Mar 4, 2017

Posted by in School of Massage Therapy | 0 Comments

Week Two: Myology!? And other fun things

It’s the second week of school, and things officially seem real. The part time evening (PTE) class and full time fall (FTF) class are back from break, and the part time spring (PTS) program has started. PTS is important, because we take all our sciences together (at least to the best of my knowledge), so my intimate class of 15 is expanded to this very varied class of close to 30 people I think. Not that it’s a bad thing, it just feels overwhelming to go from a small class to a big class when you’re someone like me who prefers small groups. Large groups are exhausting to me at times, so it will take some adjustment on my part.

So sciences! This week was the beginning of Myology and Kinesiology. AKA the class that will make you or break you. At first, when people who were re-entering the program were saying that, I kept telling myself that nah, it couldn’t be that intense. I lied to myself. It really is that intense. At this point we’ve had two classes that were overflowing with information, and on Monday we will have our first quiz. There appear to be a lot of quizzes, and even more information. We’ll be responsible for learning all the muscles, their attachment points, the bone markings, all the bones, and how everything moves. We are learning anatomical positioning, and proper terminology when speaking about the body. It’s an avalanche of information, and I think right now all of us are just trying to find the right pace to keep up with it. I certainly came home on Monday feeling very overwhelmed.

Thankfully, we have this resource called Moodle, where we can access virtual classrooms that have some study guides and practice quizzes to assist in our learning, aside from just homework. I’ve poked around in it, and it seems like it’s really going to be a priceless resource for this course. I suspect Anatomy and Physiology, which starts next week, will be similar.

The big thing to know for these classes, is that failure is not an option. Failing is anything below a 75%, because that’s how the state board works for getting licensed as a massage therapist. Everything the school does is modeled after that exam, because in theory if we can maintain those standards in school, then we can pass the boards. They must be on to something, because they have an extremely high pass rate of students who succeed on the boards. So yes, failure is not an option. If you fail two quizzes, you have to go speak with the academic advisor to assess things. Not necessarily a bad thing, because the school really does want to help you where they can, but it’s still not something anyone wants to have happen.

In addition to Moodle we can also use things called Tutorials, which are study sessions with staff members that last an hour per tutorial used. Up to four students can sit in on one Tutorial, and anytime it’s more than one student the Tutorial is split between them. We each receive 10 free Tutorials for the year, and after that it’s $35 for each one. Though, there is a rumor that if you use all of your Tutorial’s up, and you ask nicely for a few more, they will be granted to you because the school really does want to see us succeed.

I mean, seriously, the program is really intense, but the staff is so ready and willing to do everything in their power to make sure we succeed that it is a great counter-balance to that intensity. I have never before been in a school that has such a core set of teamwork and values, and I really appreciate it.

My classmates are also fantastic. I made it a personal goal to actually make an effort at talking to them, and so far so good. Sometimes my introverted ways can get under my feet, and I find myself very unable to start a conversation with someone I don’t know, or reach out and try to make the first move toward a friendship. This is such a safe and welcoming place though, that I’m really not finding it difficult to put forth that effort, and it’s such a relief. I even stayed after on Thursday to be part of a group massage exchange that one of my classmates set up. It’s the first time I’ve ever really participated in something like that, and it gave me a wonderfully warm and endearing feeling right down to my core. No one has had to do anything special, but they [my classmates] really do make me feel included. We’re not supposed to make assumptions, but I think it’s safe to say that all of us in our class feel the same way. I don’t think any of us feel like we’re being excluded or ostracized, and that’s fantastic. I could be wrong, of course, but that’s just not the feeling I get. It really isn’t that kind of environment.

So as of Week 2, I’ve now gone beyond just the Foundations of Massage (FOM), and we have started Myology and Kinesiology (MYO), and Wellness. Wellness is an interesting beast… we only have 9 classes total in that, and they meet sporadically. However, it’s a class that is designed to make us think about how we take care of ourselves in a career that demands we take care of others. After all, you cannot pour from an empty cup. I’m going to post an entire blog on it’s own on some of my thoughts from Wellness though, because it is a very involved class in its own right. For it we’re reading a book called “The Psychology of the Body”, which is specifically for massage therapists. It discusses the importance of touch, good communication, and boundaries (among other things, that’s just as far as we’ve gotten at this point). All very necessary things in this line of work. But that reading is hard. One chapter, although only 30 pages, might take four hours to read just because you constantly have to re-read things to get a full understanding. That’s some rough stuff. So in a way, I’m also grateful that it doesn’t have too many classes, because too much of that reading and I might just be a puddle on the floor. Hahaha.

Next week we have the first quiz in MYO, and we have our touch-test in FOM. The touch-test makes me nervous, but all week leading up to it will be review so I’m sure I’ll be fine. We just have to perform the base massage strokes that we’ve learned on one leg of an instructor (who is not teaching our FOM class). Since every instructor we have is a practicing LMT, they can pull in literally any instructor for this. Unfortunately, and I do feel a bit bad about this, receiving so many massages on their legs will actually leave them in pain. You would think that they’d be on cloud nine, but apparently it’s kind of like a book plot. It starts off rising to a climax, and once you hit that peak, it’s all downhill from there. So I’m grateful they’re willing to do this so we can ensure we know our stuff. Like I said though, the community at this school that starts with the staff and stems outward is phenomenal.

Speaking of FOM, we had a fun project in there this week too. For the second piece of our typical paperwork, we learned how to do a medical intake form. For this, we had to go home and find someone who was willing to fill it out (or answer the questions over the phone). After an off-hand comment to my FOM instructor about my father’s health, and his comment that I should use him for this project, I did. Wow, I both am glad I did, and regret it. It took an hour and a half for us to compile all the information, and we’re not even sure we got all of it. My father has lived a very full life, and his body reflects a lot of choices that maybe weren’t such a good idea… Not that he regrets any of them to my knowledge, but it’s safe to say that his body makes train wrecks look good in comparison. Some of the surgeries and medical procedures that he had to tell me about, while interesting, are also things that I feel I might also have been better off not know. LOL Like the Edison Procedure, which was experimental surgery (no longer used), that involved cutting the thigh muscle so it could be stapled to the tibia, the down to the fibula, then back up to the tibia, before it was sewn back into the thigh to keep it alive. Terrifying. However, at the time that was the only other option aside from fusing his knee or an amputation (he received the injury from a brutal car accident). Lucky for him it kept his knee going long enough for them to learn how to do full knee replacements, and that has since replaced the Edison Procedure. So I’m sure my FOM instructor is having fun reading through that medical history. On the plus side, on my own review of the process, I was able to ask the question if I would ever be able to possibly give my father a massage, so if he answers that question I will know if there are things I can do to work toward that, or if my father is the lost cause I think he is.

All in all though, despite the slap in the face with reality thanks to MYO, I’m still really excited to be at this school, learning all these new things. It really is going to be an intense program, but I strongly feel that I’m at a point in life where I have the necessary maturity and support to persevere and become an LMT. It’s going to be one hell of a ride though!

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