Walking into a local rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta, I had no idea what to expect for the volunteer orientation. All I knew was that I wanted to get started on recording volunteer and shadowing hours for my future application to Physical Therapy school. I certainly had no idea that I would leave almost 2 and a half hours later with a smile permanently plastered on my face and a clear picture of exactly what my dream job looked like.
For some it takes longer to figure out than others, but I truly believe everybody has a career soulmate. We are all born with strengths and weaknesses and while some people make a few stops along the way, I think we all have a purpose or calling.
I remember clearly the first time I experienced that moment of clarity that physical therapy was where I was headed. I followed my friend, Kate, to her physical therapy appointment at the Carrell Clinic for her torn ACL. She was kind enough to introduce me to her therapist and I sat in on the rest of her session. At the time, I was working in my high school's Sports Medicine department as a student athletic trainer. I enjoyed everyday of my independent study in sports medicine and owe so much to the athletic trainers, Coach Geier and Crystal Carrizales, because it was through working with them that my interest in PT really started.
Now, several years later, I am getting closer and closer to PT school. I am trying to gain all the experience and knowledge that I can as an undergraduate to best prepare me for my future graduate school studies. I am relishing every moment of college and enjoying all that Emory is giving me, while simultaneously keeping one eye on where I want to go in the future.
I walked back into my dorm room after the rehab hospital volunteer orientation and practically bounced into my roommate's arms. After a few moments of me screaming excitedly at her, she put into words exactly how I feel about my career soulmate. "Now when you have tough days in Bio or you are doing work you really don't want to do, you have a reason. It makes it all worth it because you have something you are so excited to be working towards." Livia, you couldn't have said it better.
I know I am not the only one who feels this way about their future or current career. I think there is this huge misconception that because it is "work" or a "job," you can't enjoy it. But I know that is not the case. There are people out there who don't feel like they ever have to work a day in their life because they genuinely love what they do. It has been my goal for a long time to be one of those people. I just didn't know what career path would give me that feeling.
At Emory, I am surrounded by ambitious, smart, motivated people but a lot of them have no idea exactly what they want to do. And as they say in every college admissions presentation, that is okay. But when that moment finally comes, that defining moment of clarity, it is the biggest relief.
I am aware that I am in an extremely privileged position to be even considering all these potential jobs in the future. I know that not everyone has that luxury of choice. However, even if that choice is not there, it is important to remember that we were all given strengths and weaknesses for a reason. Even if that reason was simply to make us happy by using our strengths for a hobby. There is nothing more inspiring than watching someone work hard to do what they love whether that be for a career or not.
If nothing else, everyone is called to pursue the things they love the most in life. I believe that career soulmates exist and that whether it be for a job or not, we will all find that one thing in life that gives us joy and purpose in our lives.
Now I just have to get in to PT school...