Collaboration > Competition

For the fast few Fridays, I’ve joined a few of my classmates volunteering at interviews for the Columbia DPT Class of 2016. Meeting the students at my own interview helped me fall in love with the program, so it’s fun to think that I can possibly do that for someone else. One of the most frequently asked questions I’ve gotten during these informal meetings has been: “Is your class competitive?”

I’m always glad to answer that Columbia PT is the very opposite of competitive (as are most schools from what I hear). In fact, I would describe our class as collaborative. From the beginning we’ve been told that our tests aren’t curved – if we each deserve to get an A, we can all get them. As one professor put it, “You all competed against a lot of people to get in here, but now that you’re here, the competition is over.”

This means being happy when your classmates do well, and trying to lend a hand when they don’t. Unlike in previous years of schooling, I believe in PT school it’s less intimidating to ask for help. If someone’s struggling with a concept, they usually don’t hesitate to speak with the professor or ask a classmate for assistance. And people who master certain topics are constantly sending out charts and study guides to the rest of the class. Rather than being a burden, helping fellow classmates study only reinforces the material for everyone.

As someone who’s always enjoyed competing against myself over competing against others, this environment is extremely refreshing. I want to do well on my exams because I want to ensure that I’m learning as much as possible, and I want my peers to do the same.

All this will surely be great preparation as we prepare to enter the workforce in a few short years. No matter the setting, I know my classmates and I will be well-prepared to collaborate with our fellow PTs, as well doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.

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