Career Path…Confirmed!

Our second entry of the new school year is brought to us by another one of our fabulous new graduate assistants, Dacia Shears. Enjoy!


On very few occasions, students pick a direction of education, head into a career path, and everything else falls into place. I was one of these fortunate people.

Coming from a family where everyone works in health care and being that I was very involved with athletics in high school, I feel like I was bound to end up in some kind of health field. After suffering from a shoulder injury while playing softball in my early teens, I completed a course of Physical Therapy that allowed me to continue playing. As I progressed through my high school education, I decided to pursue a career in Physical therapy. There was never an “ah ha!” moment where something clicked and I experienced an awakening that lead me down this path; it’s just something that I always wanted to do.

As I began applying to colleges, I chose schools that offered athletic training programs.  I thought it would be perfect to get my athletic training certification and then continue my education as a Physical Therapist. After visiting Russell Sage College, I decided it was the perfect place for me. I applied for early decision into the 3+3 DPT program and was accepted; by winter of my senior year I thought I had my life all planned out.

Russell Sage soon dropped their athletic training program and was on longer an accredited school, so I was placed in a new major: Health Sciences. At this point, I did not know what a degree in Health Sciences meant or how it would impact my ultimate career goals so I opted to continue with my plan to work with athletes and rehabilitation following injuries.

Upon completing my first year of graduate school, I was placed in a pediatric rotation about 45 minutes from my apartment. I was less than thrilled. I wanted to work with athletes; I had not yet had any formal pediatric education in my classes and did not want to have to leave my house by 6:00am every morning.  After about 2 weeks of the rotation, I finally had one of those awakening experiences. I loved this job! It was one of those things where you come home everyday smiling, you are exhausted, but you can’t help being excited about what you did at work that day. As the rotation progressed, I found myself enjoying it more and more with each day, and I actually understood the material. I was so sad to leave, I actually cried (yes me – the one who NEVER cries) as I was driving home after my last day.

Those who are unfamiliar with the physical therapy profession may think I knew what I wanted to do with my life from the start, that I chose a major and followed through with it. Those who know pediatric physical therapy and orthopedic physical therapy based on athletics, knows that the two are VERY different, so although I will graduate with the same credentials, the career path is going to be very different.

As my time here on the Russell Sage campus comes to a close, I see myself preparing to work with children with developmental disabilities in a school based setting.  So even though the pathway to my career may have taken an unexpected detour, my ultimate purpose of helping others achieve their goals, remains the same.

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