Reflections on a Student's First CSM
I just returned from my first trip to the APTA's Combined Sections Meeting, and I'm left with a variety of feelings about the experience. Overall, I would consider the trip a success, but there were definitely some aspects of CSM that left something to be desired. I did a lot of reflecting on the flight home, and here's what I came up with.
There were some very enlightening and intriguing lectures about emerging research that really served to supplement my current knowledge base. I attended a lecture about pediatric lower-extremity injuries and the differences between treating children and adults, as well as how their injuries develop. We've had limited exposure to pediatric physical therapy, so it was great to attend a lecture that addressed some questions I had regarding pediatric treatment. I was also very intrigued by the research of Amy Bastian. I unfortunately missed her lecture, "Cerebellar Contributions to Sensorimotor Function and Learning," which I heard was fantastic, but I was really excited to hear her talk during a different gait lecture.
As exciting as some of the lectures were, others were a letdown. I will take partial blame for my disinterest in some of the lectures -- I went out on a limb in selecting some that I'm really not interested in. Others, however, namely some in the neurology section, left very much to be desired and I was disappointed. In an effort not to make enemies I won't name specific lectures, although most took place on the first day. This unfortunately left a bad impression, and I was much less motivated and excited about subsequent days of the conference. Other lectures, while interesting, were exactly the information we have recently covered in class. I suppose that speaks volumes about the faculty at Pitt, but I still wasn't thrilled to sit through a repeat lecture. I'll just have to be more careful about what I select next year.
I was very proud of a few of my classmates, which alone made the trip worth it. Matt Debole, who is on the student board of directions, was nothing short of inspiring as I watched him fill his days from start to finish with lectures and meetings without a single complaint. My other classmate Eric Lehman was recognized by the Orthopedic Section as "Student of the Year." We all went to the awards ceremony and it was great to see the University of Pittsburgh so well represented. Another cohort of my classmates successfully launched Log ‘N Blog to raise money for the Foundation for Physical Therapy. It's wonderful to be surrounded by such involved and exciting people!
I'll definitely have to change the way I approach CSM next year, but I think I'll go back again. I hope I can iron out some of the kinks to make CSM 2014 an absolute success.