Michael Pettit


Why study ESSS at a liberal arts college?

Having the opportunity to study at a liberal arts college that provides a vast range of courses allowed me to gain knowledge in many areas outside of my biology major and ESSS minor. One of the most critical characteristics that a physical therapist must have is the ability to relate to their patients — to build a relationship with them. The knowledge I gained through CSB/SJU was tremendous in that category. 

What makes the ESSS minor at CSB/SJU unique?   

The most unique aspect to the ESSS minor and the pre-physical therapy program is the ability for students to major in any field they are passionate about while fulfilling the prerequisites they need to continue onto graduate school or their career. In addition, the alum network at CSB/SJU provides excellent mentorship and guidance in following the dream to become a physical therapist or really any career path one wants to pursue.    

What has your experience with the CSB/SJU ESSS faculty been like?  

The ESSS faculty is incredible. I was extremely lucky to have been introduced to Don Fischer and Mary Stenson during my first year. They each provided insight and supervision in my journey to preparing for physical therapy school by suggesting specific classes, providing opportunities for internships and helping with my resume. The ESSS faculty continuously challenges and pushes their students to do their best work.

What has been one of the greatest challenges you have faced?   

One of the greatest challenges that I have faced while working towards my degree at CSB/SJU was making sure that I was on top of everything. Being a biology major, ESSS minor and playing for the SJU football team placed a ton of stress on my life that I had not experienced before. In order to pursue my passion of becoming a physical therapist, I had to create a plan that would allow me to accomplish everything necessary, one week at a time. The encouragement from the ESSS faculty to follow my passion helped me push myself past my limits and become a successful, all-around student.

What advice do you have for students considering minoring in ESSS?  

Dedication and persistence. At some point, it is going to seem like too much work, not enough time or that you are not good enough. Push past these barriers and use the resources that are available to you and you will succeed. The professors at CSB/SJU are there for you and they have dedicated their time to watch you succeed and pursue your career. I have come to realize that anybody has a chance to follow their passions, and with dedication and inspiration from family and faculty alike, it makes the journey even more rewarding.

Did you study abroad? If so, how did that experience influence you?  

I studied abroad in London during the spring semester of my junior year. Since I have returned, I have thought about my experience there almost every day and how it changed my life. Being able to travel to London as well as other European countries opened my eyes to the world outside of school. I gained more self-confidence, flexibility and compassion for the people in my life as well as the people I have yet to meet. I strongly encourage any student at CSB/SJU to study abroad, even if it is a short-term program, you will not regret that experience.

How do you anticipate using your degree after graduation?

I plan to use my degree to pursue graduate school in physical therapy. I have accepted a steady job for the upcoming year and will apply for PT programs in the future. One day I hope to put the knowledge that I gained at CSB/SJU to good use and become an excellent physical therapist.