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Journey of a DPT Student

APTA Combined Sections Meeting

Published December 12, 2011 2:04 PM by Lauren Rosso

For the past few weeks, the APTA representatives from my class have been pushing for us to attend the annual Combined Sections Meeting in February, since it's likely to be a great academic experience. However, I am torn about whether or not to attend. The timing of everything couldn't be worse, as CSM will require us to miss three days of class during a very critical time in what's sure to be the hardest semester of the program. So while I recognize that it will be a great way to network and also represent our program, I just don't know if it's worth it.

For anyone who has been to CSM, particularly as a student, I'm wondering what your opinion is. Will the knowledge and experience that I take away from the meeting be worth the hassle when I get back to school? There's also some additional incentive to attend because one of my favorite professors will be presenting at the conference, and I'd love to see what she has to say.

If I wait until next year, I think the timing will be much better. But then I run the risk of having to travel quite a ways to get there. The trip to Chicago from Pittsburgh isn't too bad, and with my luck, the next location will be somewhere on the West Coast; i.e. very expensive and out of my "student budget." There are a lot of factors to consider, so any insight will be helpful.


Tasha- I took your advice and I'm holding off until next year.  A lot of different factors went into the decision.  First of all, this semester is really tough, and CSM happens to be in the middle of our hardest exams.  I also found out that it's in Nashville next year, which is more appealing to me than Chicago.  I also think I'll be more prepared for some of the lectures if I wait a year.

Thanks for your input!  I really appreciate the advice.

Lauren Rosso January 12, 2012 7:24 PM

Hey!  I went as a 2nd year student.  There are some presentations geared towards new graduates/students, which are cool.  The ones that are "more advanced" are definitely informative, but could be over your head.  I accidentally went to a few like that, and in retrospect, I should have left and gone exploring.  The hall with all of the booths/research is really information, but I think it'd be more valuable as a 2nd or 3rd year.  I know a lot of people don't go as 3rd years because they have their clinicals.  Perhaps you could arrange that time off during that year by working extra hours at another time.  The cost/travel time is a gamble.  In general, I'd recommend it to job search as a 3rd year, or to just get a general idea of everything PT/the APTA/etc has to offer.  I went because my program provided some financial support for us, but I'm not sure if yours does.  There are always some random scholarships too, but they are also a gamble.  I also went for the fun!  It was in New Orleans, and I wish I had spent a little less time inside and a little more wandering around the French Quarter. I didn't network too much unfortunately for a number of reasons, but that opportunity is definitely there if you actively pursue it.  Also, we literally didn't have school the days that I went because a large amount of our faculty went to present.  I was not academically/financially stressed.  Pros and cons!  Also, see if any of your classmates are going or not.  That's another way to save money/have fun!

I'd recommend it as a 2nd or 3rd year student honestly, but you'll still get a lot out of it if you go as a 1st year.  Over CSM, I'd recommend NSC.  If I had to pick ONE to go to as a student, I'd pick that.  It's just geared more towards what you need over CSM.  Cheers!

Tasha Parman December 16, 2011 9:51 PM

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