The Day I Almost Did NOT Become a PT

I'm going to share a story with you today about how I almost did not become a PT. I lived in Michigan for about 18 years.  I was in high school; one time every year, at my school, they would bring different professionals like a career day. I was focusing on two different professions which were becoming a lawyer and becoming a physician. My parents had expectations of me becoming a lawyer, engineer, physician, a minister, or something that my family would have seen as respectable. I just never fully felt like that was my calling. In school, we had an event where you had to register for which profession you wanted to listen to before being able to go listen to the professionals talking. But the two I wanted to go to were full. So I chose the next profession which most of my friends registered for and, this was a physical therapist. So I had no idea what a physical therapist was. I didn't know the difference between a PT or a regular therapist. 

I do remember being in mid-conversation with my friends during the presentation and then starting to pay attention to the physical therapist.  She was sharing a lot of what she did as a professional. I was listening and remember thinking that this doesn't sound like a real profession. It didn't sound like a real profession because it sounded almost too good to be true. At that time, I thought I wanted to become a sports physician because that was the closest thing I could come up with. That was the day that I almost did not become a physical therapist, because I wasn't even supposed to be in that room in the first place, or was I?  Was a future physical therapist there by accident?

When you've applied multiple times, been rejected before, struggling with your GPA and you sometimes don't know if this is for you. It's happened to me a lot of times; you ask yourself, "Was this an accident? Was I supposed to have gone a different career path? Was I supposed to have done something else? Am I making a huge mistake and even trying to pursue physical therapy? Should I have a backup plan?" I believe that every single one of you has been blessed with a mission and with a purpose. For many of you, it will be through physical therapy.

I was never again introduced to PT as a profession in that way ever again. Every other time I sought it out was for doing observation hours.  But the truth is I can say now that I'm in the profession I was supposed to be in and none of it was an accident. And for you, it is the same thing. It does not matter how difficult your journey has been so far. It has not been an accident. Believe that your journey as a pre-PT is not an accident.  It's teaching you how to be resilient. Your journey, even though it has been a rough start academically or getting rejected, it was not an accident. You might be in the very middle of your story. But I don't want you to forget your beginning.  You as a pre PT right now every time you're struggling, and you're looking back and saying, "Man, my freshman year I should have stepped it up with my grades." We can't change the past. That was your beginning. You might be in your middle, you might be near the end, you might be close to the beginning. Wherever you are in your journey; understand that your story is not finished until you realize your dream.

My story was not finished at least for being a pre-PT until I became a DPT and it started off feeling like an accident. My message to you today is you being a future physical therapist is not an accident. You are in the position you are in right now where it feels like a painful frustrating and anxiety is building up but it is no accident.  Keep writing your story and keep pushing. You don't know where your journey might lead you or the struggles you might face. When you do become a physical therapist, you don't know what that journey and that story will do for somebody else that's going through the same thing.

Every single one of the students that has graduated from the Accepted System and become a physical therapy student have gone through something like low GPAs and multiple rejections. I can honestly tell you that none of them regret their journey. But the honest truth is, they've looked forward and said, "Who else can I pick up with me? Who else can I carry along with me? Who else can I show my struggles and my journey to PT school accepted so they can also be inspired." So walk into your purpose, don't let go of it and keep fighting. This is the career of your dreams.

- Joses Ngugi PT, DPT

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