Physical Therapy Chose Me

“So, do it. Decide. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? Kinder? More compassionate? Decide. Breathe in. Breathe out and decide.” –Meredith Grey

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Growing up in a household where I was expected to follow my mother’s footsteps and become a nurse or follow my father’s dreams to become a professional athlete, I had other plans in mind. At 7 years old, I dreamt of becoming a world-renowned wedding planner—building an empire based on the stereotypical fantasies of a little girl. My hopes were completely stifled as my parents told me there’s no future for me in that industry. I figured that my parents were looking out for my best interest, so, I decided to explore other options. I was only 7 years old anyway, what did I know?

2ND grade began and I was “volun-told” by the soccer coach, who happened to also be my father, I was on a soccer team that I never tried out for. He pushed me hard to train and become a well-rounded athlete and as the years went by, I ended up falling in love with sports. However, in December of 2012, I sprained my lateral collateral ligament and had to step back and focus on rehabilitating my knee. I saw an athletic trainer religiously and was able to learn about different movements and exercises to best strengthen areas of my body to prevent future injuries. Without much thought or research, I was convinced that I was meant to be an athletic trainer. After all, if I couldn’t become a professional athlete at least I would be able to help others obtain that goal by teaching them how to properly train their bodies.

Once I reached my junior year of high school, everyone had their career goals and plans of action sorted out. I, on the other hand, was only just starting to talk to the school counselor about the career outlook of an athletic trainer and was quite disappointed by these conversations. “Do you think you’ll be working for the NBA, MLS, or any other major league?”, was the question I received that made me question if I was competent enough to achieve that dream. I felt drawn to the healthcare field because it is an industry whose main focus is putting others first, however, I did not know where I belonged. Many of my friends volunteered at hospitals and felt called to become surgeons. But me? A surgeon? I knew nothing of the field, except for the fact that it was highly regarded. After conversing with different teachers and thoroughly watching every single episode of Grey’s Anatomy to properly research this field, I decided to become an Orthopedic Surgeon.

I began college in the Fall of 2014 as a pre-med major and was a semester away from obtaining my Bachelor’s in Biomedical Sciences in order to prepare my applications for medical school. I was less than 6 months away from my desire to become a well-respected individual. That same year I met one of the most supportive and influential people in my life right now, my husband. “Where do you want to be in 10 years?”, “What mark do you want to make on the world?”, and “Who do you want to become?” These questions made me think introspectively and decide on the life I wanted to live. For the first time in my life, I stopped trying to become someone who others saw as significant and decided to look for a career where I could problem solve, work with my hands to help people improve functionality, be an advocate for others, and, honestly, share great experiences with patients. I met and spoke with a physical therapist whom specialized in autism studies, a field previously unknown to me. I learned that the field of physical therapy has a wide range of specialties, each as interesting as the next. In December of 2019, I graduated from Florida International University with my B.S. in Recreational Therapy and decided to continue my education and interest in rehabilitation by pursuing a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. My journey to pursuing a life-long career in physical therapy began because of an injury that piqued my curiosity and fueled my love for the human body. This is the life I want to live. I want to be physically and mentally stronger, confident in my capabilities to cause positive change, and I want to live my life to the fullest. I want this for the people I will connect with and positively challenge their mind and body when they’re at their most vulnerable point. I’ve decided. Breathed in. Breathed out. Physical therapy is the healthcare profession for me.

Published by bernicemrtnz

I'm a pre-physical therapy student applying in the 2020-2021 PTCAS cycle. I'm here to share my experiences, pass on advice, and motivate other students that are also interested in the field of Physical Therapy. I also can't wait to share with you snippets of my lifestyle outside of academics. Don't be a stranger, hope we can connect on some level!

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