Blog By Cody Chapman
All throughout my undergraduate years, I was heavily involved in activities on and around campus. Being a part of the university to me meant being more than just a student. I wanted to contribute to the growth and success of the university, other students, and to myself. Being an active member of the campus community allowed me to do that. During my freshman year I quickly got involved in a range of student clubs and organizations such as Campus Activities Board, Pre-Physical Therapy Club, and I helped create the Soccer Club. Student life took up a large portion of my time and I was happy to do it. When I got into the Doctorate of Physical Therapy program, I was concerned that between the large amounts of studying that needed to be done and schedules that made it difficult to be around for events on campus, I wouldn’t be able to participate in extra-curriculars anymore. Fortunately, I was wrong.
My opportunities to be involved on campus and around the community had just changed, rather than disappearing. Where in my undergrad I was planning events for students, playing soccer, and organizing grad program visits, I’m now doing things that are far more relevant and beneficial to my future career. There are Special Interest Groups (SIGs) for the different specialties within physical therapy, student Michigan Physical Therapy Association (MPTA) memberships and board positions, student-run pro-bono clinics to volunteer at, and still fun event planning with the Doctorate of Physical Therapy Student Association. Through these organizations I have the ability to stay an active member of my university and progress my skills and knowledge within my own field. Leadership opportunities abound and help to set you up for real-life managerial tasks. I also get to affect my community more directly by utilizing the skills I’ve learned in class to help treat underserved populations. The MPTA provides an avenue for me to make change to the profession before I’m even a professional by getting students involved in advocacy of the profession and speaking to lawmakers to make positive changes in legislation involving physical therapy and medical insurance. I truly feel like the activities I get to be involved in are shaping me into being a better professional.
So while I may not be as generally active on campus, I’m still able to stay engaged in the community and able to be very involved in the more specific community of physical therapy. Essentially, the student organizations I was in during my undergraduate years helped to prepare me for making the most out of my graduate experience. I don’t have to sacrifice the fun times for a doctoral degree, instead I get to mesh them together to promote my future occupation while bettering myself and the community.