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Journey of a DPT Student

The End is Near

Published February 17, 2014 6:07 PM by Lauren Rosso

I can count the number of weeks I have left on two hands. I've passed the boards. I have one project left, one presentation, and one in-service. All of a sudden, everything seems so quantifiable. I even got the information for purchasing my cap, gown and hood, which is unfortunately quantifiable at $75. Not even the steep price tag can bring me down. It's almost over.

I spent the weekend pulling myself together. I've updated my resume, created online networking profiles, and searched for job postings in a bunch of different places. But it's not all work and no play. I also spent the weekend making reservations for my post-graduation road trip. I plan to take advantage of this, the very last time I'll be without responsibility.

The trip will be three weeks worth of state parks, hiking, camping and adventures in the Southwest and will hopefully fill the outdoor void that I've felt for the past three years. I also hope it will keep the travel bug at bay for as long as it takes me to accrue vacation time.

So here I am. Nine weeks from the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next. Amazing how nine weeks suddenly doesn't seem like enough time to find a career path and close a very important chapter in my life.

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The end is indeed near.  1 week and 3 days until graduation.  A couple of small loose ends stand between me and receiving my diploma as a Doctor of Physical Therapy.  I have secured a job, and my wife and I are expecting our first child in almost 4 weeks exactly.  To say I am excited is an understatement.  Talk about a big month...  I have been impressed with my education throughout PT school and am feeling prepared to take on my future as a practicing physical therapist.  Nerves are present, but I am ready.  I will take my board exam in July, and am on track with my study plan and feel I will be ready when the time comes.  This journey has been a great one, but the best part is the future in store that it is setting me up for.  

Nate, PT - SPT April 26, 2016 11:12 AM
Greenville NC

So now I can also see the end in sight.  I am less than 2 months away from graduation.  While most of my classmates have been worrying about sending out their resumes, I already have a job lined up.  My worries are a little bit different though because I will be getting surgery on my shoulder (which continues to dislocate every now and then) in mid April.  My hope is that I will be fully recovered by the time I have passed my boards in July (hopefully) and will be ready to start work immediately.  Therefore, though I will be done with school at the beginning of May, I will continue to be studying for the next few months.  There are certainly nerves about the future, but I am more excited than I am nervous.  It's going to be great.

Michael March 25, 2014 6:22 PM
Greenville NC

I am also getting that graduation fever!  This is going on my 7th, year of college and my 9th straight semester without a break.  25 years without a real job.  25 years to rely on Mom, Dad's, and the government's money.  It is almost the moment that we all thought was attainable but so far away three years ago (some of us more than that).  PT school in general involves an enormous amount of hoops to jump through to get by.  These "hoops" include the stress of being selected as one of 30-50 out of hundreds in a class at admissions, to spending months away from home (and thousands of dollars) on clinical rotations, and to the countless hours of studying and working through holiday breaks.  Finally, after we pass our licensure test, we will get a chance to earn our stripes.  We will get a chance to get paid for all of the work we do for a clinic or hospital and not just act as a free-revenue-generator as we did in our clinical rotations.  Soon we will be able to make our own memories with our patients without having a CI watch over your shoulder and grill you on neuroanatomy.  Soon we will be able to ditch the old 210,000 mile Toyota Camry and buy our own vehicle that doesn't rattle when you drive over 60.  There are so many reasons to be excited...but I believe the most exciting thing is the feeling of accomplishment.  The feeling that years ago we set a goal, worked our butts off for it and finally it has reached its crescendo.  Good luck to all of the new PT grads this year in 2014!  May you never lose sight of why you dreamt of becoming a PT and may you never lose sight of what you want to achieve in life.  

Bryan, PT Student March 25, 2014 9:11 AM
Greenville NC

Congrats on the final stretch! I'm currently at the opposite end of the spectrum as a first year DPT student about to embark on my first clinical experience. I know the emotions have to be flowing for you though. I've only been through one year so far and feel as if it has taken closer to five off my life. But in the end I know it will all be well worth it. I'm excited to see what my first clinical experience has to show me, and also the next 2 year of school. It's nice to hear what it sounds like to see the light at the end of the tunnel and I myself look forward to seeing what the future holds for me just like you are currently. Good luck and best wishes!

Justin Meekins March 16, 2014 9:25 PM

Congrats to you and all of your accomplishments!! I can only imagine all of the amazing emotions you are feeling. As a first year DPT student, I am excited to be rounding up my first year and heading off to my first clinical. Having one completed year under my belt feels like such an accomplishment, but graduation seems SO far away! However, your accomplishments and enthusiam of the end shows me that I will literally blink one day and be in your shoes, wondering how did 3 years fly by so quickly?

I hope you have a wonderful trip. You more than deserve some blissful peace and relaxation after all of the hard work you have endured. Good luck and many well wishes in beginning the next chapter of your life as you successfully transition from a Student Physical Therapist to a Doctor of Physical Therapy!!

Jasmine, Physical Therapy - Student, East Carolina University March 16, 2014 6:33 PM
Greenville NC

You are almost done. Congratulations! I feel that I am in the same boat. I have nine weeks left until graduation in May and two more weeks left of my last clinical. Time has flown by for me at my last rotation. I feel I blinked and 2 months were gone. Is there any way to slow time down?

When thinking of joining the professional full-time physical therapy community, I am feeling varied emotions. I am excited to be done with school and to continue learning in a clinical setting, but I am worried about getting a job, moving to a new city, and managing my social and work life evenly. I feel I am worthy of entry level status, but realize I have so much more to learn. I can only hope I provide the best care to my patients and utilize my educational background and clinical training to the fullest. The only downside is that after I graduate in May I still have to take my boards in July (thankfully, you already have that completed).

I hope your adventures of the Southwest are fun and exciting. I am planning my big trip to be to Nashville for a week with my boyfriend and best couple friend from undergrad. I am going to enjoy my "free" time as much as I can before the responsibility of work and real life kicks in.  

Jessica March 7, 2014 2:46 PM
Charlotte NC

I know exactly how you feel! I am less than 3 months away from my graduation and will be taking my board examination in July. On one hand, I am so excited to be graduating and about to embark on the next phase of my life as a licensed, practicing physical therapist. On the other hand, I am apprehensive about being on my own and unsure if I am completely ready. I think that taking a road trip is a great idea - it is your last chance to really cut loose before the "real world" begins. I am also planning some sort of hiatus following graduation and before taking the boards. Enjoy the last few weeks as a DPT student and good luck with all that is to come after!

Caitlin February 21, 2014 2:51 PM

Congrats on your accomplishments in finally finishing PT school!  I too took a three week road trip across the country (although mine was after my summer clinical and I had three weeks to kill before I had to report back to school.  I started in North Carolina and drove west to California, up to Washington and circled back across the plains to Chicago -- hitting up 7 national parks along the way.  It was a trip I will never forget.  Enjoy your trip!  Figure it will be the last "summer break" you get until retirement!  You've earned it!

Mike February 18, 2014 12:11 AM

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