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When she’s not in class or studying for an upcoming exam, Sarah Church likes to spend her time on the quad of the Downers Grove Campus with a Frisbee in hand. “I play Ultimate Frisbee, so I’ll bring my disc out on campus and throw with either one of my friends or other people who see me doing it will get involved. It’s a huge sense of community here and it’s easy to get involved with students or other clubs,” she said.
From her first moment on campus, Sarah felt welcomed into a community of fellow healthcare students who want to improve the lives of others. “It’s a very positive atmosphere,” she said. “Being surrounded by other students like me who share in the same interests, the same understanding of medicine, and that same drive to succeed is really cool.”
“ The education here is fast-paced and it’s very good. But, it’s a very positive atmosphere here as well. We all help each other. ”Sarah Church
D.P.T. Student, Class of 2022
Finding the Right Path
While she’s found a great fit at Midwestern University, Sarah came to her decision to pursue a degree in physical therapy only after ruling out some other career options. “When I graduated from Augustana College, I thought I was going to go to veterinary school. I was working as a vet tech and realized that it wasn’t for me. I tried a couple of things that were non-healthcare related and nothing really excited me,” she recalls. “During the summer of that year, my older sister and my mom both suggested looking into physical therapy. My mom was getting PT at the time. I shadowed one of her physical therapists and really fell in love with it,” Sarah added.
Now, she appreciates the opportunities a career in physical therapy will give her including the ability to work with people of all ages and explore a variety of different career paths. “The body is amazing. There are so many different muscles and ligaments that cross each and every joint. Physical Therapy is partly involved in figuring out which of those is the main problem and I like that puzzle aspect of it,” she said.
Support Every Step of the Way
She also values the time her faculty mentors spend with students explaining complex information and offering encouragement. “It’s a tidal wave of information, but it’s taught to us in a very manageable way. The faculty are very good about providing us with the whole picture – it’s not just facts about treatment or evaluation. It’s also about how to be a healthcare professional, how to understand your patients from all walks of life, and how to look at the research,” Sarah explained. “It’s a very well-rounded education and I feel like I’ll be well-prepared for my future career.”
The sense of community Sarah feels at Midwestern University is carried throughout her day from the faculty members who send out encouraging emails before big exams to the friendly people she sees every day on campus. “The fact that when I come to the entrance gate I can smile at the security guard and know that they are another friendly face on campus that recognizes me, makes me feel at home. The education here is fast-paced and it’s very good. But, it’s a very positive atmosphere here as well. We all help each other.”
Sarah Church is a Class of 2022 student from the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the College of Health Sciences in Downers Grove.