Hometown: Columbus, GA
Name of Undergraduate Institution: Auburn University
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Exercise Science Major, Psychology Minor
Name of Physical Therapy School: Alabama State University, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program
Favorite Quote: “Failure is the first attempt at learning.” – Unknown
Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I am currently a second-year student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Alabama State University. I come from a healthcare family; my father is an OB/GYN, my sister is a pediatrician, and both my grandmothers were nurses so it was almost as if I was born into it. I knew I wanted to be a healthcare professional so I assumed I should just go the pre-med route and become a physician. I had a conversation with my grandmother one day after she had a double hip replacement and she would tell me all about the physical therapists and how much they helped her to walk again. I had never heard about what physical therapy was until then. I decided from there that I would research the profession and shadow physical therapists, thus finding that I absolutely fell in love with everything about it. It is a versatile field and you can choose many different paths to make an impact on others.
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell her?
When I started undergrad, I thought I absolutely had to know what I wanted to do and what my future was going to be like. I quickly realized that there are so many different career opportunities to look into; don’t limit yourself to being in just one bubble. Get out of your comfort zone and explore while you have the time. You should always work hard and don’t get into slacker habits early in your college career.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar path as yours?
Being a physical therapist is so much more than just helping someone regain functional mobility. You can take many different paths as a PT. I would suggest that before applying to school, that you immerse yourself in the world of PT and fall in love with it! School is demanding and unless you have a passion for it, you will not want to continue to press through. I absolutely love what I’m going to be able to do for someone one day. I will tell you straight up that if you are only doing PT just for the money or pride, don’t waste your time. School is too stressful for that to be your driving force. Your patients’ lives are too important for that to be your driving force. You are essentially the difference between someone being able to function at a level that they can be independent again or not. If you do not like people, absolutely choose a different career! This field is fun but extremely important.
What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to physical therapy schools?
Before starting physical therapy application, make sure you ask a current student or licensed DPT about how the process works because trying to do it alone may be extremely difficult. It is also important to get your observation hours in! Most PT programs require observation hours in different PT settings. To make yourself more competitive, try to shadow in more than one setting and gain lots of hours (around 100+) so start early. Always check the school you are applying to for prerequisites because they are not all the same. Applying to PT school is highly competitive; there are thousands of applicants in the pool and many schools only choose between 20-40 people per year. There are only 23 people in my cohort class. Most PT schools also require you to take the GRE. If test taking is not your forte, enroll in a GRE course and take practice tests so that you can get as high of a score as possible. You want to be over the minimum GRE score for that program because there are institutions that will not even look at your application unless you meet that minimum GRE score. The application is available through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS), which will send the processed application to schools you apply to. Start your app early because confirmation of the application may take up to 4-6 weeks and you do not want to miss the deadline of the school. Make sure to read the instructions on the PTCAS website thoroughly.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love traveling! I currently have been to 10 different countries and many cities in the United States. I enjoy gaining a change in scenery and learning about different cultures. Hanging out with my friends is always a great way to have fun.
What do you feel is the most challenging part of PT school? The easiest part?
The most challenging part of PT school is the amount of information that you have to learn in such a short amount of time. We go to school year-round so if we aren’t going to class, then we have a clinical rotation. The only real break we get is Christmas so you may feel burned out often. The easiest part…I don’t think there could be anything that’s considered easy in professional school, however I would say our labs aren’t very difficult and more on the fun side because you get to finally act like a therapist.
How have you been able to deal with your romantic relationship and PT school at the same time?
I’ve been with my boyfriend for a little over 3 months now but I met him before I started physical therapy school. We were friends for a while before we started dating so he understood how hectic my life would be during school. Our relationship is also long-distance and it does get somewhat difficult but he’s very supportive of my goals and I am of his, so we definitely make it work! He’s honestly just a really great person!
What did you do during the summer before you started PT school?
I definitely went into relaxation mode and worked until it was time for school to begin. I knew that school would be stressful and that may have been the last time I was able to have some decent downtime.
What do you do to get through the stressful nature of PT school?
Whew! Stress sometimes can be an understatement. I try to exercise as often as possible. It’s a known fact that exercise can reduce stress levels. I also like to listen to music and just sit outside on a nice day.
What were some of your involvements in college? Have those involvements helped you in any way in PT school?
I was involved in so many different organizations while at Auburn. Auburn pushed involvement so much that it was almost impossible not be involved in something. My involvements exposed me to different types of people and personalities, which is important because you want to get along with as many people as possible.
Who are some of your favorite musicians? Favorite books? Shows? Movies?
- Favorite Musician: Bruno Mars
- Favorite Show: House, M.D.
- Favorite Movie: The Proposal
Wow this is awesome Megan! Thank you so much for your all of your in-depth answers and for shining light on a program that a good number of people may not have known about! I really appreciate you sharing some very useful advice and for sharing a bit about yourself as well! Best of luck to you as you continue your journey towards your doctorate degree!
Posted on March 6th, 2017