To say the very least, the Health Sciences Undergraduate Degree has prepared me for nearly every aspect of the Physical Therapy Graduate Program. Specifically, working in healthcare teams, patient and human relations, and health literacy and culture have held the most impact this semester. Please do not misinterpret the previous sentence to say that those are the ONLY classes that have held their weight in the Graduate Program. There is not one single class that has not helped prepare me for becoming a Physical Therapist and working in the healthcare field. Since the first day of classes, knowledge attained with the undergraduate degree has been re-stated and solidified. It is noticeable when this information is first heard by other students without a B.S. in Health Sciences. Moreover, it is reassuring that our fundamentals have been set prior to graduate school with the Health Sciences Undergraduate Degree to maximize patient ethical considerations and patient-centered care. The Physical Therapy Graduate Program is very difficult; the Health Sciences Undergraduate Degree has decreased the amount of newly attained information and made the program more manageable.
During my sophomore year at USD, I was indecisive as to what major I wanted to pursue. I heard of the fairly new Health Sciences major, and I had friends and advisors encourage me to try out the introductory class. The very first class drew me in and I knew it was the fit for me. The first few classes introduced personality tests, possible careers in health care, and how to utilize teamwork to accomplish tasks efficiently. I knew that I wanted to focus on nutrition, and I saw this program to provide an excellent pathway for my future career.
Throughout the Health Sciences program, I was able to explore various health careers. The field experience portion confirmed my career goals after being able to shadow two Registered Dietitians. The program’s focus on interdisciplinary interactions allowed me to connect with students entering various health professions. I strongly believe that this is a feature that sets our program apart from many other schools, and it is critical in health care today.
The faculty was also an incredible aspect to the program. I have never had more passionate and intelligent professors. Their knowledge, advice, and encouragement inspired me to grow a deeper passion for the medical field, and to further my education towards becoming a dietitian. I learned the most in my health sciences courses, and continue to relate to lessons, projects, and team presentations in my current studies.
The Health Sciences program provided me with the necessary skills to continue my education in health care. Currently, I am working on my Master’s in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at Washington State University. Upon completion of my Master’s, I will be eligible to take the exam to become a Registered Dietitian and will be a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. With these credentials, I plan to design nutrition and exercise regimes for collegiate athletes to optimize sport performance. There may have been other routes to get to where I am today, but I am confident that my decision to earn a B.S. in Health Sciences at the University of South Dakota was the best decision for me.