When exploring my college options, there were a couple of things that I knew… I loved exercise and sports, and felt most drawn to classes in anatomy and physiology. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field, so a health-related major that was grounded in science would provide me with a strong background. And, I knew I wanted to be at Illinois. During a campus visit day, I was introduced to a major that I had never heard of before – Kinesiology in the College of Applied Health Sciences. I was intrigued from the start and, as I explored more, I found it to be a great fit for my interests and goals.
I received great guidance and mentorship from the Kinesiology faculty. For instance, Dr. Rice shared her experiences as both a faculty member and a practicing physical therapist. The insights she shared from personal experience helped me choose my career in physical therapy. Another important part of my Illinois experience was volunteering in activities related to my major. I worked with the Kinesiology student association to organize volunteer events in the local community, and supported events such as the Christie Clinic Marathon where I helped set up water stations and assisted medical staff and runners in need. I also helped facilitate weekly exercise classes at the Clark Lindsey Retirement Home, working with residents to identify their needs and work toward their goals. This provided a valuable experience for my post-graduation plans.
I am now pursuing a Doctorate in Physical Therapy at Bradley University. My experiences shadowing professionals drew me to the physical therapy field. I like the extensive patient contact that physical therapy offers, as compared to some other areas of medicine. Physical therapists can spend an extended period of time with an individual over multiple appointments, getting to know them and helping them work toward their goals. I’m looking forward to my first clinical rotation coming up this summer, where I’ll have my first patient interactions in the role of clinician.
My Illinois experience began long before I stepped on campus as a student. My dad went to Illinois, and my five siblings did as well! I knew I always wanted to be an Illini. But, I also left Illinois with all I was looking for and more. I can confidently say Illinois provided me with all of the resources needed to move forward with my academic career, including great friends, solid curriculum, and devoted faculty.
For students back on campus, the best piece of advice I can give is that finding a balance is key. When you are working hard, remember to also take a break to avoid burnout. Fortunately, at Illinois you don’t need to look far for activities to enjoy.
(Last Updated: March 2019)