From PT Aide to PT Student
I can't believe I only have three days of work left. I have been thinking a lot about the transition from PT aide to PT student, and two changes are really sticking out in my mind. First, I am leaving the working world with an income to become a student with many loans. Second, rather than getting to interact with people and patients all day long, I am going to be back in a classroom. I know that class time is obviously fundamental, but I'm really going to miss the interactions and excitement of being in a physical therapy clinic every day.
Even though it was the long way around, I'm glad I worked for a few years before starting school. To be honest, I would recommend it. The experience I've had at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital has been invaluable. My job not only verified that I wanted to pursue a career in physical therapy, but so much more. For the application process, I had more observation hours than I could record, as well as letters of recommendation from people who knew me very well. Knowing the therapists who were verifying my hours and writing my recommendations also made the process much more comfortable. I watched so many students come in to gain "observation hours," and the exchange was always awkward. They were getting recommendations from therapists who barely knew them, and only spent a few hours in the clinic. I know myself, and I would have been terrible in that sort of environment. So although it took me much longer than most, I'm thankful for my experience.
I also met some amazing patients, therapists and people in general. For two years, I got to watch patients with spinal cord injury progress through their therapy, and see the widespread impact that a physical therapist can have on their lives. These are the lessons I'm going to take away. I have learned so much and made so many connections. It is an experience that I will carry through PT school and hope to make the most of when I graduate.