APTA: I Found My 'Why'
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Although I received a quick introduction to APTA when I started physical therapy school, it wasn't until I began attending and actively participating in APTA conferences that I truly began to understand why I was so lucky to be a part of this amazing profession, with a wonderful association.
I had attended APTA conferences before, such as National Student Conclave 2016 and Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) 2018, but it wasn't until I began actively participating at APTA's 2018 NEXT Conference and Exhibition and the most recent CSM 2019 when my love for APTA actually grew.
Between the 2 conferences, I met a couple of members who have since gone out of their way to put me in contact with people in the profession to help me advance my knowledge in this field.
It all started at APTA's NEXT Conference and Exhibition when I decided to step out of my comfort zone and actively engage in conversation with other professionals and students. I met a member during a PT Pintcast interview, and we immediately hit it off.
Since he has already made it through school and has been practicing for 20+ years, he took it upon himself to put me in contact with other physical therapists (PT) who could also help me grow my knowledge base and network.
Another occasion that helped solidify my gratefulness for APTA was when I submitted a feature about code-switching for the Pulse blog. Not long after it published I was contacted by an experienced PT, and we eventually met at CSM to discuss my article and experiences in greater detail.
To this day I remain in contact with both PTs. When conferences come up, I will certainly make sure that I schedule time to catch up with them, and they told me they'd do their best to expand my network as best as they can.
It wasn't until I attended a few professional conferences and moved outside of my comfort zone, exposing me to many seasoned PTs who display their willingness to help students succeed in advancing our field, that I found my "why" when it comes to APTA.
For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by a large collective group of people who genuinely wanted to see others succeed and help others succeed. They understand that if one person succeeds then we all succeed in the name of an incredible profession. And what I know to be true is that APTA serves as a catalyst for that success.
Michael Cromartie, SPT, is a student at the University of Miami. Connect with Michael on Twitter at @MikeCroSPT.
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.