As I sit here things are finally starting to slow down from the insanity that was last week. After working two 12 hour days in clinic, I got to drive back up to Chicago to catch my flight to New Orleans for Combined Sections Meeting. Little did I know that I would be leaving around 6:30pm on Tuesday and would have the pleasure of driving through an ice storm for about 4 hours on my way back. Once I got back to my house in Chicago around 3am, I moved all of my stuff from the last seven weeks into our living room and started packing for CSM. Around 4am I finally laid down for an hour before driving up to midway to catch my 9am flight. Once I touched down in New Orleans, I realized that the most dreaded part of this fiasco was finally over and I was surrounded by over 17,000 PTs, PTAs, SPTs, and SPTAs!
The first night was interesting because I was staying with a guy who I knew from undergrad and had reconnected with a couple of years ago at the National Student Conclave. This would have worked out great, but he missed his flight so now I would be rooming with 2 other guys I didn’t know until he got in the next day. Luckily these guys were super chill and let me tag along to a happy hour with people from their cohort and then we all went out for a couple of drinks. I ended my night at the CSM opening ceremonies with my newly made friends; however, when they said they were going to Bourbon Street I just had to call it a night. With me only having one hour of sleep, Bourbon Street before getting up at 5:30am just didn’t seem like a good idea to me.
Day two in NoLA started with the glorified Pediatric Section’s breakfast where I met up with a friend who recently graduated and moved to work in an outpatient pediatric clinic. Part of the way through our breakfast I noticed someone who looked familiar waving to me from across the room—after giving a weird look, I realized it was the Jenna Kantor! She made it a point to come over and chat for a little bit before walking up and starting a conversation with the president of the pediatric section.
I found myself nodding off during my first education session, so I texted Dr. Ben Fung to ask if he wanted to meet up for a cup of coffee. This text turned into a 4 hour adventure that included some advice on how not to set up a booth in the exhibit hall, discussions with a plethora of his colleagues and a couple of my professors, and finally meeting up with his business partner Gene Shirokobrod to get some lunch at a local seafood place. While the three of us and my new SPTA friend Eddie Ernst sat around talking martial arts and telling stories related to physical therapy/life, Ben and Gene convinced me to try oysters for the first time. Now I have never had the desire to eat a slimy little creature that filters mud, but I couldn’t just say no to two of my physical therapy idols….I would give the oysters a 7/10, I was pleasantly surprised and would order good ones again.
After a picture and parting ways with those three awesome individuals I went to check out the posters that were being presented before going back to listen to the super-secret meeting hosted by Ben and Gene that afternoon. I thought I had already been pumped up about hanging out with them, however their talk about having a leader mindset and not just setting goals but reflecting on what you actually want gave me a fresh breath of air in terms of the outlook of our profession. After a final education session meeting, the Governors State group met up at El Gato Negro for some Mexican food and drinks. Hanging out and getting to actually talk to the two classes below me was a great experience that I do not think would have happened had I not attended CSM. After dinner two second years and I went to another happy hour to meet up with the creator of PTDOS just because they had told me they were interested in pro-bono work and global health.
Next, our night took an interesting turn hopping from PT pub night to an open bar session hosted by one of the companies from the exhibit hall where we met all of the GSU people for free drinks. After the time ran out on the open tab, we went to a bar on Frenchman’s Street that had 2 for 1 margaritas for national margarita day and I learned that some of the second years actually know how to dance! Finally my night ended deciding that $13 was way too much for an uber so I walked back the mile and a half or so back to our hotel just soaking up the drunken scenery and late night smells of the New Orleans streets.
My last full day at CSM started with the Federal Section meeting and then progressed into a few education sessions. One of my favorites from the entire conference was put on by Old not Weak which looked into how to strengthen the older adult. The speakers were amazing and the content was on another level. The final session of the day ended up being a little more than my completely exhausted mind could focus on so I went to meet up with a professor for beignets. After a random meeting with a text book company, I was headed into the final stent of my CSM experience. I briefly met up with some people for the Myelin Melter and the Global Health function before heading up to the final event of CSM 2018.
Last up on the agenda was the social media panel discussion that was being held by Brianne Showman Brown, Jenna Kantor, Felicia Wenah, and Stephanie Weyrauch and hosted by Matthew Villegas. After having some knowledge dropped on me, I looked around and realized that a lot of the big names in social media for physical therapy were sitting in this room. That being said I walked up to a familiar looking guy wearing a spikeball t-shirt and started a little conversation. Later I found out I was talking to Alex Engar who has been one of the quickest rising stars in the physical therapy world. He then proceeded to tell me that there was a get together downstairs that everyone would be at. I happily followed him downstairs and found myself in conversation with Kyle Rice and Greg Todd who are two huge players in the physical therapy world.
Needless to say I left that get together so excited that I had to call my girlfriend at 11pm and wake her up to tell her about the crazy day I had just had. I am not sure if she was actually impressed or not, but I just had to tell someone!
That basically wraps up my CSM 2018 experience. If you want a quicker version of it all just watch the short video I posted and see what all went down on that crazy weekend in February down in NoLA when 17,000 physical therapy professionals got together. Thanks again to everyone who took time out of their day to read through my experience of combined sections meeting and if you have any questions feel free to reach out and ask! Next week there may be a guest blog that I will post from one of my colleagues who wants to share her physical therapy experience so stay tuned!
Happy Friday my friends—until next week!
I am a new graduate DPT and am interested in personal growth and becoming a connector within my profession.