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Journey of a DPT Student

PT School vs. Free Time

Published May 31, 2011 12:40 PM by Lauren Rosso

I'm back in Pittsburgh with about one week left until the start of classes. I haven't lived here since I was in high school, so it's strange to come back "home," particularly for school. I think I'm going to spend the next week trying to re-acclimate myself to the city and learn what it's like to live here as an adult and student. An urban campus will be a completely different experience from Penn State's farmlands, but a welcome change nonetheless.

Before being accepted to Pitt's program, I signed up for a challenge hike with a friend. The hike will be 34 miles around the Pittsburgh area. The catch? It is to be completed in one day. This seemed like a great idea until I realized two things. First, I'm not in that kind of shape. Second, I will already be in class, which means I will lose an entire day of studying. This is weighing on my mind more than my fitness.

I find myself wondering what kind of time I am going to have to dedicate to extracurricular activities such as this and other social events. I don't know what to expect. I really hope it's possible to maintain a balance between school and fun, but I expect it to be a challenge. After two years away from a difficult academic environment (and therefore much more free time), it will definitely be an adjustment.

Other than that, I'm about to settle into my house and tie up some loose ends. We have a class orientation this coming Friday, and some classmates and I plan to meet up during the week. I'm excited to meet them and see who I will be spending the next three years of my life with.


Hey Shaila! It's funny to look back at this post now that I'm a year in to my program. Yes, I think you absolutely have time to maintain a social life. There will be times when you'll have to put school first and miss out on a few things, but the rest of he time you can keep up with friends, activities, etc. I know it sounds cliche, but it all really comes down to time management. You'll figure it out as you go along.

Good luck with everything! As always feel free to ask if you have any questions.

Lauren Rosso July 10, 2012 4:09 PM

I am starting a DPT program in about 6 weeks and this topic has been one of my biggest concerns for the next 3 years.  I've been taking prereqs the last two years, and was obviously dedicated to it, but it was not nearly as challenging as I expect DPT school to be.  I have been able to balance school and a social life really well, and by now am used to participating in most of the hikes, camping weekends, baseball games, happy hours, wine tasting trips and various activities that my group of friends come up with. So now that you're a year in to it ... how much free time do you actually have??  I'm really nervous that I won't even have time to go grocery shopping, or work out on a regular basis. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!  Thank you for your blog.

Shaila Bulusu July 10, 2012 3:34 PM
San Francisco

Janey- thanks for the advice.  I know school will be my top priority, but at the same time, I want to enjoy it.  We had our orientation yesterday, and I started to get really overwhelmed (and we haven't even started class!)  So I took a step back and realized that we're all just going to have to take it in stride.  And I will definitely strategically plan my fun time!!

Lauren Rosso June 4, 2011 6:28 PM


It's been a few decades - and mine was a bachelors, not a DPT - but as I remember there were highs and lows.  One semester was particularly brutal.  My dad had to talk me down off the ledge.  But except for that one semester, we were able to fit in fun.  It was a lot of hard work, but it wasn't all work.  

Strategically planning time out for fun, especially if it comes in the form of physical exercise, makes the work time more productive.  

Best wishes for finding the balance that is most effective for you!

Janey Goude June 2, 2011 2:10 AM

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