Two weeks. Have you ever wondered why it is traditional to give ‘two weeks notice.’ Why not three weeks, or one-and-a-half? I always knew that as you grew life moves faster, but two weeks always seemed fast to make major changes like changing jobs.
I have always wanted to work in soccer, from as kid where those dreams were to play, to early in college when I thought I would be a coach, to studying abroad when I realized that my science nerd side and joy working with people could meet my love for the sport as a PT. I want to work with high level adolescent soccer players. I want to work to develop the best prevention and rehabilitation practices and at the same time develop relationships, teach, and help these talented young athletes grow. I see growth for my patients as growth as an athlete, as a student, and as a proud understanding owner of an amazing body.
When I graduate from Duke PT, I was incredibly lucky and started work at a sports clinic and large youth soccer club in Raleigh, NC. For a new grad, this was my dream job and it came with the amazing benefits of phenomenal mentorship and growth opportunities. I loved this job and worked there for a year and a half.
A year and a three-quarters after starting work, my boyfriend, a PhD student at the University of Delaware, made an off-hand comment that changed things. He mentioned that a woman who I greatly looked up to in the soccer community was going to do a PhD at UDel. To him this was an off-hand comment, to me, I can tell you the exact where I was wen he said it! My mind started running a million miles a minute with possibilities. Here was my soccer PT idol, working with my research idol, in the same place as my boyfriend. I had been looking at possible job opportunities that might help me get closer to him, but nothing to that moment had come up that was better than my current job. But this… All of a sudden I had a big yellow neon lighted arrow sign pointing me in a slightly different direction.
Two weeks is what it took. They were a slightly stressful two weeks. There was A) is a PhD something I really want to do? I had always seen a PhD in my plan, just later on in my career after having practiced for a while. To which my mom said, “Well, there is never going to be an easier time in your life to do a PhD than now, and it will mean you are both in the same life place.” That sunk in! I’m only getting older and it’s not like life gets less complicated!! B) Is this an opportunity worth leaving what I’m doing now for? Not only were my PT idol and my research idol going to be in the same place, but I had recently realized that I didn’t want to spend most of my career 40 hours/wk in a clinic. In addition, I knew administration wasn’t my thing. C) Am I ready to step out of my comfort zone and go off the slightly off the “plan” I thought I was going to take? The answer to that was, is anyone ever?
After two weeks of significant deliberations with myself, talking to my friends and family, talking with other PhD students and PT faculty, as well as talking to my boyfriend, I finally came to a decision. I would email and find out if doing a PhD with my potential mentor was even a possibility. It was. And from there things snow balled. Writing application essays, retrieving GRE results (thank goodness I didn’t have to take them again!!), digging up transcripts, transferring my license, all things I didn’t see coming, were coming together very quickly. All in the span of two weeks an opportunity I would have never dreamed of emerged and my “plan” was changing course.
Looking at the decision now, I absolutely love being in a PhD program! I desperately miss treating patients regularly, as it is a very different interaction you have as a researcher, but I have a few old patients send me updates and keep fueling my fire. I know that when I’m done I can add more practice back. I know, though, that I followed the big life arrow and I couldn’t be happier! I now know that sometimes they can be subtle, but when those opportunities come up, sometimes you don’t need more than two weeks!
Amy attended Duke University for her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She worked for Proaxis Therapy as well as the Capital Area Soccer League and the Carolina Railhawks, before beginning a PhD in Biomechanics at the University of Delaware under the advisement of Dr. Lynn Snyder-Mackler. Amy is passionate about soccer and has a particular interest in injury prevention and the treatment of high level adolescent athletes.