I chose PT after a course that I took my senior year at UGA. I had the opportunity to create a fitness and nutrition plan for a young woman with Cerebral Palsy (CP). Before this course, I had NEVER done anything like this so I was really nervous about messing up or just not even liking it. Once I got my footing, and some good advice from my partner, I started to thoroughly enjoy what I was doing–improving the quality of life and being able to give some health/nutrition advice. I knew that this was what I wanted to pursue in life. Then I found out there was pediatric PT, oh boy! THEN I REALLY KNEW!
What are you doing to occupy your time off?
Initially, I was really worried about taking a gap year (what would my family think, what would my friends think), but then I realized I had to get over what everyone else thought about me and MY plan. One thing that’s been engrained in my head at this point is that everyone’s journey is different. And so when I was able to come to terms with that, I was truly able to start finding myself discovering new things a
bout me, and just life in general.
I spent a lot more time in my Word, because that’s the foundation of all that I do. And I started a blog!!! I’m getting into a lot more community service; then there’s work, leisurely reading, fun activities, and the gym! I’ve also traveled to a few places, and I’ve come to realize that I love to travel (although planes freak me out). It offers such insight and exposure to various cultures, and just the overall greatness of God, I believe. So if you have the opportunity to travel, domestic or international, take advantage of it.
What steps are you taking now to prepare for entering school?
I think most of all having a job right now prepares me for school. I say that because I work a typical 8-5, and I have to really allot my time accordingly, especially if I have a lot of things to do in a day (i.e. gym, reading, fun stuff, and most of all sleep lol). Since I am most interested in Physical Therapy, I’ve started to get a foot in the door with a few certifications in the Nutrition/Health Wellness arena. Also the community service prepares me as well, not necessarily for school alone, but also because that’s the form of impact I hope to have in the future when my career is established.
When it comes to life balance, what do you struggle with? How will you overcome?
My biggest struggle would be discipline and consistency. I can at times be very impulsive, and that can be both a blessing and a curse. The way I see it, the impulsiveness gears me towards what I’m interested in, but that same impulsiveness gears me towards other MORE interesting things, causing me to abandon what I first was working towards.
As trivial as this may seem, my blog has actually been one of the biggest contributors to keeping me on track with those weaknesses. When I first started, I was all systems go! Then after a while, the fire was kind of fizzling out because I let excuses get the better of me. I thought about the effort and time I spent building it up, and would hate for all that to go to waste. I needed a schedule. I knew it would keep me consistent. So every Thursday, I have to have a post by 8pm. That keeps me going and keeps my audience engaged when they see that I’m putting a conscious effort towards producing genuine posts. That thought is what keeps me disciplined. I haven’t mastered the two yet, but I’m most certainly making a more conscious effort to reach them.
What advice to you have for other students in a gap period?
If you don’t remember anything I EVER say, just remember to let go and let God. At so many points in my gap year, I’d have mini breakdowns…but when I realized that a lot of those things were out of my control, why worry about it? I have a God that is begging to take my worries from my shoulders and I’m struggling with trying to carry them myself…as you can see something is wrong there lol. That doesn’t mean give up on life, absolutely not! If anything, that motivated me to be more intentional and steadfast towards my goals and my purpose. One thing I realized was that I had never been very proactive about my goals until this period in my life, and I do believe that’s the reason why it’s in the plan for me. My favorite verse so far has been James 1:1-2:
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
And another thing, just enjoy it! If you’re pursuing a professional career such as medicine, physical therapy, dentistry, pharmacy, etc. it’ll be a very long time before you can get this much free time again. It’s a great refresher, a great way to get back in good habits, and a great way to just discover. So don’t be bummed if that’s the route you have to take, instead, make the most of it, and GROW. Nowhere to go but up!