Raise Your Hand, Take a Seat, and Let Your Voice Be Heard
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My love for our profession and association bloomed over my first 2 years of physical therapy school at California State University, Long Beach.
During that time, I participated on California Chapter committees and APTA Student Assembly project committees.
And while those were great experiences, my love really soared at the California Physical Therapy Association (CPTA) Assembly of Representatives and annual conference that I attended during my last year in school.
The motion to officially create the California Student Special Interest Group (CASSIG) came before the Assembly and passed unanimously. I was ecstatic!
We had started working on creating CASSIG at the end of our first year of physical therapy school, so it was years in the making and it was amazing to see all that hard work finally come to fruition. Not only that, but it was humbling to be a part of something like this: to volunteer my time, to serve my profession and future physical therapist and physical therapist assistant students, and to know my work helped make this happen. It’s beyond words.
The experience of building the CASSIG and presenting our motion at the Assembly was a culmination of many things that I’ve come to love about being a part of our professional association.
APTA for me was an avenue for networking, mentorship, teamwork, professional development, and a larger sense of community between students and clinicians within the profession.
Ever since I decided to jump in and volunteer for our profession, I’ve been pushed to continue to grow professionally and clinically.
I write this as a #FreshPT, 2 years post graduation. Since that time and because of my past experiences, I’ve successfully completed an orthopedic residency through Kaiser Permanante, I serve on the Nominating Committee and as a delegate to the House of Delegates for the CPTA, and I am on the PT Day of Service team.
These experiences, past and present, have enriched and fulfilled me more than I could’ve predicted, and they continue to do so.
So do me a favor, raise your hand, take a seat, and let your voice be heard. Yes, you’re a student, but you, your voice, and your representation matter, and who knows, you might fall in love along the way.
Matthew Downey, PT, DPT, is based in California. You can connect with Matthew on Twitter at @MattyLMNOP.
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.