Last Updated on June 22, 2022 by Laura Turner
This is a transcript of the Ask Me Anything with DPT Students: Amber and Michael. We encourage you to watch the entire conversation here to learn about their experiences training to be physical therapists.
We welcome you to this Ask Me Anything (AMA) webinar with current Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) students: Amber and Michael, discussing their journey in physical therapy (PT). This is hosted by Laura Turner, the executive director for the Health Professional Student Association (HPSA), which publishes the Student Doctor Network (SDN) forums. Our mission is simple. We help students from underserved communities increase their chances of admissions to health professional schools. We do this by offering donor-supported guidance, advising, and assistance to students, regardless of their background or financial means. We invite you to check out all the donor-supported resources we have available at studentdoctor.net. Questions are submitted by entering them in the comment section of YouTube or Facebook, wherever you’re watching it. We do respond to questions that are entered later, so please feel free to ask further questions if you have them!
Laura Turner: And we’ll pull it up on the screen for Amber and Michael to answer. So with that, I’m going to go ahead and start to turn it over to Michael and Amber. They are second-year DPT students. They both have undergraduate degrees in biology with a concentration in health professions, and they can answer questions about the application process, interview questions, tuition, and financial aid, their day-to-day schedules, managing stress during physical therapy school their study habits, and also any couple related questions about attending the same program. So with that, I will go ahead and turn it over to them. Thank you. Okay. So we’ll go ahead and get started with the first question. So when did you each decide first to become a physical therapy and why did you make that decision?
Michael: So I’ll go ahead and get started. I first wanted to go to physical therapy school when my best friend had a spinal cord injury. I was with him every single day throughout his rehab process. I was able to sit on a lot of his treatment sessions, and I saw the impact that physical therapy had on my friend’s life. And from that point, I just wanted to go to physical therapy school. So that way I can one day make that same impact on someone else’s life as well.
Amber: So the kind of similar situation with myself I was there during our friend’s injury and his recovery process as well, but I first decided to become a physical therapist when I, myself tore my ACL. So I was a sophomore in high school when that happened. So going through the recovery process, pushed me to know that this is what I want to do. I always knew I wanted to be in the healthcare field. I just wasn’t quite sure what but going through that rehab process is really what directed me to physical therapy.
Laura Turner: Great. Awesome. How and why did you guys choose the school that you currently attend?
Amber: I guess I can go first on this one. So for MCPHS, one of the big kind of directors that allowed us to pick this school over another school is the curriculum. I think that the layout of the curriculum and how they have all of the didactic work in the first two years and then the clinical application and the clinicals and the last year was something that really interested me. I know for myself, I would rather just kind of get the first two, two years of hard work done and then have an entire year of clinicals rather than kind of having some schoolwork and then going away. And then coming back, I feel like that was just too difficult of a situation. So that’s something definitely to look at if that’s something that you’re interested in. Definitely look at the curriculum, but that’s really what kind of honed in on this school for me
Michael: And kind of piggybacking off of what Amber said. We have a pro bono clinic at our school and from day one, you’re in the pro bono clinic. You’re working with patients from our community. You’re getting that hands-on experience to complement your in-person learning. And I think that that was a big, big plus for me because it allows me to use all of the material that I’m learning in school and apply that to a real-life patient.
Laura Turner: Cool. What has surprised you most about your studies?
Michael: So I’ll go first on this one. What surprised me the most was the change in my study habits from undergraduate to graduate level. I think in undergraduate, I was more of the procrastinator and I quickly realized in PT school that, you know, that just wasn’t going to cut it. You need to really retain the information from one class to another. It just, it doesn’t go away one semester kind of builds on another. So I think what surprised me was my ability to adapt to the constantly changing environment going from a procrastinator to someone that, you know, does assignments a week early.
Amber: So kind of a similar situation with me. I’ve always been very organized and very on top of my work. So I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a procrastinator, but there are definitely some nights in undergraduate where it was some last-minute studying. But just really like Michael said, changing your study habits. I was always going into PT school. I’m never going to change the way that I study. I know this is how I study. This is how I learn. And it is a 360-degree turnaround. I have completely changed the way that I’ve studied. I honestly can’t even tell you how I used to study as an undergraduate. So it’s just, don’t be afraid to make changes in your study habits. And if your study habits aren’t working, don’t just try to stick to those habits, make sure you make a change and really find a way that you learn in PT school. Cause it can be different than undergraduate.
Laura Turner: So what are some of the tactics or methods that you use now that you’re in PT school to do your studying?
Amber: So I rewrite all of my notes. I am not a person who can study off of PowerPoints and unfortunately, a lot of professors use PowerPoint as their method of instructing. And it’s very hard for me when content on the same material is on multiple different slides. I’m not able to connect that material and it’s a lot of material. So I basically type out all of my notes. I highlight and underline the important information in different colors. So I kind of color coat, different things. And then my main change in what I do now is I have one blank document and I like two days before the exam, I write all of the very important concepts and studying most of the like major important, important concepts. And then I relate to my typed notes to get all the fine details, but there’s just so much content that if you just look at every single line individually and try to whether it’s memorizing or just understand it, it doesn’t really work that way. You just kind of need to have an overall picture of a lot of things and then hone in on the details when it’s necessary. Okay.
Michael: I totally agree. And I think the biggest thing for me is now I try to study in groups versus I used to study by myself during my undergraduate career. And I also changed the way that I study. I used to try to memorize everything on the piece of paper and apply it to an exam and kind to forget about it afterward in PT school, it’s more about understanding the material because the material does transfer from one class to another, and it’s extremely important to understand it versus to memorize it and understand why things happen and you know, the way that they happen versus trying to memorize it for an exam because unfortunately, it’s not something that ever goes away.
Laura Turner: Thanks. Yeah. Thanks for the additional detail there. I, I think students sometimes aren’t prepared necessarily when they move from one level to the next level in a school. So we’ll hop onto the next question here, which is if you had to do it all over again, would you still choose physical therapy school? Would you still want to continue down the path that you’re currently on?
Amber: Yes. A hundred percent. I think that physical therapy is not one of those fields that you go into for financial reasons. It’s not one of those careers that you just kind of choose secondhand just because you want to, and you don’t know what you want to do with your life. And physical therapy is one of those things where if you’re going to physical therapy school, you need to have a love and a passion for helping people and for just physical health in general because if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you’re not going to enjoy studying. And you’re going to have a really hard time in PT school. It’s not a career that you just choose just to choose. So if, if PT is your passion, it’s hard, but if you truly love helping people and want to do that by means of physical therapy, it’s a hundred percent the way to go.
Michael: I 100% agree I would do it all over again. I think the patient experience is amazing. You get to spend one-on-one time for an hour with your patients and not a lot of healthcare professionals have the ability to do that. I know a lot of my friends that are going to medical school you know, you’re kind of in and out with your patient versus physical therapy, you really get to make an impact on their life, their family’s life, and you get to get to know them on a personal level, which is amazing.
Laura Turner: Cool. We have our first question from the audience here. I’ll pull it over. So Samantha asks, what excites you most about your clinical practice? Now I know you mentioned that you do most of it. You’ve right now you’re in the midst of your classwork, but what, what do you like best about the clinical practice aspects?
Michael: So I like the fact that I can integrate exactly what I’m learning into working with my patients. So for example, we had kinesiology and we had orthopedic pathology, and learning all those different concepts and then going into our pro bono clinic and be able to apply those concepts is extremely rewarding.
Amber: So for me, I actually have already set up one of my clinical sites. So I’ll be attending a pediatric clinical in Maine in October of next year. So I think just having that site already set up is something that I’m really interested in. And it kind of pushes me further to just make sure I’m doing like all the work that I need to do to, to make sure I get to that point in, in school. But I think the most important thing kind of like Michael said is really just being able to apply everything that you’re learning in school and actually seeing an outcome of it because in, in regular classes you get tested on the material and all of that, and you’re able to see kind of how much, you know, but you really won’t know how much you truly know in routines and tell the clinical practice. And so I think that’s just something that I’m really excited about is just to get out there and really apply what we’ve learned.
Laura Turner: Great. Has PT school met your expectations and why or why not? And maybe what were your expectations going in? Did you have expectations of what it would be like?
Amber: So I think this is a little bit of a tricky question in the sense that when we started PT school we kind of started in the midst of COVID. So it has been a little bit challenging with online learning. Luckily, our program was really great about getting us lab time and on-campus time to really allow us to do the hands-on work that we need to do as physical therapy students. So in that sense, I definitely think that PT school has met all of our expectations. I think the one that it’s definitely a lot of work and sometimes I feel like it may have been more work than I really was anticipating in certain classes or in certain semesters. But for the most part, it has definitely met my expectations. And I’m not, I wouldn’t say that there’s specifically one thing that I’m like, wow, this is really what it was supposed to be. Like. I didn’t know that it wasn’t like that for me.
Michael: I totally agree with what Amber said PT school going into it. I knew that it was going to be extremely hard and don’t get me wrong. It has been extremely hard, but at the same time, it has been extremely rewarding to see how far I’ve come and how far my classes, Tom, as a whole in comparison today, one,
Laura Turner: That’s a good way we can transition into the next question, which is what do you like most about PT school?
Michael: I like the connections that I’ve made, both with my instructors, with members of our community with our classmates. These are connections that I’m going to take with me for the rest of my life. My instructors have been extremely helpful. I almost feel like I can go to them with anything I’ve talked to them about personal problems and school-related problems. So I just liked the fact that I’ve made connections that I’m going to have with me for the rest of my life.
Amber: I would definitely second that I think our program specifically with our professors, they’re very easy to come to and that’s something that I find extremely important to have in a program because it is a challenging thing. Sometimes you’re going to be overwhelmed and sometimes you just need that figure to talk to. But most more specifically, what I like about PT school kind of like Michael was mentioning is since we have our pro bono clinic that’s a small way to kind of incorporate what we’ve learned thus far, into the clinic or the clinical work so far. So that’s something that if that’s an important factor to you, then definitely finding a school with a pro bono clinic is something that you should kind of keep on your radar because it allows you that hands-on experience early on and allows you to just kind of build your confidence because the first time you see patients, you’re nervous, you’re anxious. You don’t know, you don’t want to mess up, but really having the pro bono clinic allows you to work with patients while still being supervised. And I think that’s really important.
Laura Turner: Well, the obvious follow-up to the, what do you like best is what do you like least about PT school?
Amber: I guess I’ll go first on this one. I think the only thing that I can say about what I like least is you just have to make sacrifices. There are certain times in your life where you may have personal things going on. You may really just, I want to go out to dinner with my family, or I want to spend time with my friends or whatever it may be. You just really need to be willing to make sacrifices. And that’s a hard thing with physical therapy with any school in general, but physical therapy school specifically, because it is so taxing and demanding that you just kind of need to be able to, to make those sacrifices, even when you don’t want to, at some times,
Michael: Yeah, just to piggyback off of what Amber said you know, you’re going to miss weddings, we’ve missed weddings, we’ve missed birthday parties. We’ve missed hanging out with our friends when everyone else is getting together. But all of these things that you’re missing out on are going to be extremely, you’re going to, you’re going to, you’re not going to regret it later on. Just yeah, exactly what Amber said. All of these sacrifices are extremely worth it.
Laura Turner: They’re all building towards what you, what your goal is, is to become a physical therapist. So I did want to remind people that if you have any questions that you’d like to ask Michael and Amber, that you can enter them into the comment section of YouTube and Facebook, and we’ll be able to pull them up on the screen for them to review. Now, we’re going to switch over to a question about what your typical day looks like. What is it like to what are you doing on a typical day at school?
Michael: So our typical day week starts out with us waking up at around 8 o’clock or a little bit earlier, like seven, because we have 8:00 AM classes some days, so we’ll get ready. Our school does have a dress code, so we’ll get dressed. We’ll go to school. We live about five minutes from school. Once we get to school, we have a lecture in the morning usually. And then we’ll have a little bit of a lunch break and then we’ll have our lab. And then some days we have multiple labs in a day. For example, we had that today where one half of our cohort is going to be in one lab before lunch and the other half is going to be in another lab. And then we have a lunch break and then we switch. So we’ll go to the other lab and then they go to the other lab. I know that sounds kind of confusing. And then after that, we come home, we usually walk our dog for about an hour. We have dinner, we try to relax for a couple of hours and then we do homework. We study for exams any assignments that we have coming up and that’s pretty much it.
Amber: Yeah. kind of like Michael said, I really think one important thing to kind of build into your daily schedule is really some time for yourself. Even on days where you feel like you have no time to do anything and no time to take a break, even just getting out of the house for 30 minutes, it’s not going to kill you at the end of the day. I mean, it could help you learn maybe one other concept, but really you kind of need that mental relaxation, especially after being in the classroom or in the lab for eight hours a day. So, but pretty typically most days were 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM or to 5:00 PM depending on the day. So it is generally a pretty full day. Michael and I don’t work outside of school. I know some of our classmates do some of them work during the week.
Amber: Some of them work on the weekends. That’s not something that I necessarily would recommend in at least your first semester, maybe even your first two, because you’re trying to kind of get the hang of things. But for the most part, it’s Monday through where Monday through Thursday. So, we are lucky in the sense that we do get Fridays off, but our Fridays are when we go into the pro bono clinic. And when we go out to other hospitals in clinics for observations. So some days you have Friday off, some days you’re in the clinic observing or working in the pro bono clinic. But it’s pretty, pretty packed Monday to Friday.
Laura Turner: So on average, how many hours a week? Well, you kind of already touched on this a little bit that it’s you know, eight to two, three or four each day. How many hours do you study? So you’re, you’re doing like what I can do the math there. So, you know, seven or eight hours of work each day and then have school each day. And then how much study time is there most days.
Amber: So it really depends. Michael and I do a lot of our studying on the weekend and that doesn’t negate the fact that we do study during the week, but a majority of our hardcore sit down and study time is during on the weekends, because like I said, after eight full hours of class, you’re just very mentally tired. So we generally take a break. If we get out of the classroom at four, we generally take a break until about seven o’clock. And that includes dinner, relaxation, walking, the dog and that kind of stuff. But then around seven 30, we’ll, we’ll get back on our computers at our desk or whatever we need to work on. And I would say it’s a guarantee until at least 10 o’clock. If you have the exam the next day, sometimes you might be up until 12 or 1 o’clock in the morning, but in general, I would say at least three hours a day during the week. And then pretty, pretty solidly most of the day on the weekend. And that’s not necessarily like only studying. When, when I say the weekends are pretty packed, there’s a lot of group projects. There’s a lot of assignments, a lot of discussion boards, and those kinds of assignments that kind of take up the time. So it’s not just full-on reading notes, studying notes, all of that is kind of incorporating everything. But you definitely take time to yourself as well.
Laura Turner: On that note. Do you feel you have enough time to spend with your family and friends and why, or why not? You touched on this a little bit that it sounds like you’re deliberately making a sacrifice now, knowing that that’s going to be part of becoming a physical therapist what are, what’s your feelings on that right now?
Michael: So it’s kind of difficult because my family lives in New Jersey and Amber, his family lives in Colorado and we currently live in Massachusetts for school. So we try to see our family you know, once every two months, whenever we have a Friday off we’ll drive home and see my family we have made a lot of friends since we’ve been here mostly at the dog park. And we try to go out to dinner with them on a bi-weekly basis, at least. So we do have time outside of school to hang out with our friends and family. Again, just having our family live so far away from where we currently are, makes it a little bit difficult, but we call them every day. So we still have a lot of time for that.
Amber: And I definitely think it has a lot to do with time management as well. If you manage your time appropriately on breaks from classes or the weekend, and you get a lot of stuff done, there’s definitely room to hang out with your family and friends. As Michael said, we go out to dinner frequently with friends. For us, it’s kind of easy because we go to the park and that’s where we see our friends and hang out with our friends at the dog park. And like I said, we do that every day. So that’s not something that it’s impossible. You’re definitely, you’re definitely able to spend time with family and friends. I think the most part, the most important thing is you just need to manage your time well, in order to get that time to spend with your family.
Laura Turner: Cool. Well, let’s switch gears a little bit now and talk about the advice that you would give yourself if in your position now, knowing what you do know now, what would you say to yourself back when you started PT school?
Amber: You can do it. I think confidence is a big thing in PT school specifically especially in labs when you’re doing skill checks in different lab work. One thing that I’ve noticed is some students definitely lack that confidence. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. If they’re asking for someone to demonstrate something, don’t be afraid that you’re going to get it wrong, because at the end of the day, if you get it wrong, you’re only going to learn from that experience. So be confident in yourself, be confident in your abilities, and just know that you can do it. There are definitely times where I’m sitting here. I’m like, I can’t do this anymore. Like it’s so tiring, but just know that every day brings a new, new challenge, but with every new challenge you learn something new and that’s the most important thing.
Michael: I think Amber said that extremely well. I also think the biggest thing was I was extremely worried about getting the same grades that I got in undergrad and, you know, being good, being the best and, and all that. And in PT school, it really doesn’t matter. You know, it was there for a reason, your professors know that you can do it. You’re not going to get an A in every class and that’s okay. And I think the biggest thing for me was worrying and stressing myself out. You know, I got an 80 on this exam. I don’t know how I’m going to get an A in the class now. And it took me a little while. And I think looking back at it, I would tell myself that you know, don’t worry about it. It’s just great to keep moving forward and everything is going to be okay.
Laura Turner: Cool. I want to mention again that we are accepting questions. If you have questions that you want to ask Amber and Michael, you can enter them in the comment section of YouTube and Facebook, and we can bring them over on the screen. So please, please ask questions. They’ve been generous enough to give us some time and I want to point out they have an exam tomorrow. So not only do they give us some of their time, but they did give, it gave us some of their time before an exam. So we really appreciate them taking the effort making the effort to answer questions for folks. So please make use of that and submit some questions for us. I’m going to go ahead and do another kind of a shift of gears to a question about healthcare today, from your perspective, what is the biggest problem with healthcare today?
Michael: I think based on where you live, I think access to healthcare is sometimes an issue. I, I’m not sure if it’s the same everywhere. I really wish it was because you know, everyone is entitled to healthcare obviously, and, you know, you shouldn’t have to drive 45 minutes to seek healthcare services. I think it should be more readily available, especially in underserved communities. And I think the biggest problem, as well as pro bono work. I think there needs to be more of that and to give back to our community. And I’d like to see more of that happen.
Amber: Yeah. I definitely think kind of like Michael was saying accessibility is a big thing and that’s something that we have done multiple projects on throughout our schooling so far is determining based on the size of the town, how many PT clinics there are, and what their accessibility is. And do they only accept insurance? Are they a cash-based physical therapy clinic? Do they allow pro bono work? So really a big thing is just accessibility. And then with insurance as well physical therapy is grouped with speech therapy under physical, under those services within the healthcare field or within the health insurance field. So a big thing is you kind of have to work around the number of hours that you are approved for. They may only approve you for 10 visits and you have to determine how you’re going to get that patient back to what they want to do in 10 visits. And if you don’t, then you need to submit paperwork and documentation in order to hopefully get more visits. And even then you don’t know if you’re going to. So I think just overall, it’s very challenging to have patients in the clinic, especially patients who need it. And that’s a big thing.
Laura Turner: Now you’ve both mentioned the pro bono clinic that you guys have through your school. Can you talk a little bit more about that and any other types of outreach or volunteer work that you do?
Amber: Yeah, so I can kind of go first on this one. So within our PT program, we, Michael and I are a part of a bunch of different clubs. Michael’s the president of the student physical therapy club. I am the treasurer for that, and I’m also an event coordinator for the service club at our school. So this past year has been a little bit challenging with COVID and kind of the restrictions on that. So volunteer work has been a little limited. However, our program does work with our community a lot for different volunteer events. There’s a veterans event that we’re going to be hopefully getting set up pretty soon, so we can go and help to teach different exercises to those veterans. We do some angel it’s called an angel tree project, and that’s where a bunch of students in our program come together to buy gifts for children who are, whose parents are unable to buy them gifts for Christmas. So our school specifically is big on volunteer and service work and trying to help out our community as much as possible. But it has been a little bit challenging as I said with COVID, but hopefully, with this upcoming year, we’re able to put some good events together for volunteer work.
Laura Turner: What’s your advice for students who are interested in pursuing a career as a physical therapist, maybe talk a little bit about what the admissions process was like and what the things factors you should think about as you look to this career.
Michael: So talking a little bit about admissions and picking a school. I definitely think it’s important to look at the curriculum of the program. Talk to current students in the program, talk to faculty members of that particular program. Just make sure that that is a place that you really want to go to and you want to learn. I think that’s extremely important and some advice would be to follow your dreams. You know, you can do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that, to tell you that you can’t you know, we’re living proof of that. We have overcome, you know, a lot to make these dreams a reality and, you know just follow your dreams and you can do it.
Amber: Yeah. I think another thing, an important thing about admissions and interviews and everything like that is to be yourself. They don’t want you to be some walk in there and be some fake person and give them the answer that you think they want to hear. They want to know and learn about you because at the end of the day if you go to their program, you’re going to be with them for the next three years. So be authentic to yourself, answer it as true as truthfully as you possibly can. All of the questions, don’t just say something that they want to hear, because they’re able to pick up on that. They’ve done interviews for a long, long time. They know the answers that students are just going to give, just because they don’t know what else to say. But just really be yourself. And as far as pursuing a career as a physical therapist, as I said, it really just needs to be in your heart. This has to be a career it’s not easy. You see patients with conditions that are heartbreaking and so you really just need to have it in your heart. And if you don’t, then it’s not an easy field to pursue. So you really need to just mentally be there and want to do it.
Laura Turner: We have another question that came in from Sam or Samantha. And it’s why is character such an important piece of becoming a physical therapist?
Amber: I think Michael can speak to this a little bit more than I can. We’ve both previously worked at a rehabilitation hospital. I worked more in the outpatient department and he worked more in-patient, but you are going to get some difficult patients. You are going to get patients who don’t believe anything that you say you’re going to have patients cry on your shoulder because they had a stroke and they can’t work anymore and they can’t walk and they can, you need to be a strong character and someone who can allow them to express their feelings and also respectfully and appropriately guide them through their recovery process. So Michael probably hasn’t an example of this kind of what he experienced at the hospital. And this is kind of a story that he always tells to everyone, but character is just, you need to have somewhat of an outgoing personality, because like I said, you’re going to get patients of all different, everything, all different, everything. That’s all I’m going to say about that. You’re just going to get a bunch of different patients and it’s important that you’re able to kind of mold your character to whatever kind of patient you’re working with.
Michael: Yeah. Piggybacking off of what Amber said. I think it’s extremely important to be you know, very tough, a tough injured individual emotionally because when I worked on the spinal cord injury unit you know, it was important for me to be tough for these patients. So they can come to me. It’s also important to be humble and understanding because a lot of the patients that I’ve seen just experienced a life-changing event and you are the first people that they’re seeing after that event. And it’s important to be there for them both physically, emotionally, and just be very understanding. And it’s important to also be able to go out of your way to make someone’s day something as little as bringing them a cup of water. You know, I’ve had people cry telling me, thank you so much for bringing me a cup of water. It took me about, you know, 30 seconds to go grab it, but it really made their day. And I think it’s important to also yourself in that patient’s shoes. You know, they just underwent a, they just experienced a traumatic injury and, you know, put yourself in their shoes. What would I want for someone else to do for me to help me overcome this? And I think that’s extremely important.
Laura Turner: Thank you. And I just want to remind everybody again, if you have questions, you can put them into the comment section of YouTube and Facebook and we’ll put them on screen. Like we did for Samantha’s question here. I’m going to switch now to talk a little bit about what it’s like being a couple within the same program.
Michael: I think it’s great. We get asked this question a lot both by students in our program and students that are touring their school. I think it’s great because she understands the stress that I’m experiencing and I understand what she’s going through. And I think that if you’re not in the same program, sometimes it can be a little bit difficult to see what the other person is going through. It’s good because we have totally different study habits. So we kind of blend them both together and we’ve had very good success with that. And sometimes it is a little bit difficult because like I mentioned, there are some rough days and, you know, you do have strong feelings and, you know, there was a little bit of arguing going on, but overall I think it’s a great experience being able to go through it with her.
Amber: Yeah. So I completely agree with that. There are definitely days where you’re, you’re challenged, not only as a student but as a couple. I think one extremely important thing is to not compare yourself to one another. Michael and I both have very high expectations for ourselves and for each other, as far as grades go on exams, but it’s really important to not be like, oh, well you got an 86 and I got an 82. And at this point, it doesn’t matter as long as you both are succeeding. And as long as you both are pushing each other to be the best that you can be, that’s extremely important. There are definitely challenges in the sense that some people in the program may think that you only do things together and you’re always together and all of this. And one thing that I will say to that is it’s extremely important to branch out as your own individual and make your own friends and be able to spend time apart, because like I said, we are spending in a sense every waking hour together, by the time we’re in class and in the lab and, and everything.
Amber: So it’s, it can have its challenges, but it’s extremely rewarding to see someone who you care about so much succeed and do what they love. And that’s one of the most important things. And it’s hard, it’s, it may be challenging to get into the same program. Michael and I had good success with that. So I think it’s definitely possible, but just remember you’re your own person at the end of the day as well?
Laura Turner: Another question from the audience here from Samantha, are you looking at doing a residency when should students start looking into those options?
Amber: So I, myself I’m kind of tossed up in the air. I’m not a hundred percent sure. I know I want to pursue pediatric physical therapy. And because I already have a clinical in pediatric physical therapy, I don’t necessarily think I need to do a residency also for residencies, from what I understand and from what information that I’ve gained, a lot of them have to do with inpatient experiences. And I am really trying to stay towards the outpatient pediatric department. So for me, it’s not something that I’m heavily looking into. It’s definitely something that I’m considering, but that wouldn’t be until the third year. So like I said, we’re just about to start our second year. We’re just finishing up our first year here in a couple of weeks. So I’m definitely not looking into that for another year or so, but it’s something to keep on your radar, especially if you’re interested in like what Michael is interested in is FCI. And he can kind of go into that a little bit more, but it just depends on what your interest is in. And if it’s something that can extremely benefit you, or if it’s just something that it’s good to have, but doesn’t really need it. So he can talk a little bit more about his aspect of that.
Michael: So I, my heart and soul is in neuro PT specifically spinal cord injury. And I am actually planning on doing a residency to get my NCS eventually. And the reason why I want to do a residency is that you have that one-on-one mentorship with a therapist who has been working with that population for a long period of time and a lot of things that they can teach you, you know, you may have not learned in school or you may have not really gone over it. And I think that that clinical experience from that clinician can really shape you as a clinician yourself. And I think students should look to start looking into these options their second or third year when they’re really getting into the clinical aspect of their coursework. And just see if residency is something that you’re interested in. Maybe get some more information from the various programs that do offer residencies. I know there’s a lot, there are orthopedic residencies, there are neuro residencies, there are pediatric sports there’s, you know, there’s a lot.
Laura Turner: Okay. And I’m going to have a question here about applying to physical therapy, school, and interview questions. Now Amber, you had talked a little bit about being yourself in the interview. What types of interview questions should people applying to physical therapy school anticipate?
Amber: So there’s a wide variety. And I think some questions may surprise you. I know there are some questions that I was like, oh my God, I didn’t even think about this. I had no idea what I was even supposed to say. I think the general questions of why do you want to be a PT? Tell me a little bit about yourself. Kind of just the basic questions you’re going to get at every PT interview you go to now, some people are going to be, you’re writing a book tomorrow, what is the title and why, what is your book going to be about? So there are definitely some questions that are kind of out there and something that you wouldn’t expect. But again, with those questions, it’s just important to be yourself. And if you don’t know what to say, make something up, but when you make it up, make it, make it true, but make it about yourself.
Amber: You don’t want to ever say some like farfetched answer, just because it’s like maybe what they want to hear. You don’t want that you want to be authentic to yourself, but Michael he ha he’s, he has more experience with like different interview questions. This is something that he’s looked into heavily. I will say that the student doctor network was a great place for us to kind of look and see what kind of questions are asked at what school. So if you follow different forums about different schools that you may be interviewing, that some people are definitely open to sharing interview questions, and that’s a great place to look, but just depends on the school.
Michael: So back to kind of what Amber said there are the basic questions, you know, why do you want to attend our program? And that has a lot to do with you doing research on the program prior to your interview. We’ve also experienced a lot of group interviews, and those are mostly to see how you can communicate with others and a lot of physical therapies communicating with others and working as a team to achieve a common goal and that common goal. So for those types of interviews be yourself like Amber mentioned before just communicate with others. Well, cause that’s, that’s what they’re looking for. They’re not really looking for a right or wrong answer because there is no right or wrong answer and just communicate well with others. There are, there have been some questions like Amber mentioned in my first interview, someone put a pen on the table and asked me to sell them the pen, and I was not expecting that. But I tried my best. There’s no right or wrong answer. So just speak what’s on your mind and always be yourself.
Laura Turner: Great. Any other advice that you have for students who are looking into going to physical therapy school and I apologize for hearing that my kids are a little bit outside, hopefully, I can get them to quiet down a little bit here.
Amber: That’s okay. I will say one thing application process-wise depending on the number of schools that you’re interested in applying to, you definitely want to get started on your applications early. I know for Michael and I, we throughout undergraduate took a lot of different summer classes and we’re pretty busy with those. But once school starts in September with your full semester, it gets pretty hectic with you trying to write inner or write essays and do all of your inputting of grades and everything. It can get a little time-consuming and stressful. So take a couple of hours a week during the summer and really start getting your applications complete because it can get really challenging and it’s, it can get really time-consuming. And another thing that I kind of learned that’s important is when you’re inputting grades it’s important to input them exactly as shown on your official transcript.
Amber: So one thing that was recommended to myself by another student is to get an official transcript from your school and input the course title exactly how it has it on there. So for example, if you are taking anatomy and physiology, and it has abbreviated anatomy and fizz, you want to put it exactly how it is on your transcript. So that’s something that sometimes they’ll like deny the course or make you like resubmit something. And when you’re applying to so many schools, you don’t want to have to go back and make edits and anything. So I think just inputting that information correctly, the first time with the official transcript is definitely beneficial.
Michael: And make sure that you apply early as well. You know, don’t wait until the deadline of November 15th to submit your application, make sure that you apply, you know, the sooner, the better, and also don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone. I know a lot of people would like to go to school in their home state, and I totally understand that, but don’t be afraid to apply to other programs. You will have to make some sacrifices with that but I promise you that it’s all worth it
Amber: Because at the end of the day, if you spend two years applying, that’s two years, that you’re just kind of wasting your time instead of spending those two years, maybe a little bit farther from home. And just having one year laugh instead of just kind of, if you have your heart set on a school and that’s fine, but definitely don’t be afraid to branch out cause that’s what he and I did. And it’s like I said, been successful for us so far.
Laura Turner: Great. Well, I want to thank you both for taking the time, especially when knowing that you have an exam the next day. We really appreciate all of the information you’ve shared with us and that you’ve been able to help students in this way. If you joined us late the webinar will be available for viewing on YouTube. We’d like to extend our gratitude to Michael and Amber. And I apologize for the noise in the background here, but we like to extend our gratitude to Michael and Amber for taking the time to answer questions this evening. We also wanted to remind you that we have lots of donor-supported tools and resources available on student doctor.net to help you with your journey, to becoming a healthcare professional. And we invite you to check them out. In particular, we have a how-to get into physical therapy school item that we can share the link to in the comments for this webinar. So you can see that. And that’s something that we’ll talk about a little bit about the process of getting into physical therapy school and go into a little bit more detail on what Michael and Amber have spoken about. So again, thank you again. Michael and Amber, we really appreciate it and we think everybody who has attended and we hope everyone has a great evening.
Amber: Thank you, guys. I actually just saw one comment pop in. I just saw one comment pop in real quick. John had a comment talking about how the first year is difficult. So what kind of study habits were best? First-year is definitely difficult. I wouldn’t say it’s one of the hardest years just because you are trying to kind of figure out what works for you, at the graduate level. I think the study habit that was worked best for me was really just rewriting my notes. That is a way that I was able to kind of really pull the information into my brain and just kind of solidify that information. But another thing that we’ve kind of had touched on earlier in the live chat is that study with partners. It is way different studying on your own. Then being able to talk to someone about it, being able to act out different gait patterns that you maybe are like, I don’t know what to say is I don’t know what a crouch gate is, and I don’t know what this is. And really having someone there to bounce ideas of is really important because studying on your own is it’s good for some things, but more classes where you have to apply the information, it’s it won’t be any good studying on your own.
Laura Turner: Sorry. I had muted myself. But I thank you very much again, and thanks for picking up that last question. And we appreciate your time. And again, if anyone has any wants to learn more about the process for applying to physical therapy school, we invite you to check out student doctor.net. And again, thank you, Michael and Amber. Thank you. Thank you for having us. Okay. And have a good evening, everyone.
We’ve been on the Internet for over 20 years doing just one thing: providing career information for free or at cost. We do this because we believe that the health education process is too expensive and too competitive. There are a lot of people and organizations that have built their business making money on students that are desperate for any opportunity to become a doctor.
We believe that all students deserve the same access to high quality information. We believe that providing high quality career advice and information ensures that everyone, regardless of income or privilege, has a chance to achieve their dream of being a doctor.
SDN is published by CRG, a nonprofit educational organization.