10 Things I’d Like to Thank my Classmates For

I was absolutely blessed with the 23 best colleagues anyone could ask for.

We started this journey almost a year ago: June 20th, 2016. Before starting, I knew a few faces, and I knew a few names from meeting people at interviews, but for the most part we were 24 strangers. As one of our professors always says – the first year of O&P school at Baylor is like drinking through a fire hose.

If O&P school can be likened to learning to drive…We’re not learning to drive on a back road or in a parking lot, we’re learning to drive going 60 down the highway. It’s stressful and it’s crazy, and there’s always a chorus of “Are we there yet?!” but our class is living proof that you can’t help but bond on the trip.

We’ve literally poured our blood, sweat, and tears into learning orthotics and prosthetics for the past year, and I’m now lucky and thankful to call these people my family.

In March, we received our residency matches, and in July we will move to the clinical portion of our curriculum, where we will rotate between 6 three-month residencies over the next 18 months. We will be moving all over the country, and we won’t get to see each other from 8-5 every day like we do now.

I’m going to miss them all so incredibly much, and I felt it was necessary to give them a big huge shout-out, because I’m so lucky to have worked beside them for the last year.

1. Thank you for your patience.

There have been SO MANY times that I’ve asked you for help. There has never been any hesitation, whether it was coming over to my bench during your lunch break to help me with alignment, or coming to pick me up in the rain when my car died. I appreciate all of the patience you demonstrated when I asked. There were many times that I struggled in the past year – academically and emotionally. Thank you for being patient and offering 23 (well, 46 I guess) helping hands without a second thought.

2. Thank you for being my home away from home.

I moved to Houston, Texas without knowing a soul. It was scary, but as we grew together in this past year, you all became more than just classmates – you are my friends and my O&P family. You gave me a home away from home, and I never felt lonely, and for that, I am so thankful.

3. Thank you for laughing with me.

There are some days, some projects, some lectures, that were just so confusing or difficult or tedious or frustrating that there  was nothing we could do but laugh. Thank you for the fabrication day dance parties, for the endless inside jokes, and for the laughter that kept me sane.

4. Thank you for pushing me to be better.

You all are some of the most amazing people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. I know you are all going to do amazing things. I am constantly in awe of the work you do at school, and as a result, I am constantly striving to be better. You make me push my limits, which in turn helps me improve.

5. Thank you for dealing with my whining.

We’re just gonna leave this one here. I know it’s bad sometimes, especially when I’m hungry. Just thanks.

6. Thank you for teaching me.

What I love about our class is that fact that we come from a variety of unique backgrounds; everyone has something that they’re absolutely amazing at. I’ve learned so much from every single one of you. Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and your passion with me.

7. Thank you for questioning me.

By questioning me, you help make me smarter and more aware. This in turn, will improve my skills as a clinician. By questioning me, you are indirectly giving my future patients a better orthosis or prosthesis and a better quality of life. For that, I am forever grateful.

8. Thank you for picking me up.

I’m imperfect. I’m imperfect. I’m imperfect. For a very long time, and even still to this day, I have trouble with that. I’m a perfectionist, and it often gets in the way of my progress and my learning. By watching and learning from you all, however, I now know that if something not-so-good happens, I can dust myself back off and keep moving forward. Before meeting you all, when I would struggle, I would get stuck in the rut. Thank you for pulling me out of the rut. There were even times when I didn’t even know what to do, and you were there to pick me up.

9. Thank you for the inspiration.

You all amaze me, by the work you do and the compassion you demonstrate each and every day. I’m proud to say I worked and learned beside you, and I’m lucky to know you. I cannot wait to see you all do great things, and in doing those great things, you inspire me to attempt the same.

10. Thank you for being on my team.

I’ve had academic experiences before that were rather unpleasant when it came to comparing performance or grades between classmates. I hated the cutthroat, have-to-be-the-best mentality. I was worried about it when coming to graduate school, honestly; I didn’t know what to expect. However, when starting here, I was (and am still) amazed that we all look out for each other. We want the best for our classmates, and I absolutely love the bond that we share. I know that you will always have my back, and I will always have yours.

Thank you. I can’t wait to see what you all accomplish in the next 18 months!

© Cara Yocum | Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes 2017