I have to tell you about my worst experience during PT school. Years have passed, but I still cringe when I think about it today.
My school had a group poster presentation where students and faculty would rotate throughout the room and we would share our research. I wasn’t nervous about presenting. I prepped some, but while other classmates practiced and practiced, I felt confident in my ability.
That is until the first group of students and professors rotated to our poster. It was my turn to speak and NOTHING was happening. I was frozen. I didn’t know what to say, and I stared as everyone uncomfortably waited for me to speak. Finally, I did. Only it wasn’t my voice. It was high-pitched and cracking. It was terrible. I’d NEVER had trouble with public speaking, but there I was unable to recall anything about the research I worked on all semester.
I hated that moment and I still hate thinking about it. Yet, every time I have to give a presentation or a lecture or teach a course, I relive the experience in the days leading up. When I want to stop prepping before I feel 110% ready, I remember the time in PT school when I was overly confident. It is my least favorite memory from PT school, but I think it is part of what makes me a better speaker today.
I tell you this because you mess up in PT school. You have embarrassing moments or cringe-worthy experiences. But, guess what? You learn from it, and, while it feels like the world is ending at the time, you become better for it. I’m glad I messed up during a group project in PT school and not the first time presenting to a room full of PTs with more experience than me. I’m glad that the memory makes me push a little harder when I’m preparing. Failing, messing up, and being embarrassed is all part of making you a better PT.