What made you decide to become a physical therapist?
I knew I wanted to go into the medical field in some way. In 2010, during my undergraduate program, I shadowed a physical therapist five days a week for three months to learn more about what they do. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience during this internship as I was able to witness the strong interaction between many patients and their therapists. I enjoyed seeing the change in patients’ demeanor from when they started physical therapy to when they graduated their PT program. It was very motivating to hear their stories of improvement and I knew I wanted to be a part of that change.
What advice would you give someone who is deciding on a career?
I think there are several things an individual should be doing when deciding on a career. First, make sure you have a good, solid reason “why” you want to do a particular career. This answer should continue to motivate you when things get difficult – you fail a test, you aren’t accepted into a specific university, countless hours of studying, or the grueling process of finding a job. Always remember your “why”. Second, buckle down now to learn and retain the information your professors are giving you to get a good foundation. Third, read every day. It will help you when the time comes to take your standardize tests. Lastly, develop healthy, effective ways to deal with stress. Activities such as working out, listening to music, playing sports, etc will serve you well to combat the stressful times.
What college did you attend?
I attended a local community college where I earned my Associate Degree in natural sciences and mathematics. I then transferred to California State University Chico where I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in exercise physiology in 2016. During this time, I worked two jobs, one in a restaurant and one as a physical therapist aide, as well as volunteered at local hospitals and clinics to get more experience in the field. This was what my life consisted of for 4 years as a hopeful physical therapy student.
I am currently in the doctorate program at the University of St. Augustine for health sciences in San Marcos, California and I will officially graduate in December 2020 after a little less than 3 years. The road to becoming a student of physical therapy is different for everyone. For myself, it was a long road.
Was it difficult to get into PT school?
Every physical therapy school has different prerequisites; however, in order to be competitive, you must have a strong grade point average, experience in a clinical setting, and a competitive score on the graduate record examination (GRE). My goal was to attend any PT school in California to be close to my family. This meant I had to take numerous prerequisite courses to fulfill the schools’ requirements I was applying to, as well as finish off by taking the GRE. In the end, I applied to 4 physical therapy schools in 2017. Two of which I had gotten accepted to and by what seemed to be a miracle, one of my best friends had gotten into the exact same program, which is a very rare scenario. My advice to anyone applying to PT school would be to focus on your GRE score, GPA, and brush up on your interview skills.
What was your daily life like during PT school?
The Doctorate of Physical Therapy program at University of St. Augustine takes nearly 3 years to complete. It consists of six classes at a time with four days a week on campus and an additional day each week online. We go through the program with the same group of students which is very beneficial to be able to help each other along the way. We currently have 60 students in our program. We had in-class instructions for the first four terms and then started working with patients during the fifth term. I’m currently at the end of my student physical therapist career, which means I’m on clinical internship. There is a total of 3 clinical internships and I’m currently on my second at Rocklin Physical Therapy. My last internship is in Santa Rosa, California which I will be beginning in September up until graduation. The final step as a student physical therapist after graduation is passing the state board exam. Once completed, my dream will finally come true. The road getting here was a long one, but worth every second.