Fundraising Tips for the Season of Giving!
The "season of giving" is a great opportunity to raise funds for the Foundation for Physical Therapy’s Mercer-Marquette Challenge!
The possibilities are endless when it comes to holiday events. Consider hosting an Ugly Sweater party at a local bar where a portion of drink proceeds benefit the Foundation.
Shopping for Christmas presents? Why not host a Yankee candle fundraiser where 40% of the profits are donated (psst...that’s $10 a candle!). Or ask the jolliest member of your team to dress up as Santa and ask for donations to take a photo with him.
Even a fundraiser as simple as a holiday cookie bake sale will help you get ahead in this year’s Challenge.
Mark your calendars for April 26, 2018 – the 2017-2018 Mercer-Marquette Challenge deadline!
My NSC Experience: 'I will be a physical therapist'
Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes
Seven years ago I wrote myself a note on a post-it. The note said: "I will be a physical therapist." Fast-forward to today where I am nearing the end of physical therapy school.
In the fall I remember thinking, I'd like to attend APTA's National Student Conclave (NSC) this year, but I wasn't sure that I'd be able to make it.
It would cost money that I wasn't sure if I could spare, I would have to take time off from class or clinicals that I wasn't sure that I could miss, and I likely wouldn't know anyone there.
I'll spare you the suspense; I was able to make it to NSC 2017, and I can't express how happy I am that I did.
Held in Portland, Oregon, this year, NSC was one of the most refreshing experiences of my physical therapy school career.
I haven't felt this fired up about the profession that I love since I wrote myself that post-it note 7 years ago.
I was the only person from my class who decided to go to NSC this year. Trust me, it was a bit daunting when I arrived. I saw a ton of PT and PTA students together in groups. I officially knew no one.
But here's the great thing about this conference, everyone shares at least 1 passion with you, physical therapy. And trust me, I don't use the word "passion" lightly, these students are the most energized, excited, and positive cohorts you'll ever encounter. Every stranger you talk to is just a friend you did not know you had made yet. Every group I met at the conclave was warm and welcoming to me, the lone student.
The relationships that you build do not need to end once you leave, either. Each connection made is another touch-point in our profession that you will be able to reach out to in your future. Take it from Kate Hamilton, PT, DPT, who attributes the connections she made at NSC 10 years ago to how she found her footing and connections within our profession.
Not only were the student attendees great, but the speakers were superb, and the exhibitors were all eager to inform those who made this conscious effort to further their career. Session topics ranged from information on residencies, to the day-in-the life of geriatric PTs, to traveling PTs, to financial advice, to PTs for adaptive sports, and resume reviews. And that wasn't even everything.
Aside from the excellent programming, the speakers and APTA leadership are accessible throughout the conference. You'll see APTA President Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD, walking through the conference hall speaking with students. And you'll get to take a photo with the keynote speaker. This is something that doesn't happen at the other, much larger, APTA conferences. This is just another unique feature of this student-centric meeting.
My weekend at NSC showed me that there are multiple ways to get involved with APTA—more than I actually knew existed. All that it takes is you asking: "How do I get involved?" If the person you are speaking with doesn't know, they will point you in the direction of another who may be able to help you. (In this case, email the APTA Student Assembly Board of Directors, and they'll get you started.)
Being active and engaged with the APTA Student Assembly is just one of those avenues. The APTA Student Assembly Board of Directors, for example, are the brightest upcoming stars in our field, each eager to change our profession for the better. Aside from other students, throughout the conference and exhibit hall you'll meet APTA staff and you'll even have access to representatives of each of APTA's specialty sections, who are happy to talk to you about your professional goals and interests.
NSC is a conference designed for and by students—seriously, students help design the conference schedule and events. There's community service events, lectures, networking mixers, and more. Not only that, but this conference is focused on the student of today and the professional of tomorrow.
There are free resume reviews, professional headshots taken, information about residencies, prepping for the board exam, and employers and recruiters all available and present at this one conference. APTA did a great job to satisfy students of all stages in their education.
As graduation approaches this December, I can confidently say that NSC 2017 refreshed my passion for physical therapy and provided me valuable insight into this transition from student to professional.
After this experience, if I could, I would make attendance mandatory for students.
NSC 2017 was hands-down one of my favorite weekends throughout my time in physical therapy school.
It taught me more about my profession than I knew existed. It provided me with resources to pursue career goals as a soon-to-be new grad.
Not only do you meet great people, but you get reinvigorated to make a change. If you are wondering if NSC is a conference you should attend, I'd say hands-down you should go. You will not regret it. The earlier you are able to attend, the more you will be able to cherish it.
Hank Havlin, SPT, is a student at Wheeling Jesuit University and will be graduating in December 2017. You can connect with Hank on Facebook.
“Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo. Keep going.”
Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
When I returned home from National Student Conclave (NSC) 2017 in Portland, Oregon, after an unsuccessful campaign for a position on the APTA Student Assembly Board (SABoD), a quote from Timber Hawkeye of Buddhist Boot Camp appeared in my Facebook feed. It was exactly what I needed to read, at just at the right time.
"Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo. Keep going."
I had taken a big chance running for a position on the national board. I've never run for any kind of office, much less put myself out there on such a big stage, and I was up against some serious competition. But I had prior work experience related to the position that I was seeking and thought that would give me an edge, so it stung when I found out that I didn't win.
While commiserating with some of the other candidates after the results came in, I thought of the different times that I had taken a flying leap, only to land flat on my face. It's happened often over the course of my life, but 2 instances in particular came to mind. They are important not only because of the spectacular ways in which I failed, but also because of the ways that they profoundly changed my life.
The first was coming in dead last at my first triathlon.
Let me first say, my poor ranking wasn't due to a lack of preparation or determination. I panicked during the swim and barely got out of the water without drowning, and I was so gassed after the bike that I had to walk most of the run.
It took me so long to reach the end of the race that they actually took down the finish line and the photographer had packed up and left before I got there. So suffice to say, that day wasn't my highest moment, but I was so proud of myself for trying and (eventually) completing something outside of my comfort zone that I was determined to keep going.
I sought out professional coaches and local groups of like-minded people with whom to train, and now, in addition to multiple races of a variety of lengths, I've completed 2 marathons and 2 half iron distance triathlons. I also obtained certifications as a triathlon, running, and cycling coach. This experience and my clients' overuse injuries are actually what led me down the path to become a physical therapist.
Speaking of physical therapy school, that's the other place I failed hard.
Returning to school after 16 years of working in a completely different field is probably the toughest thing I've ever done. I struggled every single second of my first semester, both with the sheer volume of information there was to learn, as well as with figuring out an entirely new way to study.
Despite my best efforts, I ended up with a C in gross anatomy lecture, which meant sitting out for a semester and retaking the class the following fall with a new cohort.
I might have just reconsidered physical therapy school altogether, but my program's director and faculty had faith in me and encouraged me to give it another chance. So again, I kept going.
I took the intervening time to figure out my learning style and overhaul my study habits, and I reviewed anatomy on my own at a slower pace that allowed me to really soak up the information. Needless to say, I aced the class on my second try. Not that there haven't been other speed bumps in the semesters that followed, but I persevered, and I discovered along the way that studying for practicals and exams isn't all there is to physical therapy school.
I started volunteering with an adaptive yoga class and with a YMCA program for chronic stroke survivors, I judged undergraduate research poster presentations at a school showcase, and I reviewed article submissions for a student physical therapy journal. I also attended APTA's Combined Sections Meeting in San Antonio and was so jazzed by the experience that I jumped at the chance to run for a position on the SABoD and attend NSC.
So there I was, sitting in the lobby of the convention center at NSC, trying to put a positive spin on the loss. I thought about how I could—once again—keep going.
I'd made a lot of new friends over the previous 3 days, all of whom are go-getters and very active in their schools and their student APTA chapters, as well as in advocacy and volunteer work. They're an inspiring group, and they encouraged me to keep the fire alive once I returned home.
Now, I'm working on getting my state's defunct Student Special Interest Group running again, and I have applied for a position on a national project committee. I'm also going to attend CSM 2018 in New Orleans, where I'll present my DPT research project as a poster, and hopefully reconnect with my new #PTFam.
Despite the pain associated with it, it's important for us all to realize that failure is just a bruise. It's temporary, not permanent. It teaches us lessons, then the pain fades. Unlike tattoos, we don't have to live with our failures for the rest of our lives. We simply experience them, we learn from them if we can, and above all else, we keep going.
Robyn Culbertson, SPT, is a student at the University of South Carolina. You can connect with Robyn on Facebook and Twitter: @roboothed.
5 Tips To Help You Ace Your PT School Interviews
Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes
You've completed your prerequisite courses. Finished your shadowing hours. Submitted your applications to your desired physical therapy schools. What's next?
There's 1 more thing to hurdle before you are accepted into physical therapy school: the interview.
While some programs do not require applicant interviews, for the schools that do, the interview is an important component of the admissions process.
During one of my admissions interviews, I had a 45-minute 1-on-1 conversation with a professor, while at another, it was a group setting where I was asked questions alongside 6 other applicants.
Regardless of the interview format, here are a few tips to help you prepare for your physical therapy school interviews:
Know what to expect before you arrive. Once you're fortunate enough to score an interview, find out what the day will be like. Will you go on a tour of the school and sit in on an information session? Will there be a chance to speak with current students? Will your interview be private or with other applicants?
Knowing what to expect before your interview will help you do some background reading and research before you arrive, think of any questions you might have, and importantly, it'll help you feel a little more at ease the day of the interview. Feel free to contact the program and ask the questions above; trust me, it'll help calm some of those "game-day" nerves.
Be ready for common questions. It's likely that you'll be asked to answer basic questions about yourself and your application, such as: Why do you want to be a physical therapist? Why do you want to go to school at this college or university? Why did you pick your undergraduate college and major? What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
These might seem irrelevant when it comes to entering physical therapy school, but these foundational questions matter. This information will give the interviewer background and detail to you that your application may not alway provide.
When I was of the midst of application season, I pictured someone asking me these questions, and imagined how I might answer. Not only did it help me prepare, but it helped me learn a bit about myself and remind me of the choices and decisions made to set me on this career path.
Expect some surprise. In the group interview I took part in, we were each asked different impersonal questions, such as "When was the last time you got angry?" and "What would you do if you saw a classmate cheating on a test?" The 6 of my fellow applicants and I heard every answer from one another. Talk about being put on the spot!
It's impossible to prepare yourself for every possible question or scenario, but that doesn't mean that you should worry. For questions like these, remember there is no single correct answer. The interviewer is trying to gain insight into who you are.
For example; he or she doesn't actually care about what ticked you off last week; instead the professor wants to know how you handled it.
Practice, practice, practice. Before the interview, write down some of the questions that you think you'll be asked and hand them over to a friend or relative. Again, you may or may not get these questions, and the interviewer will be a stranger, but it'll give you practice.
While I knew in my head why I wanted to be a PT or attend a certain school, I realized when practicing with someone else that I was overly wordy and lacking clarity in my answeres. Although it felt silly telling my husband why I wanted to go to physical therapy school, rehearsing—but not memorizing—gave me the chance to alleviate my awkwardness and ease my jitters.
Relax and pay attention. Not every applicant gets an interview, so if you're chosen for an interview slot, congratulations! That means the hardest part is over.
Unless you demonstrate poor interpersonal skills or show that you won't be a good fit for the school, you likely will have a good chance of being accepted—but don't take the interview any less seriously. Likewise, since schools know that many of their interviewees will be admitted, they're also trying to sell themselves.
Set aside your nervousness for a little bit and listen carefully to how the school presents itself. Also see what current students think of their program. Make sure the things you hear align with what you want and need as a student and as a future professional.
So suit up in your finest business wear and get ready to show these schools who you are and how great of a future physical therapist you will be. Good luck!
Have tips for how you got through your physical therapy school interviews? Leave them in the comments section below.
Jasmine Marcus, PT, DPT, is a practicing physical therapist and writer in New York. You can connect with her through her website, on Twitter at: @JMarcusDPT, and on Instagram at: @JMarcusDPT.
President Dunn: Students of Today Must Prepare for Tomorrow
Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes
Transitioning from one year to the next always feels like the start of something exciting and new, and that's especially true as we enter 2018.
APTA's centennial is approaching on the horizon in 2021, which means that a first-year DPT student in 2018 will be starting their career as our association turns 100 years old!
The centennial will provide us with an opportunity to celebrate our past and charge enthusiastically toward our bright future—and it's the DPT and PTA students of today who will define just what that future becomes for our profession and for those we serve.
I get a glimpse of that bright future all the time. In addition to serving as APTA's president, I'm an educator for Louisiana State University, which means I have a responsibility to help students like you prepare for tomorrow.
But today I address you simply as a physical therapist and an APTA member for more than 30 years to give you a piece of advice: you have a responsibility to prepare for your future, too, and that can't wait until after you graduate.
Today you're focused on passing exams or getting through your clinical rotations, and you should be. Those are important steps in your development.
But as you're going through school, health care delivery is changing rapidly, and it's creating new opportunities for the profession of physical therapy.
In recent weeks, I've been listening to APTA's "Finding My Way" podcast series, which features brief interviews with PTs talking about how they navigated the twists and turns of their early careers. By listening to what those PTs are doing now, you get a sense of the vast opportunity within our profession and how they each maximized that potential, but you also get a sense of how unpredictable the future can be.
Scratch that: you get a sense of how unpredictable the future will be.
So how do you prepare for the unpredictable? You get help. And that's where APTA comes in.
There's a reason so many APTA members rave about their physical therapy family (#PTfam) on social media: the greatest value of the association is the community it provides—an environment in which there's almost always someone who has been where you are before and can help you take that next step.
The best thing that you can do for your future today is to engage with that community. Here are just a few ways that you can do that in the year ahead:
- Attend an APTA national conference: CSM in February, NEXT in June, or NSC—the only national conference specifically for students—in October.
- Reach out to the Student Assembly Board of Directors, or to your state chapter or a section of interest and ask about ways you can get involved.
- Follow the Student Assembly on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and APTA on social media and stay informed about what's going on. (Yes, some of the information will feel over your head at times. That's okay.)
- And check out that Finding My Way podcast series, because you'll hear how crucial the APTA community is for finding mentors.
No matter where you are in physical therapy school, your time there is limited. Your future is limitless, and the time to prepare is now. We, at APTA, want to be your community, your professional home, wherever your journey takes you.
Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD, APTA President. Connect with President Dunn on Twitter.