Emily Carstens will graduate in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology, Society, and Environment. She will begin the Program in Physical Therapy at the University of Minnesota in fall 2017.
What led you to the field of Physical Therapy (PT)?
In high school I tore both my right and left ACL while playing soccer. You can probably guess I ended up having a lot of PT throughout that time, as well as during other injuries before and after the surgeries. Once I got to college I knew right away that Physical Therapy is what I wanted to do!
What did you do during college that helped you prepare for your future career?
When applying to graduate school for Physical Therapy, they require you to have a set number of volunteer/observation hours. I took this requirement and tried to volunteer at as many different types of PT clinics as possible. I volunteered at 5 different clinics/hospitals and ended up having a job as a PT aide, which also counted towards my experience. Not only did this help fulfill a requirement, it helped me learn so much more about the profession I wanted to go into.
What kinds of obstacles have you encountered in pursuing your goals, and how did you overcome them?
Throughout the past few years there have been struggles. Between working two jobs, volunteering, and being a full-time student, there were times where I just wanted to give up and pick something that was easier. Every time I got into this mindset I reminded myself of the patients I've met and worked with. I wouldn't be able to work with and help people like them everyday if I didn't push through and work hard now!
What makes your story unique?
I wasn't the perfect 4.0 student. When you tell people you're applying for a Doctor of Physical Therapy program or applying for medical school, everyone assumes you're a straight A student and that you don't do anything besides study. Like every other student, there were classes that I struggled through all semester. Just because I struggled and didn't get an A, doesn't mean that I failed. It's not easy to balance work and school but in the end, we as students need to give ourselves a break and just do our best!
What is your advice to current CLA students interested in health care careers?
Follow your passion and work hard! It may not be fun at the time but it all pays off. Also, consider Biology, Society, and Environment for your major. It's an amazing program that's built for students whose goal is to work in health care!