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Striving to Be a DPT

A Series of Beginnings

Published May 19, 2014 12:45 PM by Jocelyn Wallace

My journey to PT school has been a series of beginnings. Each new school, new job and new semester was a source of excitement and revitalization that quickly fizzled out. No career idea could hold my interest for long; however, I wound up with a BS in environmental science and policy and the sense that the only real constant in my academic life was a desire to learn and do as many new things as I could.

When I graduated in 2011, I started working as a paralegal in a healthcare-related field. I was interested in law school but, once again, my interest was soon depleted. Not to mention the sedentary lifestyle and lack of sunlight were rapidly zombifying me. I knew I had to find something else.

At work, I spent most of my days reading and summarizing the medical records of people who had been hurt in car accidents. More often than not, I was lost in reading people's stories instead of actually working. In particular, the physical therapy narratives radiated with empathy and engagement. I was naturally drawn to the idea of helping people without the use of unnecessary surgery or extensive medications and looked into the profession. After beginning observation hours, my decision was made.

I started PT school applications in the summer of 2013. All the choices, different requirements and using PTCAS quickly became overwhelming. Should I go out of state? Was cost most important? What about hospital affiliations? I had no idea what to do! But eventually I applied to four schools in Florida and decided on Nova Southeastern University (NSU) because it was the most financially responsible, as I can live with family nearby. NSU also has significantly more weeks of clinical compared to the other programs, great facilities, a diverse curriculum and a strong reputation in South Florida.

In the end, I chose physical therapy because it's a profession with endless opportunities for learning, changing your perspectives and creating new beginnings, for yourself and for your patients. I'm looking forward to the next three years and hope that I'll complete PT school and enter the profession as a prepared, open-minded clinician with room for many more beginnings.

I can't wait to share my struggles, successes and anxious all-nighters and am looking forward to any advice, support and feedback you can offer. Thank you for reading!

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Dean & Jason,

Thank you all for the welcoming words.


That is so good to hear! I have yet to meet a PT who is dissatisfied with their career choice. I will keep everything you said in mind when I get stressed or frustrated.

Jocelyn Wallace May 22, 2014 10:41 AM

Greetings Jocelyn,

You have chosen to join one of the most personally rewarding professions. I graduated in 1999 from FIU and thank my lucky stars for providing me with the priviledge of being a PT.

Words of guidance: "struggles, successes and anxious all nighters". Concentrate on the journey of your schooling.  It does not have to be a struggle or an anxious filled time. Instead, concentrate on absorbing the material in a comprehensive way.  Yes, it is a lot of material and you WILL have all nighters :) but it is all sooooooooo fascinating and engaging that it captures your attention! All of it! Even Neuro! So just buckel up for lots of learning, group study, note taking, lecture recording and transcribing and all the nerdy, smarty, tools you have that got you to the place of priviledge that you are today.  I wish you a wonderful journey into your new career and you are welcome to reach out this way if you need any "pick me upper" words. Cheers!

lisa vasquez May 22, 2014 10:23 AM
Ft. Lauderdale


Jason Marketti May 21, 2014 9:03 PM

Welcome aboard from another NSU graduate, albeit MPH not DPT. Looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

Dean Metz May 20, 2014 2:27 PM

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