As physiotherapy is an evolving discipline it made sense to come to the newest degree in the country
I grew up in Merimbula which is a beautiful small quiet coastal town on the far south coast of NSW. My childhood was mainly spent surfing, skating, playing footy (AFL) and tennis, playing guitar and bumming around the beach whenever possible.
At school I was always interested in sports and I enjoyed knowing how the body worked, but throughout high school I was encouraged to pursue engineering by my teachers. I didn’t set the world on fire at high school and ended up just scraping into an engineering degree at the University of Wollongong (UOW), however, I dropped out before my first session was over and moved back home for a year due to my father passing away. I took a year off studying and then decided to transfer into Exercise Science. After completing exercise science I was accepted to study Physiotherapy at UTS.
Looking back, I think the main thing that attracted me to physiotherapy was my desire to help people and my love of sports. At school I never considered studying physiotherapy as I was pushed towards engineering by my Careers Advisor. So, I ended up starting a Bachelor of Engineering. During this time a few of my friends were studying Exercise Science and told me about the course. I transferred across from Engineering after my year off and never looked back. By my second year in Exercise Science I knew I wanted a skillset that would allow me to help the broader population. I was confident that I could be a very good physiotherapist and so from that point on I knew I wanted to do a Master of Physiotherapy.
The small cohort was a huge factor in my decision to study at UTS. I also enjoyed that the course was new and innovative. As physiotherapy is an ever-evolving discipline, it made sense to me to come to the newest degree in the country. I also liked the idea of being one of the first students to graduate and experience the degree.
I heard about the UTS Graduate School of Health through my course co-ordinator at the. He only spoke highly of it and the other courses that it offered.
By far the most rewarding aspect of the course is the friendships I’ve made so far. I’ve also enjoyed the self-development I have experienced and the challenges that this degree has dealt me.
I think I have changed and developed throughout my study here. I approach problems and situations more analytically, I communicate better and I find solutions to problems now where I think I wouldn’t have before. I have definitely been pushed to think differently and I am more professional now than I was before entering the degree. My knowledge of the discipline has expanded enormously and I see a far bigger scope to physiotherapy than I imagined before I started.
Most of the assessments cover situations you would deal with in the real world. They are very practical and force you to take what you have learnt in class and apply it to different situations, giving you a good context on where you will use your new skills as physiotherapists. They are very evenly spaced out and at no point do you really feel overwhelmed with your assessment workload, which is great because you don’t have to sacrifice learning new content for completing your assessments.
The teaching staff look after us really well. As I mentioned, the assessment schedule is set up so we never really were overwhelmed with assessment work. But if we ever found a week challenging or felt like we needed support, the teaching staff are always happy to have an open dialogue about helping us through that period. They really want you to do well and get to the end of the degree both happy and accomplished.
My hope for the future is just to be a great physiotherapist, but more importantly a great person. I want to be able to help patients I encounter and improve their quality of life. I want to be the physio that patients want to see because I can do my job well and because they enjoy my company. Contributing something substantial to the profession would also be great. Completing a PhD is also something I am keen on pursuing. The research subjects offered here are encouraging me towards that option.
My advice for future students: Do not be afraid to make mistakes - no one will ever judge you for hopping up in front of the class and trying something. Every mistake is a learning experience, and not only will you learn from it, but everyone else will too. Identifying the gaps in your knowledge is a huge part of progressing as a student and as a physiotherapist. But with that in mind, be confident with yourself. If you exude confidence everyone else will feel comfortable with what you are doing.
Also, don’t be worried if you do something slightly different than someone else. You’ll get sick of how many people tell you that every physiotherapist treats differently, but it’s true. Don’t be scared to adapt something to suit you.
And lastly, if you ever have trouble with anything, come and chat to us second year students. Everyone is super lovely and I’m sure everyone will always have time for a quick chat!
The UTS GSH is an exceptionally positive environment, and studying here has only cemented my desire to be a physiotherapist. Every day I get inspired by either my peers or my teachers to get better at what I do.