Other than “Did you have to go to school for this?” the most common question I am asked is “why did I want to become a physical therapist?” I really wish I had a perfect response for this because I don’t have some of the usual reasons that PTs have, such as:
“Oh PT helped me when I was injured in the past”
“Someone in my family was injured and PT was very helpful”
“I just love helping people” (people who say this in high school are liars)
When I was a senior in high school (which is when I deciced to pursue physical therapy), I had not been seriously injured or had a family member who was injured. Of course I liked to help people, but this was hardly at the forefront of my mind as a teenager. Instead, this was the thought process that went through my head:
What am I good at? Science and math
Maybe I could be a doctor, but do I want to go to medical school? No
What else requires science and math skills? Psych, physics, physical therapy, athletic training
Which one can you actually get a job doing? Physical therapy and athletic training
Maybe I’ll be able to just work with athletes (Ah, I was so young and so naive)
Whoa, look you can get a doctorate doing physical therapy. Everyone will respect me with that!! (see first quote above to see if this has been realized)
So I applied to college, and after being accepted into a few PT programs, and settling on one that allowed for 6 years instead of 7 years, I began the trek to discover what this physical therapy thing was all about. This included three years of prerequisite courses, before even starting a PT course
Finally after spending time in classes and in actual clinics, I liked what I saw and realized I made the right choice. I discovered that I really do like helping people. However, there are still several selfish reasons I am glad I chose physical therapy.
- It allows me to stay on my feet and out of a chair, and with all this new research showing that sitting is like smoking 30 packs of cigarettes a day, I feel like I struck gold.
- I also love the challenge of it, it is certainly not a mindless job, every day is unique in some what. Plus it utilizes those skills that I am strongest at (science/math)
- Every once in awhile, I get to work with an athlete. Or at the very least try to help someone become more athletic.
So anyway, I am still trying to figure out why I decided to become a physical therapist. Maybe I never really will understand the reason, but I am very glad that I did.