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'Rewarding experience' - My dream of Becoming a Physical Therapist

squinn2885 1 / 1  
May 5, 2012   #1
"Which personal characteristics and motivating factors have led you to pursue the profession of physical therapy?"
Please provide feedback as to effectiveness, grammar, overall feelings of my essay! This is my first time applying.

Medicine and helping people have always been my passion. Even as a young kid I was fascinated by cuts, bruises, and the like. When I was about six years old my mother cut her thumb nearly completely off and I was standing right there demanding to see it. I do not know many kids who would want to see that and I knew early on that I wasn't squeamish about those sorts of things. So naturally, when deciding which career path I wanted to take, I chose a medical based field. I decided to pursue an animal science degree so that I may choose upon graduation whether I'd want to work with people or animals. I decided after I graduated that I really wanted to work one on one with people since I am a people person. That is when I began thinking about physical therapy as a profession.

I was twelve years old when I was first exposed to physical therapy. My grandmother had moved in with us and had undergone invasive neck surgery due to a genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis. After surgery, my grandmother needed to learn how to walk again. She had been participating in weekly physical therapy regimens to regain normal functioning. Physical therapists would come to the house to work on her. I was very fascinated by the therapists and would sit at the end of her bed and watch as they carefully explained each exercise. I watched as grandma performed her routines, encouraging her to do as many reps as she could. After many months of both my father and therapists working with her, she was making laps around the house with her walker. To the disbelief of her doctor and medical staff, we got her walking again! It was an amazing feeling knowing I played a part in her rehabilitation. It was then that I got my first glimpse into what a career in physical therapy might be like.

Several years after grandma passed, my aunt became debilitated by the same disease. First her arms became weak, then her legs. She underwent surgery on her neck and entered rehab shortly after. She had to learn how to feed herself and perform her daily routine. Unfortunately, the disease progressed very rapidly and she could only move her arms and right thumb well. It was heartbreaking seeing her in that condition. I wondered why physical therapy wasn't doing anything for her. I later realized that she couldn't afford the best medical care. My aunt did not have a lot of time left and the use of her hands would have greatly improved her last few years. After seeing my aunt suffer, I knew I wanted to take an active role in helping others like her.

After graduating college, I took an active role in physical therapy by shadowing at an outpatient clinic that treated a wide variety of injuries. I examined a diversity of patients with varying ethnicities and backgrounds. I saw firsthand the challenges in treating patients with complicated diseases as well. For instance, an elderly woman with Alzheimer's disease came in to work on balance and muscle weakness in her legs. She only spoke Spanish and was not very aware of what was going on around her. It was difficult working with the patient as she could not comprehend what we were doing. This experience reaffirmed that a dedication to the field requires working with patients under all different circumstances.

My experiences shadowing have been extremely rewarding, which is confirmation that this is the perfect career for me. I met many patients who told me that I would make a great physical therapist based on my interpersonal skills, outgoing personality, compassion, and knowledge within the medical field. One patient even went so far as to say that if I was going to be at the clinic again, so would she! It is moments like that that make me realize my importance within the field. I am dedicating my life to a career that is fulfilling and I will do whatever it takes to make my dreams come true. It is with this passion for helping people that I am applying for this physical therapy program and I look forward to the opportunity to succeed in attaining my life's goals.
westway50 1 / 8  
May 6, 2012   #2
Im applying this year to physical therapy programs too. This is my second time applying and i realize that a lot of the applicants have very similar essays. Last year my essay was very much like yours. I had a family experience that lead me to pursue physical therapy and then talked about my experience.

What i realize with a lot of with these essays we try to write our life story and it ends up being vague at best. Just like any other essays, you should develop points and focus on those. For the first paragraph, i would change it so it states a few points of why you want to pursue physical therapy. the admissions all know that people have an interest in the medical field and it seems pointless to tell them that you like the medical field and that you are fascinated with the area. What i realized is the hardest part is coming up with these points. Try to think to yourself as to what are the main points you want to get across to the admission office and focus your essay more on those.

So you already have a point of past experience with family members and present experience. these serve as very good "motivating factors". Now i would try to incorporate more "personal characteristics". You mentioned people describing your personality and how you would make a good therapist. You should try to acknowledge those characteristics as part of who you are like a self reflection. Make it known that those things the patients say about you are not just your appearance, but who you are.

Also with each example you gave, try giving your thoughts on it now. You have how you felt then when you were experiencing it. At the end, tie it all up with how you look back at it now and how you see it differently with your new experiences. From what people told me about my essay last year, it is a bit of a one note essay just writing how it felt back then. so for example you have the story of your grandma going to therapy and doing exercises to regain the ability to walk. after that story, try to incorporate how now you understand the different modalities they were using to get her to walk. Like say something about how you now understand that they were trying to give strength to her muscles and working on her proprioceptive abilities.

These are a few things that i can see would improve the essay. Just some things to keep in mid while doing your revisions. The admission office knows that people applying are interested in the medical field because otherwise you wouldn't be trying to specialize in a certain area. Also try to tie in your knowledge that you have now about the field into what you experienced. Good luck with your revisions.
OP squinn2885 1 / 1  
May 13, 2012   #3
Thank you very much for the feedback! I will definitely be revising my essay :)

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