What a journey it has been. After just helping with the interviews for next years class it finally hit me that my time at GSU is about over. It seems like just yesterday I was in their shoes talking to students who I thought knew it all and was so nervous about just getting in somewhere. As it turns out my nerves were for a good reason because I was not directly accepted into any program, actually the only program I got into was Governors State and that was on a months notice after already getting two other emails stating the class was full for this cohort and discussing ways to improve my application for next year.
am not saying this to be bitter but only to explain to any other those people reading this that there is always a chance and maybe had I not pestered our admissions director on how to improve my application, that I wouldn't be here today. Once accepted, I knew it was going to be a personal mission to prove all those other schools wrong and show them that I was one of the most qualified applicants that they have ever turned down. I think it is just the competitive nature instilled in me by my parents, so right from the beginning I was looking to go above and beyond.
It is not typical for first year students at our program to attend Combined Sections Meeting(CSM) (the national physical therapy conference) however I knew to be one of the best in the field I had to surround myself with the best in the field. I believe taking this risk is what really ignited my passion for physical therapy. I was able to see the latest and greatest innovations of our field and listen to some amazing speakers-- though at this point most of them were talking over my head. The friendships formed at this first conference have built a bond between my classmates and I in the sense that there were only 6 of us that attended our first year. Also, the chance to talk with students from all across the country allowed me the chance to start networking within my field outside of the Chicago land area.
Once I got back from my first CSM I was ready to dive deeper into what physical therapy had to offer so I started applying for a couple positions and scholarships at the state and national level. With this being my first time applying and having a minimal resume for anything PT related, looking back I am not surprised that I wasn't selected for any position or scholarship. At the time though I again was being told that others were better than me and took it as a mission to do more second year than first to try and become a more qualified applicant so that I could help more people.
First year ended with our group from CSM setting up a "Run For Rehab 5K" and starting to plan for National Student Conclave the next year. Being able to assist with planning and creating a fundraiser was an amazing experience and one that I think built my confidence in being able to make a change at a micro-level.
This is where I am going to end my first post because though first year was full of some ups and downs, I want to highlight the fact that I hardly got into a program. For anyone who is reading this and is awaiting confirmation from a program keep your head held high. You have worked so hard to get to this point and very few will know your exact story. My main goal in the coming blogs will be to wrap up my second year similar to how I did this one, talk through where I am currently and how clincial work has allowed me to build confidence and scares the hell out of me, and finally start discussing all of the different ways to get involved in the field.
I also want to end every blog with a short blurb about what physical therapist's actually do because I think a huge barrier in our field is the public not knowing what we actually do. So first off physical therapists are trained at a clinical doctorate level. While not all of us have had the same clinical training, we have the skills and resources to treat nearly all patients with musculoskeletal conditions from low back pain and neck pain to post operative even chronic pain (that is a whole different ballgame). Please if you have any questions on what physical therapists do, send me a message of facebook because we are much more than the "Pain and Torture" clinicians of years past and the majority of us are looking to ease your pain in the quickest way possible.
I am a new graduate DPT and am interested in personal growth and becoming a connector within my profession.