Hometown: Kennesaw, GA
Name of Undergraduate Institution: Georgia State University
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science
Name of Physical Therapy School: Hampton University, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program
I have two:
“Be who you are and say what you feel because people who mind don’t matter, and people who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss
“Well-behaved women seldom make history.” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Contact Info: Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org
Blog: PT Passages
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I am a third-year physical therapy student at Hampton University. I have completed all of my didactic coursework and have two clinicals left until I graduate in May!
Starting college, I was unsure of the career I wanted to pursue. I was formerly a high school athlete and I knew I loved sports so I initially thought I wanted to be an athletic trainer. After speaking with a Physical Therapist at the church I was attending at the time, she sparked my interest in physical therapy. I did my research and fell in love with everything about physical therapy. I had the opportunity to shadow some great PTs in undergrad, which solidified my decision to pursue this career.
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell her?
I would tell myself to keep my grades up and break my procrastination habit early! I honestly still struggle with this horrible habit and my life would less stressful without it. Overall, my college years were wonderful. I may not have chosen the easiest paths at times, but I’m happy with my journey and what I learned along the way.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar path as yours?
Before you apply, make sure this is 100% the career path you want to take. If you do not love physical therapy, you will not make it through the first year of PT school. Begin your research and shadowing in a plethora of settings early! You’ll know if PT is for you after completing those two steps.
When you’re confident PT school is for you, remember to never let fear hold you back. Getting into PT school is extremely competitive and it can be discouraging. Over 800 students applied to Hampton’s DPT program and only 28 were accepted into my class. I remember crying all throughout the application process, because I didn’t believe I would get in. I wasn’t your average “competitive” PT school applicant. I applied with a 3.33 GPA and slightly above average GRE scores. If I can make it this far, so can you.
I provided more specific tips for applying to PT School on my blog.
What is a major challenge you have had to overcome and how did you do so?
Procrastination. Not many people know this, but I almost failed out of PT school my first semester. In Hampton’s DPT program, you have to pass each class with at least an 84% or it is considered failing, and you are only allowed to “fail” a total of 9 credit hours. We were always told the first semester is the “weed out” semester. The class before me had 5 students fail out the first semester and no one wanted that to be them. My poor study habits in undergrad, translated into grad school and it showed. Because of my procrastination early on in the semester, I dug myself into a hole and went into two finals with an 84%.
If I did not do well on those finals, I would have been sent home. From midterms week to finals week I saw Hampton’s campus more than I did my own home. I would go to class, go to my professor’s office hours, and study on campus until my brain was about to explode. On the weekends I would be there until campus security would kick me out. I basically spent first semester playing catch up. By the grace of God, I passed both of those finals with an A and in my third year of PT school I am proud to say I have yet to “Hampton fail” any classes. First semester of PT School was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. I’ll never forget that when I came home for the holidays after that first semester, I slept for 4 days straight. That semester taught me the best study strategy for ME and how I can succeed throughout the rest of my PT school career.
What is your favorite thing about your PT school?
The diversity. When I look at other DPT programs, I usually only see 2-3 people who look like me in the class. At Hampton, our classes are filled with people from all different backgrounds, ages, ethnic/racial groups, sexual orientations, and religious beliefs. I think diversity is important to provide innovative perspectives and to increase cultural competence. Also, representation matters!
Did you take some time off before PT school? If so, what did you do during that time?
I did. I took a year off before applying to PT school. I needed a mental break from undergrad. I also had two pre-requisite classes I still needed to complete before applying. During that time, I worked as a rehab aide and patient services coordinator in an outpatient physical therapy clinic. It was a great experience and I was able to form awesome relationships with physical therapists who wrote my recommendation letters.
Do you have any passions outside of school? If so, what are they?
Traveling! I’m always down for an adventure whether it’s hiking a crazy trail, trying new food, or learning about a different culture. I created my blog to share my love for both travel and physical therapy.
What do you feel is the most challenging part of PT school? The easiest part?
In my opinion, there is nothing easy about PT school. Everything was a challenge. There is so much information that we have to learn and it can be very overwhelming at times. However, I always felt like practicals were easier than written tests. They allotted us the opportunity to think and act like clinicians.
How have you been able to deal with your romantic relationship and PT school at the same time?
My boyfriend is actually in my PT school cohort. We met our first year and we’ve been together ever since. We motivate and help each other when one of us doesn’t understand something (It’s usually more me than him asking for help haha). We even had one of our clinicals at the same location and we would bounce ideas off of each other. It’s been awesome having someone to go through this experience with and I appreciate him more than he’ll ever know!
What do you do to get through the stressful nature of PT school?
My first semester I would always take Fridays for myself. Studying non-stop can become overwhelming so Friday nights would be my mental break. Sometimes I would go out for a much needed drink and other nights I would lie in my bed and literally do nothing. It was a great way to relax, clear my mind, and prepare for the next day.
Awesome! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, advice and experiences with us Amanda! Your words have a lot of weight, especially to those who will begin to view you as a role model after reading this feature! You are very much appreciated! Good luck with your final semester as a DPT student and I wish you much success as you go on to work in your dream job!
Posted on January 17th, 2018