Thursday, April 26, 2012

Back to School

Physical therapy has been a passion of mine for some time now; since I was in the 11th grade actually.

I went to St. Martin's for my Bachelors of Science degree in Biology, and had plans of going to Physical Therapy school to get my Doctorate.  However, my plans changed slightly, as I wasn't accepted to the program after graduation.

I then put my plans on temporary hold, as Josh and I bought our house.  I also wasn't sure I could commit to three years that the program takes- and be off of work that entire time.  It was a scary thought to give up working!

I then started looking into a physical therapist assistant program, which would only be 2 years, and slightly less intense.  Only a few schools in WA have a program, and most of them are traditional, Monday-Friday, in person programs.  I didn't know how to make that work while still keeping my job that I love.

I finally found Whatcom Community College, and their Physical Therapist Assistant Online-Hybrid program.  The course is designed for students with lives outside of school.  So, the majority of the coursework is online, and there are in-person labs every month over a weekend.  This seemed like the perfect fit for me!

So, I applied for the program starting Spring of 2011.  And didn't get in.  However, this was because the community college I did my associate degree through didn't send my transcripts to Whatcom, even though I had paid for them to be sent.  I was heartbroken, and really unsure if I wanted to apply again.  I felt like I was getting to the point where I either needed to be in school, or move on.  I wanted to get on with my life, and was tired of living in limbo.

Just a few months after I found out I wasn't accepted, we found out we were expecting Lane!  Josh made me promise to apply to school one last time, and if I didn't get accepted this time, we would move on and rearrange.

Fast forward to October of 2011, and our little man was less than a month old when I submitted my school application. I was so nervous about how we would make it all work if I was accepted- the time committment, paying for tuition and books, guilt over less time spent with Lane, etc.  But I promised Josh I would apply, so I did.

In January, I was starting to wonder where my letter was informing me of either my acceptance or rejection.  I finally got the nerve to call, and left a message for the Program Director, Margaret.  A few hours later, Margaret called to tell me that letters had indeed been mailed out, and that she was so happy to inform me I was accepted!  I would be starting school in April!

It was such a relief to know that I would finally be able to start my career.  But, it was also scary!

In between January and April, we figured out student loans, ordered books, and Josh bought my a new computer for my birthday.

And so, ever since April 3rd, I've been working on my first quarter of classes at Whatcom CC for my Physical Therapist Assistant program.  I had my first lab last weekend, and it was so neat to practice hands-on material that we're learning in our books.  The program is 9 quarters long, meaning I'll graduate in June 2014.  It can be a real struggle to prioritize my time and keep up with everything, but we're slowly settling into more of a routine.

I love school!