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Journey of a DPT Student

Saying Goodbye

Published April 21, 2014 4:25 PM by Lauren Rosso

I completed my final day of clinical... ever. I'll never have to sign "SPT" again. I won't need to have notes cosigned. And I will never, ever fill out a self-assessment of clinical skills again. I feel like I suddenly grew up, got kicked out of the house, and all I'm really waiting for is a small piece of paper to tell me that I'm on my own.

It's an incredible feeling, but the reality of it all is about to set in. I likely still have two months or more until I'm able to practice independently. Apparently even though I took the boards early, the processing time for my degree and subsequently my license is going to take a while. (I'm not exactly sure why it takes one month for my degree to be displayed on my license, but that's what they told me).

Saying goodbye is going to be a theme in the next few weeks. It started with my coworkers. I had been at this last clinical rotation for six months, so in a way I started to feel like a part of the "family." It's a long time to be in one place, and you definitely start to integrate into the environment much more when you're around for so long. If I wasn't graduating, I think I would have been even sadder to leave that clinical site, but the prospect of being finished helped to avoid a tearful goodbye.

What's really going to get me is when I have to say goodbye to some incredible friends who will be leaving the area. It seems like a vast majority will be leaving the city of Pittsburgh to pursue job opportunities across the country. I've spent a lot of time with this group in the past three years and I've made friends that will last a lifetime -- even if they are moving 2,000 miles away.

I can guarantee a tearful goodbye next week when we all go our separate ways after graduation. I'm from Pittsburgh, so going to school here was like coming home. But I've also learned to associate my home with a number of my classmates, and it's going to feel very strange to be here without them. For better or worse, we've become a huge part of each other's lives and I'm so thankful for their friendship and sanity throughout this journey. One more week. One more blog. I can't believe it!

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Lauren, I understand exactly how you feel. It is a great accomplishment to be finishing PT school. You now have much more responsibility and this can be an exciting and nerve-racking experience. My last day of clinical really made me realize that I have finally made it through the journey and am about to start a new chapter as a practicing DPT. Many of my classmates are also going to be leaving the area and it will be difficult to part ways. Hopefully we can all meet up at class reunions to discuss how we are doing in our careers.

Ryan Sandy, Physical Therapy - SPT, ECU April 28, 2016 8:39 AM
Greenville NC

This is a great summary for what I am feeling right now. I have 1 week left in physical therapy school and it just blows my mind. I have made a life with my classmates over the past 3 years and it will be a different world without them. Being outside of college and outside of PT school will be different. I do still have a few months until I can take my board exam in July so that will give me time to prepare. But you said it right about the time for goodbyes. I have already gone through the goodbyes with my last clinical site but now have the goodbyes of my classmates and teachers over the next week or so. A new world is waiting when I get done, but it is what I have worked so hard for over the past three years and it will all finally pay off.

Jenny , SPT April 24, 2016 7:32 PM
Greenville NC

This post really summed up what I am feeling right now. I have just two weeks left on my final clinical rotation and it is beginning to hit me that I will be a "grown up" soon. I feel as though school has always been my comfort zone and I am conflicted about stepping outside of it. I have to remind myself that this has always been the goal. All these years of school and hard work so that I could work as a full fledged PT without supervision. I think it will be much easier knowing that I will not be going through this alone. Many of my classmates feel the same as I do and it is always nice to have their support.

Emily, SPT April 2, 2016 12:10 PM
Greenville NC

Hi Lauren!

You wrote this blog a couple of years ago but it perfectly reflects the state of emotions I am starting to go through. I am currently on my last 10 week clinical rotation and awaiting graduation in May! You hit the nail on the head about when reality sets in. As students we become used to being constantly supervised and all our work being graded and checked over. As licensed professionals a whole new set of responsibilities and aspect of supervision is upon us and it certainly feels like we are all grown up. Again, like you said, the goodbyes may be the most difficult part of this transition. Leaving the clinical site as well as parting from my fellow students/family for the past 3 years will be a tearful goodbye. I would love to hear how things are going for you now! Wishing you the best of luck!

Katie Letsinger, SPT January 22, 2016 2:46 PM
Grimesland NC

Lauren, you perfectly described how I also feel about PT school coming to an end. I think one of the things I am most excited about is never having to complete a self assessment again! I agree, it is sad to think about not seeing my classmates on a regular basis anymore. Even though there might have been months we were apart on clinicals, we always knew we would see each other again. After graduation, we really may never all be together in a group again. I know my class has discussed getting together for "reunions" every year, which would be fantastic! Good luck with your career and thank you for blogging about the emotions we all have felt through our DPT education.

Olivia Amara April 20, 2015 8:10 PM

Wow! I bet you can't believe it's been almost a full year since you wrote this post. Now a whole new set of students all over the US are experiencing those same emotions. For me personally, I always new I'd be leaving Greenville at the end of my 3 years. What I feel we always underestimate in situations like this one is that amidst all the hard work and time spent studying we build some pretty incredible friendships. Friendships that will never be the same. Like you mentioned in your blog, a countless amount of miles will separate us from the only people that truly understand what our DPT experience was like. But for now, we dread that last presentation, look forward to graduation and plan for the future.

Alma , SPT April 16, 2015 1:28 PM

After finishing my final clinical rotation yesterday, I realized how close I am to being a "real" physical therapist. No longer will I have a clinical instructor to look to for guidance; it will be my own license on the line. This final clinical was in an outpatient orthopedic and sports setting, and it was definitely my favorite experience. I learned more than I ever thought possible. However, I think the most important thing I gained from the affiliation was confidence in my abilities as an independent clinician. I learned that I have the ability to use my classroom knowledge and apply it to a clinical setting.

I couldn't agree more about saying goodbye to my classmates. Because we have 30 people in each class, it allows us to become a close group. I wouldn't trade these past three years for anything. These people have become such amazing friends, and I'm excited to see which direction the field of physical therapy takes them. I'm glad we get to spend our last 6 weeks all together, remembering all the fun we've had, and taking in our last experiences as PT students before we enter the "real world".

Emily DeNardis, SPT March 21, 2015 5:50 PM

Lauren, I am finishing up my last clinical rotation this week.  I have been at this site for 10 weeks and it will definitely be difficult to leave on Friday.  The therapists at the clinic have been absolutely wonderful to work with and I feel like a part of the team!  It's such an exciting time as graduation is approaching, but it's always hard to say goodbye to friends.  I do have to say that I am excited to finish with school and eventually practice without a cosigner!!!  I think it will initially be a little nerve racking that it's will be our own license on the line with everything that we do going forward!  Good luck with your journey as a therapist and thank you for the blog so that we can see that other PT students are going through the same emotions as we are!

Kristen March 19, 2015 10:58 AM

Congratulations, Lauren! It is an incredible accomplishment to begin and end such an extensive program/ degree.  I, like you, have recently completed my final clinical rotation and I am in the final stretch before graduating.  It is a nice thought that I will no longer have to have someone cosign or look over my shoulder.  This is going to be a huge transition, going from 7 years as a college student to having to search for and acquire a PT position.  I greatly look forward to this transition, but I will miss the friendships that I have made during my time in PT school.  It is a great feeling that you will have a network of friends and peers to correspond with as you make the steps into a career. Next on my agenda is preparing for the licensing exam in July. I appreciate your continued insight throughout your PT experience and wish you the best of luck.

Stacy April 29, 2014 9:46 AM

Congratulations, Lauren! I've been following this blog since you started and I am proud of you!

Jennifer, SPT April 22, 2014 9:15 AM

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