By: Rachel Whitehouse As a first year student, I found my involvement in this year’s National Student Conclave to be a very informative introduction to my eventual transition into the working world. It proved an excellent way to practice networking and to learn about my various post-graduate options without the pressure of an immediately approaching graduation date. It also gave me the chance to consider my post-graduation goals, giving me the opportunity to evaluate my goals and focus on how to best use my time at Marquette to achieve those goals.
I found the opportunity to network with companies and residency programs incredibly value as I begin to consider my personal goals within the scope of physical therapy. I learned about residency programs that I had never considered and about the different approaches of programs, which broadened my understanding of the value of such programs. I also got the chance to talk with several companies that do short term traveling PT placements, which was not an opportunity that I had considered before. The flexibility to explore several different setting types in different locations throughout the country is very appealing, especially for a young grad who is otherwise unattached to a particular setting or location.
The presentations throughout the weekend were also helpful, to varying degrees. The Saturday morning presentation, “Recognizing Your Leadership Capacity,” had advice that was relevant even to an early year student, as I can apply leadership in class or at work before I graduate. Learning about financial planning, the national boards, and job hunting were also informative, and it was great to learn about these things without the pressure of having any of these things in my immediate future (though good finances are always important to consider). Not all of the presentations felt so relevant, however. “Engage the Future. Be the Change: How the Early Career Community Can Help Propel The Profession,” proved to be full of business buzzwords, obsessions with social media outlets, and very little insight beyond a general call to stay committed to the APTA and to remain an activist in the PT community. Additionally, the Friday talks about different career paths were good testimonial stories, and it was nice to hear about how that particular group of people had applied these career choices in their own lives, but they offered very little advice to someone interested in pursuing a similar path.
Overall, I found the conference a beneficial experience, and I am very glad to have gone in my first year as a student. This conference helped me see what to expect in my coming years and when I enter the workforce upon graduation. I think that attending the conference very early in my graduate school career has given me the chance to focus on the long-term goals that attending PT school will help me attain, and I hope that I can use my time in school to better focus on exactly what I want to do as a physical therapist.
By: Caitlin Fortuna Having been my first NSC or national APTA event, my overall experience was positive and would make me more inclined to attend a future NSC/APTA national conference event. As a second year DPT student, my goals were not primarily to meet future employers or set up job interviews, but to meet students from PT schools located in different regions of the country and talk about our mutual interest in the profession and ways we wish to advance it. NSC offered many opportunities to do so. My favorite networking/social event of the weekend included the Marquette Challenge Social. This event was very lively and allowed for a very comfortable environment for all students to easily start conversations and interact with each other. The event was also a good reminder that our growth in the professional is not only achieved with our heads deep into the books.
Day one of the conference started off exciting upon walking into the exhibit hall and having freebies basically thrown at me. It turned into the adult equivalent to trick or treating: everyone walking from table to table gathering free goodies as well as information about future internship locations, exam prep materials, and clinical equipment. While I was impressed the exhibit hall offered a wide variety of booths, I was dissatisfied with the short break session lectures offered on this day. The lectures had attractive titles, however, upon listening, the speakers only touched on the surface of their topics and more so told their personal experiences, making it difficult to relate to. It would have been better for the speaker to mention their personal experiences but make the main focus of the lecture about giving the audience the tools we would need to achieve the same advancement within the profession. I left the lectures with a desire to make a change, but was clueless as to where to start.
With low expectations for the second day post-graduate lecture breakout sessions, I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of the presentations. I especially enjoyed the financial planning and the post-graduation: exam, residency, and job lecture. The speakers had a very realistic attitude and supplied the audience with the appropriate resources to be able to land a job and financially plan for the next 30-40 years of our careers.
Overall, this year’s NSC was a positive experience due to the ease of access to the schedule of events through use of the NSC 2014 app, the large exhibit hall with a large variety of booths, the social networking events offered, and the post-graduation lectures on the second day. I look forward to attending NSC 2015 with the hopes that I can further connect with other PT students and with the new goals of networking with future employers for career/interview opportunities upon graduation. I would highly recommend to other PT students to attend future NSC events, as they offer great opportunities for students to get their "toes wet" in a variety of areas within our profession. By attending the event, it also shows that we are all committed to the advancement of ourselves and of the profession.
By: Dan Tyson As a DPT-4 I was surprised by how the conference catered to my current level. I think that there was a good mix of encouragement towards our futures as PTs as well as a quality exchange of information. For me, I went into it having researched a few of the seminars that I wanted to see, mainly the financial basics as well as the networking seminars, as well as a possible route for my career after graduation for the exhibit hall. I personally spent the time to research travel PT and went to a BBL prior to the event at Marquette on the subject and found a base knowledge which I built upon by using the resources provided by the BBL. From there it was easy for me to formulate a set of questions and informational goals to find out which agency would be able to best fit what I envision my needs to be and how each is run (as they all have their nuances that make them slightly different). I found that doing some work on the front end and going through it with a few people with similar interests was very helpful. It allowed me to really enjoy the conference itself and to work on my interpersonal (and especially my inter-professional, networking) communication skills while getting information that I found helpful to my growth as a professional. I would suggest attending this conference as a 4 if you are willing to put a good amount of time into researching and planning your route and especially as a 5 or a 6, especially if you do a little research as well, to not only learn about what makes a good PT but also to network with other current and future peers in the field.
By: Tyler Gregory My experience at the National Student Conclave in Milwaukee was a very memorable and impactful experience. This was my first time at a national physical therapy conference and I came into the conference not really knowing what to expect. Sure, I created my business cards and downloaded the NSC app, but I was not sure about which speakers to attend or which booths to explore. It was nice to go with a few classmates who had more experience about conferences and made the process easier for me to acclimate regarding which booths to focus on.
I really enjoyed all of the free supplies that I received from the booths as well as the valuable information that the vendors provided about their products, healthcare companies, and special sections of physical therapy. In particular it was great to see some of the Marquette PT professors representing different special sections booths. I believe that if I had done more preparation on certain health care providers as well as research background information on booths of my interest I would have gained more valuable information that I could apply to professional and career goals as a future DPT. It would be a great experience in the future to be able to attend CSM with a greater understanding of what to expect at the conference so that I can maximize the experience and what I get out of the conference.