Hometown: Staten Island, New York
Name of Undergraduate Institution: York University
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Athletic Training and Kinesiology
Name of PT School: Stony Brook University
Favorite Quote: “Know your worth and add tax to it.”
Contact Info: Tobiowotomo@gmail.com
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I’m currently in my second year as a Doctor of Physical Therapy student. Deciding to become a PT was really an accumulative result of my entire life. My parents got me into sports at an extremely early age. By 3 years old I started gymnastics and continued in the sports all the way till high school. Throughout my youth I participated in organized soccer, basketball, figure skating, dance, track and field, flag football, and I probably dabbled in nearly any other sport you could think of. Once I got into high school, I became a cheerleader, a wrestler and most significantly a rugby player. Rugby was the sport that seemed to combine all the skills that I had picked up in all the other sports I played. Rugby not only got me a scholarship for my university studies but it gave me the opportunity to play on the international stage for Canada.
One thing that every sport I played had in common though, was of course injuries. Luckily I was blessed not to have experienced too many myself but seeing my teammates and friends get injured used to break my heart. Seeing how it would affect them physically, mentally and emotionally used to make me feel so helpless. Funny enough I used to realize that for whatever reason a number of my teammates would come to me for help if we didn’t have an athletic trainer with us. I even noticed in high school when I used to work with the basketball programs at my local YMCA; a number of the basketball players would come to me if they would get injured while playing as if I had any clue as to what to do for them. When I would ask people why they would come to me, most people would just say it’s because I always just know how to comfort them… even if I can’t actually help them with their injury. I remember sitting on my couch one day in my family home when I was telling my mom about all of this when she said…. “why don’t you look into becoming a physical therapist?”. I looked at her with a shocked expression because I always knew I was good at biology, I always knew I loved sports and I knew I loved meeting people, interacting with people and someway somehow leaving them with a smile on their face. And what better way to incorporate all of those things I loved along with my God given gift of comforting people than to become a PT. I immediately started to research all I that could about it and in a few months I knew I wanted to study to become a dual Athletic Trainer and Physical Therapist and just like that …. here I am today as a certified athletic trainer and a student physical therapist.
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell her?
If I could go back to my college days. I would tell myself to stop and smell the roses. I used to work myself to the ground on a daily basis to reach my goals in sports and academically. After my freshmen year I almost forgot how to actually enjoy myself. Stop and smell the roses because although my goals were important, I wish that I would’ve taken more time out to enjoy that phase in my life and allowed myself to make more beautiful college memories.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar path as yours?
Do a boat load of research about the application process (starting early is a must), figure out what the prerequisites are for the PT programs you want to apply to as early as when you realize that you’re interested in PT and gather as much practical experience interning and shadowing as you can so that you can really figure out if this is the career for you along with figuring out what your niche is within the field. Most importantly remember that you’re amazing in your own way. Not every school will appreciate how great you are and that’s perfectly fine because it’s important to remember that your self-worth is not connected to any acceptance or rejection. Put in all the work but always keep it in the front of your mind that you’re special in your own way and what is meant to be will be.
What do you do to get through the stressful nature of PT school?
I continuously surround myself with the things that I enjoy most in life. I travel whenever I get a chance, I explore my city, I hang out with my loved ones, I stay prayed up and I hold onto my faith and the word of God as tight as I possibly can.
What is it like attending school in your city?
My school is in New York and my apartment that I commute from is in NYC. There is always so much to do, explore and eat. It’s a city that truly never sleeps! It gives me so much energy and I love it because it’s literally impossible to be bored.
What were some of your involvements in college? Have those involvements helped you in any way in PT school?
I studied athletic training for my undergraduate degree. This was the biggest advantage that I could’ve given myself going into PT school. Athletic training and PT are so closely related. With what I learned academically mixed with the thousands of on-field hours and clinical work experience I had fresh out of university, it was the perfect storm to allow me to really be familiar with a whole lot of what I learn in PT school.
Who are some of your favorite musicians? Favorite books? Shows? Movies?
I’m a massive Alicia Keys fan! 90s and early 2000s R&B is undefeated in my opinion. On TV I’m always watching my sports debate shows. My favorites are First Take and The Get Up on ESPN and Undisputed with Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless.
Amazing story and advice! Thank you for sharing it all with us Tobi, we really appreciate it! Your passion for sports and the healing that comes with it truly shows in your answers. We are sure that your words will help inspire others reading this to look into the field of physical therapy. Best of luck to you as you continue your studies and ultimately transition into your dream career!
Posted on June 7th, 2021