Ericka Taplin is a current student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree program at the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.
I chose PT because I had an amazing experience personally when I was younger. The atmosphere was very positive, and seeing others achieve their goals and return to their normal activities was very inspiring. This discipline has more of a holistic approach to health, which I admired.
I attended undergraduate here, and the program offers the opportunity for more clinical experience than most schools in the country (52 weeks). Buffalo is also my hometown, so having such a great program within my city was a plus.
My experience of the discipline has evolved while at UB because I’ve been more exposed to the field, especially when attending the seminars that are held during the semester, in which a health care professional presents their research, which helps to broaden our way of thinking.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic I’ve learned that even though physical therapists aren’t always right on the front lines when dealing with this pandemic, they are still behind the scenes helping patients with their goals. Also, physical therapists have learned to adapt to this situation with some of them providing virtual treatment sessions.
My favorite part of the program is the labs. Actually getting into the lab and learning and practicing techniques is the best. In a lab there are about 22 students (then there’s another lab with the other 22), so it provides a more one-on-one experience with the professors, ensuring you are correctly performing the techniques. I also love the connections that you build with your class, you really become a family, and help each other out.
My best advice is to stay confident in your abilities. There may be many times when you feel like giving up or doubt your capabilities, but everything will work itself out in the end. Physical therapy is a very rewarding and challenging field, and this program excels in preparing you to become a successful physical therapist in the future.
I will be entering my second year of physical therapy in fall 2020. Once the COVID-19 pandemic begins to settle, I am very excited to start my clinical experiences and dive deeper into the field of physical therapy.