3 Days in the Residency Helped Calm My Fears of Going Back to School

An outline of what to expect, meeting my classmates and getting familiar with technology again.

By David Charland, August 2015

My initial impression when I applied to the Transitional Doctoral Program for Physical Therapy (tDPT) at Utica College was fear and apprehension. The three-day residency course calmed my feelings and confirmed the importance of advancing my knowledge through the doctoral program. The three days were filled with information that was overwhelming yet applicable, providing ideas and concepts only to be appreciated in future classes.

Day 1 — On this day, the commitment required to meet the scheduling demands in order to achieve success and graduate was clearly outlined. We learned that each class is driven by weekly assignments, readings and occasional papers. Every Friday you receive an assignment that is due the following Tuesday, with follow up responses on Wednesday and Thursday.

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Day 2 — The second day consisted of presentations, and was more about getting to know my classmates—which put me more at ease. I also had an opportunity discuss the process of the program in greater depth with several staff members, and found them to be encouraging and supportive, with realistic and practical answers. They stressed the need to find life balance and to maintain a healthy lifestyle, in order to ensure that school does not consume every moment.

Day 3 — On the third day, we discussed the computer system, connections, and databases—as well as identified ways to investigate research. We also spent time navigating the school website to get comfortable with where things were located. I also was introduced to a newer version of Microsoft Office, which created an additional learning curve. Computer technology is not an area of strength for me, so it definitely felt like information overload at first. I probably only took in half of the information that I needed to because everything was so new.

While I still felt apprehensive with respect to course work demands and my ability to succeed, I can honestly say that after three days of residency I felt prepared. I knew that returning to school was going to be challenging, however; choosing to pursue my tDPT degree and knowing what is needed to remain competitive with those that are on the forefront of APTA was necessary. I knew that completing this program would bring me closer to where I wanted to be.

About the Author

David Charland has been working in the physical therapy field for over 25 years with a background in athletic training, nutrition, massage therapy, neural tension and manual therapy. He currently works for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Florida and performs physical therapy over clinical video technology, as well as in person, which allows him to utilize his communication and teaching skills in a variety of ways. He is married and has a golden doodle (dog) that fills his heart with joy.