Just a little background on the past few years of my crazy but blessed life..
For those of you who don’t know, I recently moved from a tiny town, just north of Milwaukee, WI to the Pittsburgh, PA area.
Growing up in such a small, friendly town I was lucky to know most people I would see on a daily basis. They were either people I personally knew from school, dance, soccer, you name it. Or they were people that knew my parents. I couldn’t go anywhere in town, or in Ozaukee county without people asking “You’re Leo’s daughter right?” Sure am, and am proud to be. I knew my surroundings, I knew people, I just knew things and felt comfortable with that truth.
When it was time for me to move on and go to college, I went and toured a few schools around WI. Three of them to be exact. I toured Marquette University in Milwaukee, Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon, and The University of Wisconsin – La Crosse in La Crosse. At that point in time my dream was to one day become a physical therapist and I knew all three of those schools had great programs for me to pursue my dreams at. I fell in love with the Marquette campus. I knew immediately that if I was accepted there, that’s where I’d spend the next six to seven years of my life. I also enjoyed the Concordia campus. Beautiful campus right on Lake Michigan and just like home, and so close to home. Just a little sense of that comfort of home. An extra perk? I never needed to walk outside in the bitter cold winters of WI. So of course I applied there. My final visit was to UWL. It was so beautiful there. The bluffs, the river, a typical college campus. BUT, it was 3 hours from home and at that point in my life I was not ready to move that far away from home. So, the summer before my senior year of high school I applied to Marquette and Concordia. I was accepted into CUW, and was unfortunately wait listed at Marquette. I decided I was content at CUW and turned down my wait list spot at Marquette. I was so excited to start my new adventure at CUW.
While at Concordia, I was still in Ozaukee County, just the other end of it and I still saw people I knew out and about in Mequon. I was comfortable there as well, I was also able to go home when my schedule allowed. Freshman year at CUW, was one I’d love to forget. I learned a lot about myself, and grew so much from that experience but am SO glad it is in the past. At the end of my freshman year I applied to and was accepted into CUW’s Athletic Training program. I was one of twenty students accepted into the program. I was ecstatic as this was my first step to becoming a PT, a solid stepping stone, and wonderful learning experience before diving into the world of physical therapy. Sophomore year was rough school wise. I learned so much about the human body, and about myself as a student, but by the end of the year I was ready for it to be over and SO ready to welcome my junior year. I quickly fell in love with the athletic training profession and all it has to offer. Junior year was nothing special, I had some unbelievable learning experiences, attended the Wisconsin Athletic Trainers’ Association meeting, did some networking met some amazing people. This is when I started to realize that maybe PT wasn’t what I was meant to do, wasn’t what God put me on this beautiful earth to be. Fast forward to senior year in the program. I worked my tail off, had the privilege of working with CUW’s men’s and women’s cross country teams and also the CUW Acrobatics and Tumbling team. Through working with both of these teams, I was able to really realize how big of an impact what I did on a daily basis made in the lives of the athletes I worked with. I saw them at their worst, helped them through those rough days of injury, worked with them daily to help them get healthy, and celebrated with them during their victories both small and large, both on and off the field. This is when I really learned I wanted to be an athletic trainer for the rest of my life. So, with that decision in mind I knew I needed to continue to further my education and achieve a masters degree.
Mid december of this past year I applied to two Graduate Athletic Training programs (Western Michigan (2 year program) and California University of PA (1 year program). In February I sat for my board exam and much to my surprise I had passed the exam on the first try and upon graduation I would be a certified athletic trainer. While on vacation in Utah with my boyfriend and his family over spring break (Mid March), I found out I was accepted into the CAL U program, and immediately knew this was where I would spend the next year of my life working and learning and achieving my Masters of Science degree. I was so excited to finally be accepted into a post-professional program and to finally be on my own. I was excited to move on and and out of Concordia. I learned so much about myself, my profession, and life there but it was time to move on. I was so happy that things were finally starting to fall into place and God had started to show me his plans for my life and my future. I graduated from CUW with my bachelors of science degree in athletic training this past May. Finally, I was able to get out of there…
At the same time I was nervous to move so far from home (10 hours, almost 500 miles). I was leaving behind everyone and everything I knew. I left behind my sense of comfort in little ol’ Wisconsin, and was moving to a brand new state, a brand new place I knew very little about. I left behind my family, I left behind my boyfriend, and I left behind everyone I knew and loved, and also left behind the comfort I was surrounded in back home. However, I was supported by all of my friends and family and couldn’t be more thankful for their love and support along this crazy journey. Soon after arriving here we were given our placements for our graduate assistantship. I had hoped and prayed that I would be working with an on campus sport, I would have taken any one of them. However, much to my dismay I was placed at a high school. Soon to find out it has been one of the biggest blessings. I was placed at Geibel Catholic Junior-Senior High School. Im telling you, God knows what he’s doing. He wouldn’t have put me somewhere I wouldn’t make a difference in the lives other people or I wouldn’t grow as a professional or as a person.
I’ve learned SO incredibly much already. I’ve started my new job, working on my own for the first time as a licensed athletic trainer in the state of PA. I love my athletes, I love my “boss” the athletic director at Geibel. Im so blessed to be surrounded by the people I am. Ive met some very incredible people I’m happy to call my friends and colleagues, Ive made some networking connections, and have some amazing professors and colleagues. Moving to PA was a huge leap of faith for me, but it has truly, truly been one of the biggest blessings. Just have had to keep the faith, trust in Gods plan, enjoy my new surroundings, and make the best of every opportunity I have been given.