I became interested in the field of Rehabilitation & Human Services (RHS) even before I realized it. After my anticipated undergraduate study in Athletic Training through my freshman year at UND, I went in search of another field of study. I happened across RHS while on UND's website, and wanted to know more about the field. After meeting with Dr. David Perry and getting his insight on RHS, I knew it was the perfect match for me. I have an uncle with Down's syndrome whom I grew up around my whole life, and in high school was a counselor at a camp for people with physical and mental handicaps. Although this camp was very challenging both mentally and physically with high stress levels, it was also one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Upon finding the RHS program at UND, I decided to take it up as a minor while I prepared my Pre-Physical Therapy coursework. After not being accepted as a junior into the Physical Therapy program at UND's Medical School, I changed the minor into the RHS major. Now in my senior year, I'm finishing my undergraduate coursework with plans to complete my internship in North Carolina next summer at a camp for children with disabilities where they can receive Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, equine therapy and hydrotherapy among many other opportunities provided at this camp.
My goal is to graduate next summer with a B.S. in RHS and start Physical Therapy school. If the chance arises that I don't get accepted next fall into a Physical Therapy school, then I would like to get my Master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling through UND's RHS 4 + 1 program.
My grandmother raised my uncle with Down's during a time where people with disabilities were institutionalized and forgotten. She made sure he grew up like my dad in public school settings with every regular opportunity available to him. After my previous experiences and accomplishments with working with PWD, I feel sure that this is the right path for me. I know I have the same ambitions and visions my grandmother had, and would love to make a significiant difference in the lives of people with disabilities during my generation - and era where social acceptance and services provided to PWD is developing. This is the right career choice for me because deep down it lives and breathes within my soul, and I'm very happy to have found the field of RHS at UND.
Junior - "This major got me on the right track and helped me figure out what I want to spend my life doing."
Individuals choose different walks of life for different reasons everyday. People have all types of motives for doing things well. For some individuals money is important and for others it's not, some follow their passions and personal needs others do not. For me, I chose to go into Rehabilitation for personal reasons stemming from my past and for my passion to help people.
When first attending UND I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. I knew from the get go that I wanted to do something in a helping field but that was about it. I took some classes in criminal justice, social work, and psychology. I found all of these subjects very interesting but there were aspects of each that I didn't like. My freshman year, I found out that I had several learning disabilities. This was very hard for me to cope with, not only because I had to basically relearn how to learn and study but also very frustrating due to the fact that I couldn't understand how I could go twelve years without ever knowing it. It was hard knowing that I could have done better throughout school if I had known. I lucked out when I starting seeing a counselor at UND's disability support services. I started talking to my counselor and she pointed me in the direction of Rehabilitation and Human Services. When first taking intro classes for RHS, again there were aspects that I didn't like. The idea of working with people with disabilities just doesn't appeal to me personally. So looking inward again and talking to my counselor there were opportunities at UND that I didn't know existed. My counselor knew about my past experiences with some drug use and experimentation. Though it was rather brief in the whole scheme of things, it was still there. She informed me of the minor in Addiction and Substance abuse. I was ecstatic! I had been working in a half way house and I absolutely loved it! So here I am. With my past experiences, and seeing some very good friends go down and continue to go down this very life threatening road, I have so many questions that I hope can be answered with classes, and experience in the field.
Because of my past experiences with learning disabilities and substance use, this major got me on the right track and helped me figure out what I want to spend my life doing.