Carrie Yap-Class of 2011

"I encourage students who want to pursue a career in physical therapy to strive to do well in their undergraduate classes and to use school resources such as the Career Development Center to help get ahead."

Profile of Advantage Scholar

First Steps  

   I completed my undergraduate degree in Exercise Science and chose this area of study because of my interest in how the human body moves and functions at a global level. I have always enjoyed being physically active and wondered why my body would “hurt so good” after a workout or playing sports. Another reason I chose the major is because it tied in well with my overall career goal of becoming a physical therapist (PT). As a “typical” PT student prospect, I have had previous injuries that led me to attend therapy sessions and through this, I learned what PT’s do, which is to help patients achieve their functional and activity goals. After doing some observation, I discovered there is much more to this profession than what meets the eye. There are multiple settings PTs work in such as outpatient orthopedics, schools, cardiopulmonary, oncology, and burn centers, and nursing homes. As a student in Pacific’s PT program, a lot of material was covered through my undergrad courses in Advanced Human Anatomy and Exercise Physiology and have helped me succeed in my classes.

Finding a Pathway

   Overall, I was inspired to pursue this career by the PTs who treated my shoulder and back injuries. I couldn’t believe how fast they got me back to my daily activities and sports by teaching me proper exercise techniques and strategies. The therapists that I have shadowed genuinely enjoyed their jobs and working one-on-one with patients instead of sitting behind a desk all day. My family is also amongst those who inspired me to become a PT. Growing up, my grandfather and father worked as appliance repairmen. I watched them fix machines and get things working like they were brand new again. In a way, I wanted to be like them except work with individuals to restore or adapt to what they have lost. My oldest sister is also a PT and she has helped me through the application process and school by offering thoughtful advice. I believe my personal quality of perseveration helped me to get to where I am today as a PT student. I knew since high school that I wanted to become a PT and chose the appropriate paths with the guidance of many individuals to get me thus far. The ability to remain dedicated to my goals and overcome the tough challenges of school and life also helped me through my education and achievements.

   My personal strength of perseverance will help lead me to succeed in this career and any future goals I have. Whatever career goal I want to pursue, somehow I will achieve it whether or not it takes more time, education, and experience. I know that because of this trait, I will put 100% effort in helping my future patients achieve their goals and be satisfied with the outcome. Having a thirst for knowledge is also imperative to succeeding in this career. There is always something new to learn and research to keep up with on a daily basis. Furthermore, having an open mind to new experiences and interactions with various patients or therapists will help me excel as a PT.

Choices and Challenges  

   One of the major challenges that I have faced in both undergraduate and in graduate school was coming up with effective studying habits. Transitioning from high school into undergrad, I thought it would be easy to study a couple nights before an exam and still get the grade I want like how I used to do. Boy was I wrong. I learned to schedule my time appropriately and study with other students in my classes. At Pacific, we have small class sizes and professors are always available to help you if you are struggling or just want to talk about certain issues. Regarding graduate school in PT, your mind is challenged like never before and finding strategies to study and have fun is difficult. What helped me during this transition was studying with my classmates and forming study groups where we quizzed each other or shared notes. We would also take multiple study breaks for fun or exercise and reward ourselves with a night off after a long week. Additionally, all of our professors are located on one floor at HPC and they have an open door policy. If I had questions or needed clarification, I would head over to their offices without hesitation and ask them.

   I encourage students who want to pursue a career in physical therapy to strive to do well in their undergraduate classes and to use school resources such as the Career Development Center to help get ahead. Also, I advise students to not just join clubs but be actively involved in them such as Pre-PT club or any volunteer project you show interest in, which will help you stand out on paper. Having a reasonable amount of observation or volunteer experience in various therapy settings is also useful in the application process and in determining that this is the right career choice.

Succes and Highlights

   My experiences through undergrad and graduate school thus far have made me into a stronger, more responsible, and intellectual young adult. Because I wanted to pursue a career in PT, it was one of the reasons I attended Pacific. I knew Pacific had both strong Exercise Science and PT programs when I applied. What really “sealed the deal” to attend Pacific is the Advantage Program for undergrad students, which helped me apply for PT school my junior year of undergrad and become accepted that year. The Advantage Program gives students the basic tools on how to prepare for the application process including essays, letter of recommendations, observation hours, interviews, and much more. Because I was accepted into PT school my junior year of undergrad and completed my degree by fall semester of my senior year, I was able to graduate a semester early. I believe my experience at Pacific has placed me ahead in my education because of the tools and knowledge that I have gained and will continue to gain as I complete my graduate degree. With this education, I know I will prosper in my future career as a PT and it will allow me to continue to succeed in whatever goal I set.

Posted by Career Development Center ( on Mar 19, 2013 at 11:33 AM

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