Mentors are here to help new and existing students navigate all aspects of student life at AOMA. Each week we'll be featuring one of our amazing mentors on the blog so students can get to know them better and also know how to reach out. This week's featured mentor is Justin Long!
Justin Long is a 4th year student who has lots of experience and advice for helping new MAc students acclimate to life at AOMA! Originally from Portland, OR, he has been in Austin for 7 years now. He loves hiking the greenbelt, going out on town lake, and enjoying all the culinary treats Austin has to offer.
What do you wish you had known when you had started AOMA?
When I started at AOMA I wanted to just get through the program as fast as I could so I could be practicing ASAP. Looking back now I would definitely tell myself to not overdo it and to not overwork myself – if you do you will burn out, seriously. I know this sounds cliché but this is coming from a hard worker who has been on the “fast track” since day 1. I started out taking just short of 20 credits and working 25 hours/week at a fairly stressful office job and quickly realized this was not feasible. I know everyone has their own threshold but with the amount of time and effort needed for this program, in my opinion it is difficult to go to school full time on the fast track, work over 20-25 hour/week in an outside job and keep your health and sanity. I would recommend either cutting back hours at school or work, even if that may not sound like what you originally planned. Your mental health will thank you!
What helps you manage stress during hard times?
Taking study/homework breaks is key. I live right by the greenbelt and can go on nature walks to relieve stress or do some yoga and stretching. Also avoiding too much news and social media is always beneficial.
Any overall advice for new AOMA students?
It may seem like you have all the time in the world to complete it, but stay on top of your portfolio! One thing I always heard unanimously from students about to graduate is to stay on top of the portfolio, and now I fully understand the sentiment of that. Otherwise you will have a huge amount of work and reflections to do at the end of your time at AOMA, which is no fun for anyone. I try my best to complete observer/clinic checklists by the end of each term so I don’t get backed up. I also try to write any required reflections during break weeks while I have free time.
Best way to contact Justin: email@example.com