they bring to the classroom can only be found in experienced clinicians.

I also have an amazing, diverse group of classmates, and I am proud to say I am the youngest of the bunch. We all joke around with one another, and no one is exempt from being teased. With such diverse backgrounds, everyone brings a unique perspective to the variety of topics we've been exposed to, which is especially beneficial when it's difficult to grasp a particular concept.

Of course, one of the most important aspects of school is academics. That being said, I don't remember a time when I have studied this much. To get into the O&P program at SPC, students must have completed physics, chemistry, biology, and anatomy and physiology I and II, in addition to a plethora of other courses. Last spring, I took courses in physics, chemistry, anatomy and physiology II, ethics and critical thinking, and music appreciation (I needed an easy class). With those 18 credit hours, I studied less than I have had to study to stay afloat in the first semester of this program. Just last week, I had four exams in two days, all of which were quite challenging. Time will tell how well I did. For now, I'm just happy about the upcoming weekend. Getting to spend time with a close friend and just relax with only one test looming in the near future is enough to make me breathe a little easier.

These first few weeks have been tough, but that's to be expected. I'm excited about the challenges that lie ahead. As American educator, editor, author, and politician Hamilton Holt said, "Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Work, continuous work, and hard work, is the only way to accomplish results that last." And I plan to last.

Michael Carroll is a junior at St. Petersburg College (SPC) in Florida. He will be sharing his experiences with The O&P EDGE as he completes his bachelor's degree in orthotics and prosthetics.