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FROM LAW TO PHYSICAL THERAPY My Journey to Finding the Perfect Career
It may come as a surprise to many of you, but before I entered the physical therapy field, I practiced law for three years in Florida. However, my short career in law was not fulfilling in the ways I had hoped it would be, and my decision to change careers stemmed from a desire to truly offer help to those who need it. While I was earning my undergraduate degree, I began to think about the first steps toward a career, but I wasn’t entirely sure where to go. My father was a doctor, and I naturally liked science courses, so I unenthusiastically chose pre-med. After a while, I realized that I didn’t like the idea of working in a hospital, and I wasn’t sure if I could handle being around sickness every day. My dad encouraged me to think twice about a pre-med degree, and frankly, I didn’t know what else I could do. After a conversation with a friend, I decided that law school might be avenue I wanted to take, and my background in science could be useful in medical malpractice or patent law. I took a business law course, and I enjoyed the material, so I decided to give a career in law a shot, even though I didn’t know any lawyers and I didn’t have a full grasp of the job description. Honestly, I entered into a law career fairly ignorant about the profession as a whole. After law school, I worked for a large law firm in Florida. I worked on many different projects for different departments, but I didn’t enjoy my job. After a while, I switched to public defense, and I got a job as an assistant public defender, hoping that I would be able
to touch people’s lives the way I wanted to. I liked public defense more than my previous projects, but I still didn’t feel like I was really helping anyone. I decided to leave the practice and move to San Diego to pursue a new life. I started my own company where I sold exercise equipment, and as it turned out, physical therapists were some of my best clients. After getting to know my clients, I decided that physical therapy was the career I had been yearning for, so I enrolled at the University of Southern California in 1998 to earn my doctorate in physical therapy. I went back to school at age 40, and it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made. Though it took some time, I am so fortunate to have found satisfaction in my career as a physical therapist. I felt at home in the subject matter at USC, and I enjoyed learning alongside students who were as invested in their careers as I was in my own. At G3, my therapists and I are constantly taking courses to further our education, broaden our skill sets, and become better therapists. Our team is dedicated to bettering themselves and
improving our quality of care. We have all paid our school dues — some more than others — but we will never stop educating ourselves for the benefit of our patients.
– Mike Va nGilder
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