National Athletic Training Month: Lessons

My biggest lessons as an athletic trainer have all come from moments that don’t really involve anything about injuries and treatments and rehab. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been learning and re-learning a lot just because there’s so much, but I will always remember the athletes and preceptors and classmates and coworkers who taught me some of the harder things — confidence, self-respect, patience, innovation, logic, slowing things down and trusting myself…and other people. I have not yet learned how to not trip over my own feet, but that’s ok, we’ll get there soon I think.

On my desk I have a post-it note where I wrote down 4 things — one each from my clinical rotations in undergrad (can you believe it’s been 2 years…because I can’t. All the athletes I’ve worked with are finally growing up and graduating and it’s hilarious and scary) that have been the core of…well, me as of late. I learned what it meant to be truly respected and set boundaries with your athletes. I learned that I need to work harder at getting along with people sometimes — and it’s not that I always want to, sometimes it’s that I have to. I learned that being on time is just…extremely important and that I’d rather “be an hour early than a few minutes late” (the hyperbolic need is there for effect). I learned that I can trust myself because I’ve done the work — but that it’s totally okay to team up and ask for help.

I’m going to try and talk about newer lessons…because I’ve already talked about the old stuff a TON.

I learned that you need to have a reason for everything you do. I also learned that if people don’t fully understand your reason/intentions, they might judge you…and sometimes you can explain yourself, but most times, just walk away. This is sometimes the hardest thing to do because you want to prove to people that you’re not an idiot. But sometimes you have to be ok with it and realize that they’re also idiots sometimes. And that you can also be an idiot sometimes. But not all the time.

I learned to try and do exactly what I say and not…talk out of my butt. Oh trust me, I’m still working on this. If I say that I’ll bring cough drops to work… I better! And I did today!

I learned that you don’t give up on anyone, no matter how annoying or weak or “hypochondriac”-ish they seem. Mostly because I was this way for a very, very long time and I wanted to give up on myself because I felt like everyone else had.

I learned that trust is really really hard to build. But it doesn’t take a lot to break it down and you need to be careful.

I learned what it means to have a strong team culture, and how important it is to be someone who influences the culture in good ways, even if it’s very small ways.

I learned what it means to be surrounded by people who really care about you and think about you.

I learned that I need to work on building relationships with people. Sometimes it comes really easily, but sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes, you can’t always walk away because that’s what being an adult is.

I learned that I don’t always need to speak about who I am and what I believe, because actions speak louder than words.

I learned that not everyone will like me…and I learned that I’m actually very okay with that after the initial discomfort. I learned that I won’t like everyone, either…although I might have known this already, heh.

I learned that you can’t do too much at once. If you try to do everything, you will probably fall apart and start crying in the middle of Panda Express because a tiny thing finally upended and tipped the scale. Ask for help!!

I learned that if I ask for help/advice, I should try to listen to it. Unless I think it’s absolutely positively ridiculous and I feel like I’d have backup on that. I also learned that in general I need to get better at listening…I have to try super hard to try and look directly at them and repeat back everything they’re saying. Otherwise I space out…and try to interrupt people and it’s so bad.

I learned that I can’t reach everyone. Not everyone wants to be reached or changed. Well, I had to be told this, struggle with it a lot, and then come to terms with it.

I learned that being efficient isn’t always as important as being effective, unless being efficient is really important (ex. dealing with an on-field injury, you need a good deal of both).

I learned to figure things out when you get there. Cross the bridge when you get to it, don’t build 800 bridges about what could possibly happen because then you’ll go crazy.

Just some small things I’ve been thinking about lately.

Athletic trainer, coffee lover, looking for a hobby I don’t have time for. I write about fitness, mental health, being Asian-American, and personal growth.