I honestly didn't know much about Physical Therapy and while I enrolled in those classes I started to look for a job as an Aide at a physical therapy clinic. I was hired by Don Nelson and PRO Physical Therapy, an outpatient orthopedic clinic, in October. I started to learn what orthopedic PT was all about and I fell in love with it. This was something I wanted to do. After a successful first semester (2 "A's") I enrolled in Chemistry in the Winter semester which had me attending class 5 days a week for 6 hours a day. It was awful but with this renewed purpose it made it bearable. Another "A". After one more semester at SMC I transferred to Cal State, Northridge hoping to complete by degree in Kinesiology-Exercise Science in 2 years so I could apply to PT school in the fall of 2009. These two years I was consistently taking 19-24 units per semester, even going as far as attending another junior college at night concurrently in order to take more classes. All this plus working 3 days/week made any type of social life non-existent. Even through all this I made sure I was able to continue backpacking during the summers (see side column for trips).
It was time to apply to PT school and I chose only 1: Cal State Northridge. The reason being was because of out-of-school debt. Private PT schools demand outrageous tuitions of near $45,000/year for three years plus living expenses which would have it amount to over $150,000 in debt when out of school. That was simply out of the question for me. Public school tuition was a mere $2600-$3000/semester, with FAFSA grants covering 80% of it. I still had to take out loans but a fraction of the amount for private schools. My gamble paid off and I got into PT school at CSUN. The hard work was starting to pay off.
After 3 years of PT school and passing my board exams I now work at Kinetic Orthopedic Physical Therapy and my goal is to work with runners in the community. I've already started treating some ultra-runners with some being local "So-Cal Coyotes" but I want runners to think of me first if or when they have an injury. As an ultra-runner myself I think I have a better awareness as to the needs of the runner. I'm going to post another entry to include more details.
I think back on the past 6 years and wonder how fortunate I am that things worked out because of the many avenues where any of this could have fallen by the wayside. I come away with the firm belief that the combination of hard work, focus, and true desire create opportunities for anyone to accomplish their dreams.
I have to especially thank my mother for her support and my father for his guidance. Without his constant encouragement and advice in my ear, the seed that lead to this fruition may have never been planted.