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Journey of a DPT Student

The End of the Road

Published April 28, 2014 4:01 PM by Lauren Rosso

There is no simple way to sum up my life since college. Unlike a lot of physical therapy students, I didn't take the traditional path. In fact it may have been the least efficient way to achieve a DPT degree. But looking back, as cliché as it may sound, I would not change a single aspect of this incredible journey that has resulted in a deep love for my career and pure excitement for the future.

We were doing a lot of reflecting this weekend. I started the program three years ago and couldn't tell you a single origin or insertion for the entire musculoskeletal system. I thought I was by far the least prepared to become a physical therapist, and I honestly questioned whether or not it was the right move. For those of you starting your programs, I hope you find comfort in the fact that despite my initial feelings, I have succeeded and excelled in my program. I traveled abroad for a clinical rotation that I will never forget. I passed my boards early. I earned the respect of my clinical instructors and faculty. Don't lost hope -- it gets so much better. My professional growth has been the direct result of the confidence I've gained by allowing myself to be challenged throughout my education. It has been an incredible ride.

Despite an amazing education, I recognize that my most important accomplishment lies in the relationships I've formed at the University of Pittsburgh. I have friends that will last a lifetime and colleagues I can contact for their expertise. There were a lot of tears this weekend as we recognized that departures are looming in the near future. If you had asked me three years ago if I thought I'd create an entirely new social circle who I care for deeply, I would have said you were crazy. It remains that the capacity to build relationships is at its best when you are challenged within that group -- during the worst finals weeks, long clinical rotations, and endless group projects. There is a bond here that can't be broken and I'm so grateful for that.

So here I am, at the end of the long and bumpy road. As with all endings, it feels bittersweet. I can't express my excitement for the future, but a small part of me will always yearn for the days when I was surrounded by some of the best friends and faculty you could ask for. I know I'm not alone in my feelings, as I'm sure many of you who are graduating (or have graduated) have felt the same.

To everyone who has read this blog over the past few years, thank you for your input, encouragement and support. I wish you all the absolute best in your career endeavors and will be forever grateful for the opportunity to chronicle my experiences as a physical therapy student. Let my journey as a new clinician begin!

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This moment I thought would never come. Graduating from a DPT program seemed like a surreal goal 3 years ago. Time has flown by as I have made some life long friends and memories that I will never forget. This feeling of nervous expectation reminds me of undergrad graduation. Everyone is going their own seperate ways to start a new era of their lifes and fear and excitement are overwhelming. The only difference is that these friends are now colleagues who are available to help me progress as the a therapist and a person as I step into a new stage of life.

Tyler Johnston, SPT April 21, 2015 11:58 AM
Greenville NC

After reading this post I couldn't help but compare your recent feelings to the way I have been feeling. Graduation is looming and my classmates and I are all getting very excited about embarking on our next adventures. When I look back on the beginning of my journey as a DPT student I too remember feeling inadequate, unprepared and very overwhelmed. I questioned whether I deserved to be here and if I would even succeed. Like you I too have succeeded and can't believe how far I have come. I definitely would not have survived this journey without all those who have supported me and help nurture my education. Over the last three years I have created a group of friends that will last a lifetime and gained an infinite amount of mentors to guide me, in my professors, CI's and now future colleagues. I could not be more grateful for the knowledge I have gained from each and every one of them. Good luck on all your future endeavors we have so much to look forward to.

Sarah Billings, SPT March 27, 2015 10:32 AM

I just read your "End of the Road" blog entry, and I have to say it really hits home for me.  I have had so many family and friends ask me if I am excited to be just about finished with school.  I feel that is kind of a difficult question to answer easily.  Of course I am excited to be so near starting my new career, but for me, I can't help but feel a bit of nostalgia for the end of a chapter in my life.  I too was a non-traditional student, having been out of school for 7 years between undergrad and grad school.  When I graduated from undergrad, I knew I was going back to school for something, but now that I am about to graduate again, I know that this will be the last time I will be in school (at least in the traditional sense).  I never thought that I would meet the people that I have and built such a close relationship with my classmates.  It has been one heck of a ride, but I have had the most wonderful group of people around me, and although I am happy for the next step, I am not quite ready to let go of the people I have experienced the journey with.  I suppose that is the beauty of technology, and conferences, and reunions.  Bittersweet is a very appropriate way to describe the way I feel about graduation.

Paul Kruchesky, Physical Therapy - SPT March 23, 2015 3:31 PM

I just read your last 15+ posts and reminisced about the past 3 years... I literally went through a crazy ride of emotions.  It seems like just yesterday when we realized that we were both PSU alums!  I can't wait to see what the future holds for us and our classmates!

Tyler Hassinger May 12, 2014 8:17 AM

I have been lurking for 3 years Lauren! We made it! So glad to have met you and even more glad to start our professional careers in PGH!

Eric Lehman May 8, 2014 11:26 PM

It seems only a few weeks ago that you were wading through the flood waters of Gateshead to get home from your first clinic in England. I shall never forget your story of nearly getting swept away by a buses tsunami. You brought fun and excitement as well as growth to our staff.

I speak for the whole staff in saying what an honour it was to be part of your journey. Although you may have doubted this moment would come, we never did. You have been a pro right from the start.

I look forward to hearing more about you accomplishments as your career advances! Eeeeee howay pet! All the best from across the pond.

Dean Metz April 29, 2014 4:03 PM

Thank you for written this blog while completing your DPT. It has been one of the things I look forward to every week. My path towards physical therapy is also one that is less efficient/untraditional, but it's my path nonetheless. Will you chronicle your experience as a new DPT??

Cedric April 28, 2014 9:14 PM

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