March 7, 2013
Why study pre-physical therapy at a liberal arts college?
Studying pre-Physical Therapy (pre-PT) at a liberal arts college gives you a diverse look at other fields which help when connecting with patients. Having shadowed over 150 hours with therapists, you realize how diverse patients' lifestyles are. Thus having a wide range of knowledge allows you to continue your education from their wisdom and stories. For example, I took an 1800s East Asian History course and a patient was a history professor who taught me more about how history has affected Asia today. I believe he enjoyed therapy more because of the conversation.
What makes the pre-physical therapy program at CSB/SJU unique?
Coming from California, I applied to many different graduate programs in the West and Midwest. The pre-PT program is unique because of the broad range of class requirements. The west coast had different prerequisites compared to the Midwest but having a broader range of classes gave me the opportunity to apply to these schools. I am very grateful for having this unique program.
What has your experience with the CSB/SJU pre-physical therapy program faculty been like?
Don Fischer is the advisor for pre-PT and he is absolutely wonderful! He has all the contacts, resources, and advice anyone could ever need. He cares and knows you as a person rather than just a student. Being a biology major, my biology courses have been excellent. The faculty is always there to help you understand. All other fields for the pre-PT requirements are just the same way. I haven't had one CSB/SJU faculty member not care about his or her students or want to help. This school has amazing professors!
What has been one of the greatest challenges you have faced?
Deciding to switch to physical therapy (PT) was a great challenge for me. I was a physics major prior to switching to biology and knew that the classes and this lifestyle did not fit my personality, but I wasn't 100-percent sure of the change. It took me another semester to finalize my decision and start on the PT path. My family and neighbors all knew that I should switch my major and I haven't been happier with the change! Do what your heart tells you to do, not society.
What advice do you have for students considering the pre-physical therapy program?
For any profession, go shadow. It's required for PT but even for engineering or accounting, go see what the real job is like. Then shadow again. My first experience shadowing for PT was not my favorite environment but then I shadowed a pediatric physical therapist and absolutely found my passion! Shadowing is key. Next, once you decide on PT or whatever, apply early to graduate school. Most PT schools have rolling admission so get your application in during the summer. It takes time to process and have them reviewed. All of my PT friends and I knew and were committed to programs by mid-November for the next year.
Did you study abroad? If so, how did that experience impact you?
Yes I did! I went to Australia where I also traveled to New Zealand and Indonesia and absolutely loved it. I don't have the words to describe how it impacted me because my whole view on life changed as a result. Going abroad has lots of ups and downs. You learn from each and cherish them all. You gain transferable skills that can only happen from life experiences, not a classroom. Skills that I will use in PT and my daily life. I am a huge advocate for going abroad and learning more about the world!
What are your plans after graduation?
For the next three years, I will be attending the University of Minnesota/Twin Cities working towards my Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Then I hope to become a pediatric physical therapist and travel some more. I would love to go to third world countries and teach PT skills, but who knows what will happen in 3 years. Life is an adventure!