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Thomas Mork, SPT shares how attending the NSC impacted his overall view of his profession.

How National Student Conclave changed my life

I know what you’re thinking – “Tom, that’s preposterous, how could a national conference change your life?”

Thank you for asking; that is a great question, and it’s one I intend to answer over the next 537 words. The truth is what you get out of a national conference like NSC depends on what you put into it and your readiness for change. At NSC, I was inspired by the energy and enthusiasm shown by students across the nation who loved their profession just like me.

I can honestly say that I would not have the same passion for our profession nor the same understanding of the national physical therapy movement if I had not attended National Student Conclave.

I grew up in Minnesota. I went to a small high school in a small town, attended a small private college, and pretty much lived in a small bubble most of my life (albeit, a very cold one from November until March). I entered physical therapy school at the Mayo Clinic in 2013, still encased within my Minnesotan cocoon. I knew next to nothing about the APTA. At the time, all I wanted to be was a physical therapist.

I slowly became involved in our profession throughout my first year. I became a part of a national project committee where I met PT students from other states for the first time. My involvement allowed for a brief glimpse into the national physical therapy scene, but I still did not understand the purpose or point.

It was not until I attended National Student Conclave last year that our physical therapy movement became a reality.

At NSC 2014, everyone paralleled my desire to be a physical therapist. They shared my passion for helping others, my nerdiness for anatomy, and my professional aspirations.

There was another feeling at NSC, though, which I did not expect. That was comradery. These students, peers, future colleagues, and future leaders of our profession became a family at this national conference. I developed friendships with students and therapists across the nation; I still talk to them today.
 They showed me that there was more to being a physical therapist than just the job description. Becoming a part of the PT family means bonding together in pursuit of a lofty goal: to create positive change for our patients and our society. That was the most important lesson National Student Conclave instilled in me.

In less than one month, the students of our profession will have the opportunity to bond together once again in Omaha. I could write for days about the things National Student Conclave 2015 has to offer: the educational sessions, resume reviews with real employers, keynote speaker Stephania Bell, the NSC clothing drive, etc.

However, the most beneficial aspect of national conferences like NSC is unifying our professional organization under one roof to take a stand for change. Our teamwork and communication are essential to keep physical therapy moving forward and upward.

National student conclave taught me that just being a physical therapist is not enough. It taught me that being a PT means being a part of something larger than you. We need to work as a family to stick up for each other, strive for change, and pursue best practice for our patients. We have to become a profession where every voice is heard and everyone works together. Together, we can achieve these goals. It begins here. It begins with NSC 2015.

Thomas Mork SPT

About Thomas Mork

Currently a 3rd year DPT student at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and APTA Student Assembly Vice-President. Enjoys rock climbing, soccer, and wrestling.

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