Four weeks down, one more to go, then reading week. This is new to me, a week of at half term to study. I feel like we’ve only just begun. I also feel like I’ve been here for ages already. Funny thing, time perception.
Thus far classes are great. I am continually grateful that I have already studied anatomy and physiology, because the pace and length of the lectures would feel excessive if I was a first-timer. Lots of classmates are doing lots of studying, while for me these are an excellent opportunity for review and expanding detailed knowledge. We had an interesting discussion on evolution of cellular organisms, and learned that star dust everywhere contains genetic code in the form of sequenced amino acids. You might be a piece of a star. :)
Practical classes make up about two thirds of the schedule, with half the period usually devoted to theory, and half to hands-on. One course unique to ESO is GOT: general osteopathic technique, generally called body adjustment. This is a method of treatment that uses a routine devised by John Martin Littlejohn, on of the founding members of the profession. The routine moves systematically through the body, articulating the joints in a particular order, with emphasis along lines of tension found, combining the elements of assessment and treatment. So far we are two moves into a full body routine. I find the method quite interesting, for the information I gain in my body on how to hold and maneuver the patient as I focus on particular joints, as well as simply having new moves for articulation. Although I don’t picture myself treating patients solely based on this routine, I am finding meaningful information in it.
Osteopathic techniques has so far been the most challenging and most interesting course. The lecturers change weekly, with several tutors per session, all of which are practicing osteopaths in the region, and many, but not all, graduates of the ESO. We have spent much time simply observing, noticing differences in symmetry, carefully categorizing posture, learning to name what we see, and always practicing going through our observations out loud, as we will be tested in this way. I have known the importance of working with a variety of models, but have been wonderfully surprised by the value added having so many tutors. It’s amazing how different the information sounds explained by another person, and some of the pro tips are great, really simplify the experience. I’ve also experienced teachers and tutors taking time 1-on-1 to explain to a student something that they haven’t understood, really finding a way to make it personal, and it’s really inspiring. These people want to help us succeed, they’re very inclusive and very available for all of our questions. It feels like such a supportive learning environment.
This coming week we get our first assignments, a literature review and an essay. Amazing that in 4 weeks we haven’t had any evaluation, nothing to turn in. Even after all the introduction about formative (competence) and summative (exam) assessment, now it really begins to sink in that this is master’s level education. We have one big test per course to prove we understand and know how to use the information given. This is a new way to study for me.
We have a great librarian. While not an osteopath, you can tell she’s been supporting them for years. She held a very informative interactive presentation on using the library resources, knows how and where we should look for research, and has been very instructive on which textbooks to order, as well as getting them for us. Very knowledgeable and to-the-point, I can tell she will be a great help throughout the course.
Overall I am loving the program. The amount of support really reinforces the course, why we’re all here in this little village. It seems invaluable to be on a campus solely focused on one profession. We’re all in the same boat, and I get the feeling if I drop my oar someone will always be right there to pull me along until I can find it again.