APTA Was There For Me, But We Were On Different Pages
Estimated Reading Time: 1 minute
Disclaimer: I did not catch the APTA bug when I started school.
APTA was there, ready to form a solid, lasting relationship, but we were just on different pages. It wasn't APTA, it was me.
I got an APTA membership because it was required for our first year. Admittedly, I was not a go-getter.
I didn't know what APTA's Student Assembly was or what they do.
I didn't know what to expect from state and national conferences.
And I didn't see the benefits of my APTA membership dues.
I'm guessing yes because in other words, I was your average physical therapy student, trying to do well in school, graduate, and start my career in the profession.
Eventually, I attended my first APTA conference. This is where I tell you that I caught the "APTA bug," but unfortunately, I didn't.
I then created a professional Twitter and began watching and engaging with other students and professionals. Yet my interest was still underwhelming.
I should add too that one of my friends was totally sold on APTA. She was excited, attended conferences locally and nationally, engaged on social media, and if you asked her she'd tell you all about what she believed was the value of our professional association. This was one of my closest friends making the case for me, and I still didn't quite get it.
Then something happened.
I eventually began to understand the disparities in health care that affect our patient care and how we are our own best advocates.
I started to pay attention, and it was then when I realized that opportunities don't just come to those with good grades.
It wasn't until I stepped outside my comfort zone to actively engage with the physical therapy community in person and on social media, and socialize beyond my classmates. Then it hit me. Our professional association was the hub, the center, the heart of our profession. It was because of APTA and our chapters and sections that we could learn about the latest in health care and our profession, expand beyond our classrooms and clinics, and connect with our professional family.
What I've learned and can share with you is that growth through involvement big and small is an active, dynamic, continual process and one that profoundly shapes your student experience, not just as a professional, but as a person.
Our profession and our association are incredible and it's full of inspiring, motivated, fiery people. It's because of our association, and my leap outside of my comfort zone, that I've made some of my future colleagues into my greatest friends and mentors.
With this community, we've shared numerous growth opportunities, supported each other through the ups and downs of school, and they've been the ones to lift me up in every moment of self-doubt. They also inspire me every day to better serve my patients and remind me of why I love the profession I chose.
So I'll leave you with this: Seek more than an education and you may just find a career and a fire more prosperous than you imagined.
Bryn Hager, PT, DPT, is a #FreshPT and served as the President of the North Carolina Chapter SSIG. You can connect with Bryn on Twitter at @bryn_hager.
View more APTA love stories. Want to share your APTA love story? Submit it here! Haven't had such an experience or moment? We encourage you to contact Kaylee Pobocik, SPT, Director of Membership, APTA Student Assembly Board of Directors to discover APTA value and opportunities.