The 5 Year Plan: Frustrations

If you’ve been hanging around Live, Run, Grow for awhile you may know that I’m currently in school.  Not I’m under 21, doing college for the first time kinda school, or even the I have a great career and am just furthering my education kinda school, more like I’m in my early 30’s and left a field I’ve worked in for almost 10 years but didn’t really love to pretty much do a complete 180 kinda school.

I’m in the process of taking all of the pre-requisite classes I need to apply to Physical Therapy Doctorate programs (I used to do marketing/ event production.  See, total 180.)

I’ve been meaning to write an update on my progress with my 5 Year Plan, but I keep procrastinating (which I am really good at, just ask my husband) because I don’t really feel like I’ve gotten anywhere and to be honest the entire process has been very frustrating to the point that last week I had a complete meltdown (not an exaggeration…again I’ll refer you to my husband who experienced said meltdown) and declared that I was done.

First, I spoke to an admissions person at a school I am interested in and she was very discouraging telling me that chances of getting into a program to start summer/ fall of 2014 (which I was planning on) were slim since I’d still be finishing my pre-requisites this spring and many other applicants would have them done already.  Of course those applicants would most likely be given priority and since programs only begin once a year there is a good chance I won’t get in to a program until summer/ fall of 2015 – an entire year later than I was hoping.

Then this semester started and just two weeks in I was already overwhelmed and convinced I couldn’t handle it and of course that deteriorated into if I can’t handle the pre-requisites how on earth am I going to handle doctorate classes?!?

This semester I’m taking Psychology, Anatomy, Chemistry and Physics.  A LOT of science.  Science doesn’t scare me, I actually kinda like it.

Now math on the other hand, math scares me.

I was never good at math, and on top of that I haven’t actually taken a math class in over 12 years!  (And in case you’re wondering the need for higher level math doesn’t exactly come up very often in the event production world.  Although now that I think about it there was that one time I needed to look up the formula to figure out circumference when I needed to get oversized human pucks wrapped…)

Human Puck Wraps

See those human pucks?
I did the math to get those wraps made for them! Go me!

“But Danielle, you’re not taking math!”

No, you’re right, I’m not.  But both my chemistry and physics classes are so math intensive I sure as heck may as well be!  (And as an added bonus I’m lucky enough to have the physics teacher who makes you feel like a complete idiot if you ask a simple math question. Awesome.)

Within the first couple of chemistry and physics classes I was so lost and overwhelmed I was ready to just give up and call it quits and start looking for a job back in events.

I cried and stressed and flipped out for the better part of a week and here is the conclusion I’ve come to: this semester is paid for and it’s too late to get a refund on the classes so what can it hurt to do my best and see what happens.  If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out.

This quote I posted a few months ago seems quite appropriate.

This quote I posted a few months ago seems quite appropriate.

Lucky for me, I have incredible support from people around me…

My parents – my dad even whipped out his old physics books to help!

Old Physics Book

Hopefully physics hasn’t changed too much since this was published!

Friends – “Pacer Pat” who helped me get to a sub-2 hour half marathon returned to help me again, this time with physics homework (which he apparently finds fun?!).

(Pat – IOU a beer. Or 5.)

Homework with Pat

And of course, my husband Jason, who reminded me of another of my infamous meltdowns when I was training for my first full marathon and my 20 mile run was a complete disaster.  I called him and proclaimed I was done, clearly running a marathon is not something I could do (sound familiar?).  He encouraged me not to give up, and I did keep going and I did run a marathon (and then another and 2 more this fall!).

Post First Marathon with Jason

After my 1st marathon with my #1 cheerleader!
(he flew to Florida for less than 24 hours to be there!)

So, while I don’t know what is going to happen in the future with this 5 Year Plan and my goal of become a physical therapist, what I do know is that today is not the day I’m going to give up.  (No guarantees about next week after my chemistry and physics tests though.)

And as for not getting into a school this year because I’m behind other applicants?

Well, I guess we’ll cross that bridge when (if?) we get there.

Never Give Up Quote Big

29 thoughts on “The 5 Year Plan: Frustrations

  1. I could kick that woman in the boobs! Everyone is finishing pre-reqs when they get in to school. Literally! No where near everyone is finished with them by the time they apply. That is bologna. I am incredibly fired up right now because I hate to see you being discouraged by someone who clearly put their pants on backward the day you decided to call them.
    Keep your head up, and keep trucking. You can do this! And as far as doctoral classes go, running a marathon is harder. Trust me I have done both….at the same time!!
    Much love and support from SC!

    • First of all, I can’t tell you how helpful it’s been having a blog buddy who’s been through a lot of this! I’m still planning on applying to start for next year (hoping cranky pants admissions lady is wrong), but at the same time I know that while a year seems like a long time to wait it’s probably worth it in the long run if I have to.

      Thanks again! (And I really hope we end up at the same race someday so we can meet!)

  2. Danielle, The pre-reqs comment sounded totally off base. Some admissions people are there because they could not cut it at any other job and she was probably one of them! As a mature student, with good grades, you should have just as good a chance to get into a program of your choice as anyone else. Keep at it, PT is a great field and runners love their PT people! 🙂

    • Thanks Pam, I’m just hoping this not so pleasant admissions lady is just the admin person or something and doesn’t actually have any say in whether I get into the program or not!

  3. That’s a great way to look at things. My biggest regret would be not trying new things and not knowing what I could have done. No “what-ifs.” If this is what you want to do, go in full force. We’re more capable of doing things than we think we are.

    • That’s sort of what I started thinking when I was ready to just throw in the towel…then I’d have to go through the rest of my life thinking “what if”, which may be even harder than struggling through physics and chemistry!

  4. Spite is the best motivator ever and that admissions woman just fed it to you on a silver platter. If the professor is giving you a hard time about math questions, maybe send out an email to the grad student listserv in the math/physics department and I guarantee one of them will be willing to help you if you offer them free food in exchange. And watch the Big Bang Theory. It’s like studying but not.

    • Haha, I LOVE Big Bang Theory! It’s funny my friend who helped me with my physics said once I learn physics I’ll get even more of the jokes and it’ll be even funnier – that’s motivation enough for me!

      And good idea, I am definitely going to look into reaching out to some math/ science students for some help!

  5. Baby steps! Just take one thing at a time and try not to get overwhelmed with the big picture. ha, yes…I know it’s SO MUCH easier said than done! And ignore the stupid advisor lady.

  6. I have to say, I really admire you for going back to school and following your dream, no matter what! Life is too short to be unhappy. I can really relate to how you’re feeling, because I’m definitely a goal-oriented person, and I tend to constantly obsess over “the big picture”…which can be overwhelming and, let’s face it, downright terrifying. I have similar meltdowns “on the regular,” believe you me!

    You WILL get through these classes, and I’m going to have to echo everyone else’s sentiments and tell you to ignore that admissions person…there are ALWAYS going to be people who try to bring us down, right?

    BTW, I’m in training for Dopey now, as you may know, and I want you to know that you totally inspire me! I’ve set this goal that seems pretty impossible to me right now, but reading about your experiences is helping me to believe that I can do this…so thank you! 🙂

    • Haha, good to hear I’m not the only “adult” who has the occasional meltdown!

      And thank you so much for your encouraging words, it’s so humbling to know that something I’m doing for myself inspires others. Speaking of inspiration, the before & after photos at the top of your blog are amazing and I’m sure are a source of inspiration for many, you’ve come such a long way and I’m sure you are going to do awesome during Dopey – just take your time and have fun!

  7. OK, so I don’t even know where to begin to comment. First off, let’s start with the offer of my husband! Doug is actually a math and science teacher…granted its middle school, but hey, he got his masters in those areas and we are in your neighborhood pretty much on a weekly basis, so hey, you never know lol

    Second, the obvious one is breathe! Take deep breaths, relax, nothing in this life worth having comes easy…and remember I’m willing to kick anyone’s ass (since taking boxing, I’m even more equipped to do so!)

    And lastly, you can do it. You inspire tons of people. Its a shame that that’s one of those things you can do for others, but so difficult to do for yourself. As you know, I just recently made the decision to go back to school and in the same boat you are…not 21 and doing a complete 180 (paralegal to sports psychologist, makes PERFECT sense). Part of the reason I am not letting the panic of the fear deter me is because I see my friends, co-workers and YOU doing it. I mean, come on, you’re running 48.6 miles in 4 days, if you can do that, you can do anything! 🙂

    Thus endeth my rant…sorry :/

    • Ok, first of all, I hope your new husband doesn’t mind you offering up his services because I really may eventually take you/ him up on that – I’m sure his masters will cover any math I need to know : )

      It took a few days, but after I calmed down about the whole situation I realized I need to at least give it my best shot. If it doesn’t work out then so be it, but I’ve come this far, I shouldn’t quit over a little math or a cranky admissions lady, right?

      I can’t wait to hear more about your plans for school (especially because it’ll be nice to have someone in the same boat I am!).

      • Don’t worry, I totally volunteer him for stuff all the time! lol

        And no worries, I can guarantee I will have plenty of school meltdowns to post about! Especially since I can’t even seem to figure out how to get started! lol

  8. You got this! It can be overwhelming at times, but that feeling always passes. You’ve already made it through the toughest part, you left your job and went back to school… most people never make it that far. And always remember you have lots of people to help when you need it, just ask 😉

    And yay for free beer!!!! Make mine a michelada 🙂

    • Hmmm…math may actually be harder than deciding to leave my job… Haha, just kidding, you’re totally right, that was the hardest part and I managed to get through that!

      Keep in mind you may be able to earn yourself additional free beers during Wine & Dine if I happen to have a test coming up or something!

  9. Dear Dani…
    I have read all of the encouraging comments on your blog and I am truly moved by the incredibly supportive and motivating friendships you have developed. There is a little story I never told you about me which would appear to be apropos. When I was applying to medical school in 1970 (yes I know, I am ancient)… there was another candidate sitting next to me waiting to be interviewed. He turned to me and asked my nationality. I proudly told him I was Italian, to which he replied rather smugly, “Why would you ever apply here, everyone knows Johns Hopkins doesn’t accept Italians!” I was accepted…. he wasn’t ! Remember, live your life so when you look back you can say …”I did it my way, with no regrets.” Life is NOT a dress rehearsal… it to the fullest.
    I am proud of you beyond words….. and love you tons !

  10. I really admire you. It takes so much gumption to do what you’re doing. And, yes, it’s going to be really hard. Math? I’m with you. I haven’t taken a math class since 1995. I’d be utterly lost at anything beyond the most basic algebra now. But you’re smart, you’re determined, you can do this! It sounds like you have a great support system to help you through. I went back to school to change careers and started out in journalism as an unpaid intern at the age of 28. I felt so far behind everyone else. It wasn’t ANYWHERE near as hard as what you’re doing and I frequently felt overwhelmed. That is, until I found my footing. It will get easier the further you go down this path. You’ll get used to being back in school, you’ll gain confidence and, just like in running, every step will bring you closer to the finish line. The path you’ve chosen is a marathon. But you’ve done those before, so you’ve got this!

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experience Karla,you put it perfectly because that is exactly how I feel, I look around at all the other students and I feel so far behind! And I love thinking about the path I’ve chosen as a marathon, I am going to do my best to keep that in mind!

  11. I really do admire you for going into something so completely different and trying something new. I complain about my profession all the time, yet I don’t know that I would ever be able to start from scratch. In meltdown land – I had one the other day about my new job. I just don’t know that I can cut it and get up to speed in the amount of time that I need to. But like you, I’m trying to step back and just take it one step at a time. Which is so hard to do. But anyway – I have faith in you. And the human pucks are hilarious!!!

  12. Good luck in your studies! You find yourself suddenly in the deep end of the pool – but no worries – you’ll soon feel at home.

    By the way, I love that book Thinking Physics! I thought I knew physics pretty well, but that book has a way of presenting and explaining physics that makes it more real, if you know what I mean.

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  14. Ok so I’m way behind on blog reading so I’m really sorry I didn’t see this earlier. First, hug! You’ll get there. I promise. I was an engineer in college and I remember having MANY meltdowns about the academics. I wish I lived closer – I would happily try to help you with your homework. I was actually sad when math was over b/c it was one of few classes that I got A’s in…easily! 🙂

    Don’t let that silly lady in admissions get to you. You will be an asset to any program – own it, do your thing.

    BTW I am so impressed about a career 180 – that scares the crap out of me. You have a lot more guts than most people (myself included).

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