There are many health professions that “help” others, please go beyond experience with physical therapy, and share the deeper story that has confirmed your decision to specifically pursue physical therapy.This my personal statement fo applying to physical therapy school. I like what I wrote but I need more cohesion between my paragraphs and sentence structure. I would also like to expound on what I am writing, more length, and emotional depth. I believe the original essay here will suffice as my thematic story. thank you.
Michael Clarke’s Personal Statement
As early as adolescents my interests grew for sporting activities and host of recreational activities. Over time I advanced from pee-wee league games to intramural sports such as basketball, football, lacrosse, track and field and swimming to name a few. More than my interest in learning the skill of the game, was my fascination with building endurance, increasing strength and improving my mental acumen and body aesthetics. I added weightlifting, kickboxing, Tai Kwan Do, Tae Bo, Jiu-Jitsu and yoga to my smorgasbord of activities. Upon entering high school, I was involved in recreational sports that gave me the comradery socialization of my peers and the athletic competitive fortitude to better than I was last time.
Coupling skill and strength training with mind and body exercises transformed my physical body and heightened my mental acuity. I learned that exercise is not just a physical battle, it was also mental battle to start your exercising, to stick with your exercise and the mental aspect of having a health and fitness journey is vital. This welcomed change reinforced my desires to better understand the anatomy and physiology of the body. I’ve always had a healthy curiosity about my body “machine” and how best to increase performance, movement training or exercises that envelop multiple planes of motion simultaneously better enhancing my functional training. Being so heavily involved in physical activity as a teenager, I wanted to learn more about the mechanics of the body’s joints, bones, ligaments, tendons, muscle fibers as well as how the body as a self-regulating system could repair itself when injured. I knew I would love to work in a specialty field that involved wellness and overall healthcare that incorporated movement of the body to feel better.
When I entered college at Old Dominion University as an undergraduate, I had two passions, and two tracks of study – one in English taking courses in professional and creative writing, and, the other course of study was anatomy, exercise science and kinesiology towards a possible BS degree. I had dual loves to become a professional writer or a physical therapist. I, like many college students, was young, impressionable and seduced by an array of interests. Even though I wanted kinesiology, the science path was a real challenge for me at that time. So, I opted for the Bachelor of Arts, but vowing not to give up my personal interests in fitness and wellness.
All of the proverbs that advised people to take jobs aligned with their passion, so they never felt like they are never working a day in their life are true. In the five years since I graduated from college, all my jobs have been in the fitness, wellness or physiotherapy arenas—and I love it. I have worked at youth development centers responsible for the fitness and wellness programs, and, an infant and child fitness gymnastics program with an emphasis on experiential learning and physical and cognitive development. For 4 years, I worked as a rehabilitation technician at the HSC Pediatric Center in Washington, DC, an acute rehab facility which serves children who have suffered from traumatic brain injuries, developmental or cognitive delays, physical hindrances and limitations. Some of the children were afflicted with dastardly diagnosis that purloined their innocence. Jack, a longtime kido at HSC who had an array of physical and cognitive hinderances always lied crooked in his crib from hyperkyphotic curvature of his upper back. He was a favorite of mine to play with and entertain as he demanded attention making vociferous noises and occasionally untraching himself so his ventilator would siren as nurses and respiratory therapist come to his aid and he smile at the power he wields. I would stand over his crib as the oxygen tank hummed in the background as we held hands. Every day, for about one year, I would just hold his fragile little hand while he was in bed, he fell asleep for a nap. In the midst of the chaos of his illness, he found refuge in my touch.
When accompanied by a therapist. I was helping children regain their simplest motor functions, adjust to cognitive deficits, engage in weight bearing exercises, utilize gate trainers or navigate with power mobility chairs. I assisted a cadre of extraordinary physical, occupational, speech, and audiology therapists who provided therapeutic services and rehabilitative programs to help these young children better manage and improve their quality of life for themselves and families.
At the age of 28 I was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus where I was at the height of a “flare up” of the disease that caused me immense physical pain leaving me paralyzed from chronic inflammation of connective tissue through my entire body. It hurt to move, it hurt to be still, it hurt to breathe, and it hurt to be alone in a hospital bed for eight days. I shared a hospital room with an array of patients that cycled in and out battling their own internal struggles with illness and isolation. A majority of the patients where elderly men and women who were for the most part bed ridden and confined to a supine position staring at television monitor flipping through a loop of endless channels. Patients that were sharing the room with me were prescribed physical or occupational therapy from their medical team who express the importance of movement, blood circulation, and decreasing muscle atrophy. Patients received therapy that utilized numerous modalities and exercises to prevent injury and facilitate physical rehabilitation, similar to a physical therapy clinic. The patients were meet with compassion, patience, and sedulous from the therapist, facilitating them and guiding them to be better off than they were yesterday.
During my hospital stay I was enthralled with watching others’ growth and I rejoiced in their happiness as they progressed in their health and goals. It took almost a year of emergency room visits and consultations with specialist to finally determine what had plagued my health problems in a physically active 28-year-old vegan. I’m now thankfully in remission with the loving support of family, friends and an incredible team of doctors I am now thriving. I now know that I can manage this disease and lead the almost exact same life as I was looking forward to before lupus.
I decided to leave HSC a few months later because I thought I learned all that I could at my position and wanted to be more of an integral role in facilitating patients and clients. I enrolled in massage therapy school after doing some research and realized massage therapy is the most natural and obvious healing method in the world: the laying on of hands. At the same time, it seems foreign and exotic. We live in a touch-deprived culture, after all. Compared to a visit to your doctor, an appointment with your massage therapist is long and personal. I have been a licensed massage therapist working in D.C. for three years working at a premier fitness facility as well as managing my own home massage practice. I absolutely love it, and I love it because it works, because it moves me and my clients. When I get a good massage, I am a changed man, I get off the table and float on a cloud for days like a euphoric headache. It wakes me up focused clarity and at the same time I sleep better seamlessly.
A year ago, a middle-aged woman came into the gym, she was a sensible and practical mother of a military son deployed with her burdens but stoic, even cheerful. I noticed immediately that her arms hung at her sides like dead weights and her handshake was weak and cold. She told me “I can’t use my arms anymore, and the doctors don’t know what to do with me.” I escorted her to the room while taking an inventory of preferences of massage pressure and concentrations of her liking. A sixty-minute massage with the pleasant fragrance of lavender diffusing in the air to promote calmness and wellness. She took big breathes during the massage and with a few sniffles which is not uncommon because of sinus congestion being faced down. I concluded by gently oscillating my fingertips around her temples then wrapping a warm cloth around her neck and shoulders before stepping out. Ten minutes passed, then fifteen, and then twenty fleeted away, I thought she might have fallen asleep, but I heard whimpering. I knocked and open the door and my client was uncontrollably crying dressed on the table. Surprised and embarrassed she turned her head away from my gaze so that she would not see. She explained that her husband of forty-three years had passed away and said “this is the first time I have been touched since the funeral. It took everything in me not to cry in front of her. The pain of her loss had penetrated itself in my mind and gave me awareness that precise therapeutic touch is one of the greatest healing tools we have in this physical world we inhabit.
It is my work experience in the last 5 years along with my ever-growing passion for massage and physiotherapy that has reignited my desire to become a physical therapist. I want to be involved in helping people improve their quality of life using rehabilitative services to promote improved mobility, remedy impairments, regain strength and flexibility and exude a positive spirit. I like being on the “dream team” helping people overcome physical challenges and focus on future achievements. Working at a transitional hospital has given me a vast array of knowledge, an introduction to the terminology, experience with setting rehabilitation goals, and numerous opportunities to witness positive patient outcomes.
I know now I am destined to be a physical therapist. I am drawn to this profession because it allows me to solve problems and be a part of affecting change in one’s life in a personal and profound way. I want to help patients achieve things that seem unlikely or even impossible in the wake of their injury. This is more than a career choice, it is a calling, and your academic program will prepare me to answer that call. I am a dedicated and committed student who is determined and motivated to succeed as I have in all of my pre-qualifying courses over the past 3 years. I will continue to excel in your program and integrate all of my personal, academic and professional experiences. I will rely on family to champion me and friends and peers to encourage and support me. I will fully engage with the community of professors and fellow students to reinforce my learning and share my knowledge. All of my journeys and the roads traveled have led me to this point in applying to the DPT program. I am truly excited to be embarking on this new journey towards living my purpose-filled life.
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