I used to look at my application to PT school time and time again after it was already submitted just to ensure it was complete, that nothing was missing and everything was in place. I’d think to myself “I need just one person to see me through my application.” By that I meant to see me, my story, my passion… not just my GPA, my GRE scores, my number of observation hours. I was more than those numbers and I needed just one person to see that and give me a chance.
In January of 2015, the year I started at the University of Miami PT Program, I got an invitation to interview! I was ecstatic that my chance was finally here to let my personality supplement my application that I had worked so hard on. Now looking back at this more than “just one person” saw something in me but in my eyes that person wouldn’t count unless they had the power to get me a seat on that first day of school!
I chose the date Thursday, February 12th to come in for an interview. I had knee surgery that past December and I was cleared to ditch my crutches and extension brace just that week of my interview so I was so excited to not have to worry about lugging my crutches into an interview. I picked out a grey pant suit with a bright orange top and slicked my hair back into a tight bun, attempting to look as professional as possible, with some school spirit too! My family lives about two and a half hours from Miami so I hit the road very early to make it for an interview that morning. When I arrived at the Plumer Building, the home of UMPT, I sat in my car and gave myself a pep talk and applied a 6th or 7th layer of deodorant before making my way up to the 5th floor.
I checked in and received a folder with my name on it. Holding a packet with “the U” printed on it made my stomach flip. IT WAS REAL. I was sitting at the University of Miami waiting to interview for my dream school. At this point I was wishing I went for an 8th or 9th layer of deodorant. I consciously reminded myself not to clench my firsts so my palms wouldn’t be sweaty when I shook the hand of whomever was interviewing me. Before I could panic any more a body approached me. Let’s call him Dr. G for the sake of my story. He introduced himself and lead me to his office where I sat down across from him and tried to hold my composure. Our interview was not at all like I imagined in my head. I thought I would be drilled with questions and struggling to find the right words to answer but instead, conversation just flowed between us. Back and forth stories were exchanged of my experiences and his. This natural conversational style of interview had me feeling so confident, I was really able to portray my passion for physical therapy and for the U!
After my interview, I was taken on a little tour of our building. Since I went on this interview on a Thursday morning, classes were in session and by the time I took my tour it was lunch break and there were students scattered throughout the lobby and classrooms studying and hanging out. Seeing all of them in their element got me even more excited! I started to picture myself there, little did I know Plumer would be my second home three months later.
After leaving University of Miami, I met up with a group of my girls who still lived down in Miami that I went to undergrad with. I spent the whole lunch talking about how much I loved Dr G., how much I thought he loved me, how perfect the program was, how I felt like it was only a matter of time until my acceptance letter came through. In my head, Dr. G was that one person, the first person to believe in me. Don’t get me wrong, he definitely was in my corner and he did believe in me but he for sure wasn’t the first. At that time I felt like I needed to prove myself because nobody believed in me but in reality I was surrounded by people who believed in me, more than I believed in myself. Literally in that moment, I was sitting at a table at BJ’s Brewhouse with a group of girls pulling for me that already knew I was going to make it. Not to mention my family, all of my coworkers, all of my other friends, and ultimately the admissions committee at UM. All of these people mattered and they all played a role but I was too concerned with impressing just those who had the power to make changes in my future. I should have been more focused on the support circle I had because Dr. G wasn’t the first to believe in me, but I let myself think that. Dr. G’s believing in me certainly was unique though, he was the first person with a voice that could help me get into the program. As much as my mom believed in me she couldn’t do that so Dr. G became a crucial piece of my success.
So if you’re out there thinking that you need to make big power moves and impress the people that are already where you want to be… yes, impress them! But don’t forget that you’ve already impressed so many people around you and you may be blind to it. The glory will come and there will be more than one person to be grateful for during your journey there. The role my parents and friends played was equally important to the role Dr. G played in my acceptance. Very different, but equally important. So while you’re waiting for your Dr. G, appreciate the rest of your supporters too… it’s never just one person.