By Abby

Aloha to Our Spring NEU Co-Op Students!

Hi to Julia!

Julia shares her experience in Hawaii thus far and how excited she is for this opportunity. 

Hi everyone!! I’m Julia, I’m from Andover, MA and I’m currently in my fourth year in Northeastern's six-year DPT program. I am beyond excited to be completing my second co-op here at Fukuji and Lum and cannot wait to see what the next six months will have in store!

After doing my first co-op in an inpatient rehabilitation setting, I was eager to experience the outpatient side of physical therapy. I couldn't think of a better place to grow both professionally and personally than here in Hawaii! Not only was I drawn to Fukuji & Lum by the thought of escaping Boston winters, but also because I knew F&L would challenge me to apply what I've been learning in classes and advance my knowledge further. From moving 5,000 miles away, to living with new roommates and starting a new job, I know this opportunity will challenge me in a lot of new ways. However, everyone here has been so welcoming that I already feel like I have a home away from home. I look forward to being able to look back on this experience six months from now and see how much I've grown and all the new relationships I’ve formed.

I am grateful to be receiving my DPT education from Northeastern, where I know experiences such as this one will help to shape me into the type of therapist I hope to be. Having grown up with both myself and family members receiving PT, I got to see how much of a positive impact physical therapy can have on people's lives. I love how personal physical therapy is, and the connections you get to make with patients as you watch them grow, strengthen and get back to doing what they love. I look forward to being a well educated, compassionate,and personable physical therapist that can provide patients with the highest quality of care.

So far, Hawaii has been nothing short of amazing. Every day I'm still in awe of all the beauty this island has to offer, and I look forward to getting to see and do as much as possible in my time here. I hope to get out of my comfort zone and try things that may scare me, like skydiving, ridge hikes, and swimming with sharks. Other than that, I can't wait to soak up the sun, snorkel, relax, make new friends, meet new people and try new foods. So far, I have enjoyed trying musubi, poi donuts and ube hot bread. In just the short time I’ve been here, I've already compiled a long list of food recs from both patients and coworkers, and I can't wait to make my way through them and experience some of the unique foods Hawaii has to offer.

There are many people who have influenced and shaped me to be who I am today, but I am especially grateful to have such amazing parents to look up to. My mom is strong, selfless and caring. My dad is unbelievably hard working, wise and generous beyond belief. They are both incredibly supportive and the two of them have taught me the importance of working for what I want, never quitting and looking out for others. I hope to one day embody all of these traits, both as a person and as a therapist. I can't wait for them and my three sisters to come and visit me in March!!

Here's to learning, growing and living life to the fullest over the next six months!

By Abby

Aloha to Our Spring NEU Co-Op Students!

Hello, Annie!

We asked Annie what she looks forward to experiencing while in Hawaii and who her greatest influences are in life. She also explains why she was drawn to the PT profession. 

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?

Hey everyone! My name is Annie, and I am from Fremont, CA in the SF Bay Area. I went to Mission San Jose High School, where I swam and played water polo, and I’m currently in my fourth year of Northeastern’s 6-year DPT program. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be living and working in Hawaii for 6 months. It has only been a few weeks, but I am thoroughly enjoying my time at the LA and Honolulu clinics and Kokokahi pool. 

What drew you to physical therapy? - What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

When I was applying to colleges, I was so unsure about what I wanted to do for my future career. All I knew was that I wanted to be involved in the health sciences somehow. During this time, my swim coach introduced me to the world of physical therapy and movement science, which piqued my interest. So when Northeastern offered me the opportunity to be a part of their 6-year DPT program, I took a leap of faith (I didn’t even visit or tour the campus!) and accepted, and I am so glad I did. Going through the curriculum and meeting all the amazing PT faculty over the years have really solidified my passion for the job. There are few other professions where you get to interact with people at the same level as physical therapists, while helping them live their healthiest lives with just movement and exercise. You are able to build lifelong relationships with patients, and really make a difference in someone’s quality of life. There is also so much more to PT than just sports! After working with stroke patients at my last co-op, I have an interest in neurology, but I would like to explore pelvic health as well as aquatic therapy too. I don’t know what the future holds for me, whether it be in the outpatient or inpatient setting, but wherever I am, I hope to be a therapist that treats holistically, is creative, compassionate, and forever learning.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?

I have always loved traveling and learning about different cultures, so when I found out there was a co-op in Hawaii, it seemed like a no-brainer. It also didn’t hurt that I would be skipping the cold Boston winter! And while Boston has been a wonderful city to live in the past couple years, I felt like I was getting too comfortable, so I wanted an experience where I would be challenged both in and out of the clinic. Before coming here, my only PT experience was in the inpatient setting, so when I was applying for my second co-op, I knew I wanted to expand my horizons to outpatient physical therapy. Fukuji and Lum seemed like that perfect place. 

What has been your experience like so far? - What is on your to-do list while here?

I have been loving every minute of my time here, and I am beyond grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this beautiful culture. The staff at Fukuji and Lum have been so welcoming and understanding of all the mistakes I have made while learning the ropes in the clinic. They have shown me much kindness and go out of their way to teach me new techniques, special tests, and various exercises in their spare time. More than that, they have set an example for what patient care should be. It isn’t just about treating a patient’s physical injury, but also caring for their mental and emotional health. 

Outside of the clinic, the other co-ops and I have been able to hike the Lanikai pillboxes at sunrise, see the Manoa falls, tan on the various beaches along the North Shore, and watch people catch the big waves at Pipeline. I have also never eaten this much poke in my life, but I am definitely not mad about it. By the end of my time here, I’d love to have learned how to surf, go scuba diving, visit Pearl Harbor, and swim out to the Mokes. And being the big foodie that I am, I have a huge list of dishes I want to try while I’m here like poi, laulau, and loco moco. Every day, I am learning about a new hike or food spot to try out from various patients and staff. My to-do list just keeps getting longer and longer! I guess that means I’ll have to come back if I don’t get to it all!

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

There have been many people that have shaped me into the person I am today, but my parents have had the greatest influence in my life. They are my biggest cheerleaders and unconditional supporters; I owe many of my successes to them. They immigrated to the US from Taiwan and had to learn a completely different culture, language, and way of living. They have worked so hard and given up a lot for me and my sister to have the best life possible. I am inspired by them every day to work hard, be kind, and always try my best. I hope to make them proud and incorporate values they have instilled in me to be the best physical therapist possible for my patients. 

By Abby

Aloha to Our Spring NEU Co-Op Students!

Welcome, Holland!

Holland writes about her bucket list items while in Hawaii and why physical therapy is so meaningful to her. 

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?

I grew up in Newtown, PA just outside of Philadelphia and went to high school at Council Rock North. I am now in my fourth of six years at Northeastern University in Boston.

What drew you to physical therapy?

I was drawn to physical therapy after my grandmother moved in with my family when I was in high school. She had chronic back pain that had been unsuccessfully managed with surgery and medication, but when she moved in with us she started going to PT and came home standing up straighter and feeling better than she had in years. In addition to making a positive impact on my grandmother’s quality of life, her progress in PT helped to lessen the caregiving burden on the rest of the family when she was able to function more independently and with less pain. I always wanted to help people, so when I realized that as a PT I could significantly improve quality of life not only for my patients but their families as well I knew it was the path for me. I love that PT allows me to use my passion for exercise and movement to make tangible improvements in people’s everyday lives. 

 

 

  

What has been your experience like so far?

My experience so far has been amazing! Everyone at Fukuji and Lum is incredibly nice, knowledgeable, and willing to teach so I am learning so much every day. Outside of work, I have been loving spending every possible minute outside—hiking, snorkeling, going to the beach, watching the sunset, stargazing, and enjoying everything the island has to offer. I am constantly in awe of the beautiful surroundings and can’t believe how lucky I am to call this incredible place home for a little while. 

What's the strangest thing that you've eaten since arriving?

I haven’t eaten anything strange, but I am a huge foodie and can’t wait to work through my long list of restaurant recommendations!

 

What is on your to-do list while here?

I really want to skydive, swim with sharks, and take a surfing lesson while I’m here! Otherwise, I’m just trying to hike and eat my way around the island.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

I think one of the greatest things about PT is that you get to help patients help themselves, and education is the key to promoting that independence. I hope to be the kind of therapist that is a great educator, helping patients understand what is going on in their bodies and how to fix it. Taking the extra second to explain something can make a huge difference and help patients to be active participants in their own care.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

My three younger siblings are the greatest influence in my life. There was never a dull moment in our house growing up and I am so grateful that they taught me to lead by example, go with the flow, and never take myself too seriously. 

 

By Abby

Aloha to Our Spring NEU Co-Op Students!

Introducing Lauren!

Lauren tells us about how she landed on physical therapy as a career path and what she hopes to get out of her co-op experience in Hawaii!

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?

Hi, my name is Lauren! I am a fourth year PT student at Northeastern University. I grew up in Berwyn, Pennsylvania right outside of Philadelphia. I attended Conestoga High School and am now a fourth year at Northeastern University. At home I have two brothers (including a twin brother) but more importantly I have two dogs, Fuzzy (13) and Hunter (8). 

What drew you to physical therapy?

When I was first thinking about my career, I wanted a job with a lot of face-to-face time with patients. I also wanted a career that would challenge my critical thinking and schooling in my everyday practice. I love animals and originally landed upon veterinary school as my number one choice. However, when I realized that they could not comprehend the procedures and operations being done to them and that they did not understand the pain, I realized that vet school was not for me. I was attracted to PT because I realized it had everything I wanted in a career, the ability to see my patients progress and reach their goals as well as ample time with each patient to really understand them as a whole and what they seek to gain from each treatment session. Physical therapy offered all of these benefits and more, it combined my love for science/ anatomy and simultaneously helping patients get back to the lives they love.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?

My Auntie Christinne and Uncle Andrew lived in Hawaii for 25 years, so I was originally drawn to the island from all their stories of the island and all the fun things they did with my cousin. Additionally, they told me of the great relationships they made with their neighbors and friends and local community. Secondly, Fukuji and Lum drew me in as I spoke to previous co-ops, and they informed me of the Fukuji and Lum ohana and all the great people that made up the company. From all this information I decided to take the leap and come to Hawaii to see all the wonderful people, places (and delicious food) for myself!

 

 

What has been your experience like so far?

My experience so far has been sensational. In particular the people have been incredibly welcoming and overwhelmingly kind. I was met at the airport and immediately received lei’s from our wonderful landlord who drove us home from the airport. So far things have been a whirlwind, although it is slowly settling down. I am hoping to be able to schedule out activities for every weekend and slowly check off everything that I want to do. 

What's the strangest thing that you've eaten since arriving?

I have not tried anything too strange thus far. I have had some delicious traditional Hawaiian food including musubi, malasadas and poke. I would love to try kalua pork, lomi lomi salmon, manapua and so much more. 

What is on your to-do list while here?

My to-do list is a mile long, my main goal while here is to learn to surf. I am also an avid hiker so I would like to complete as many as possible. In my first few days here, I have also managed to compile a list of restaurants a mile long so I would love to eat my way through the island as well. From Legends for Dim Sum to Malasadas from Leonard’s, to 7-11 Musubi I want to try it all!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

I hope to be the type of therapist who looks at the patient as a whole. I aim to look at not only my patient’s physical health but their mental health, social health, and overall wellbeing. Making each patient feel as though I am a resource for them for whatever their ailment may be, so that they can feel comfortable talking to me in any capacity. Many times, physical health is not the main priority so it is important to make sure each patient does not have any underlying problems so they can prioritize their health and be the best version of themselves. 

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

The greatest influence in my life is my grandfather. A while ago on my favorite Instagram account “Humans of New York” an older woman said “I’m really proud that I'm still interested. Not “interesting” -- that's a different thing. I mean interested. I’m still interested in the world." I think this is a great way to describe my grandfather. At 87 years old he is infatuated with everything from the cosmos to the mantis shrimp at the bottom of the ocean. He loves to learn. He makes his way through every single crossword, word game and sudoku in the Sunday New York Times every single week without fail.  If I can continue my love for reading, learning, and filling my brain with as much culture, knowledge and information as possible, then my life will have been a success. 

By Abby

Warm Welcome to Our Fall NEU PT Students

Here's Ariane!

Ariane shares how yoga has helped her find a deeper connection with physical therapy and how it can relate to her approach when treating her patients. 

Hi everyone! 

My name is Ariane, I grew up in Brookline, MA and did my undergrad at Ithaca College in upstate New York. I am currently attending Northeastern University’s DPT program. The more I learn and the more I am immersed within the field of physical therapy, the more I know I’m in the right place. Although this is now, my initial draw to physical therapy came about during my yoga teacher training. During my training I was lucky to become part of an extraordinary community of women who I saw as both empowering and empowered. In the company of these women’s experiences, I found myself surrounded by mothers, survivors, teachers, clinicians, counselors, women from all walks of life and educational backgrounds, women who turned to yoga for far more than a physical experience.

My yoga teacher training opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about yoga and in turn a new way of thinking about health. Physical therapy has always resonated with me. What stood out to me was not only the holistic approach to healing, but also the emphasis on interpersonal communication and genuine connections with patients. 

I believe physical therapy is a practice that shows people just how capable they really are. 

I wanted to do my co-op in Hawaii because I wanted to get out of my bubble and step outside my comfort zone. I wanted to live and learn in a place that was not like what I knew. 

The kind of therapist I hope to be, is one who exudes openness and passion. I want to be the kind of therapist whose patients feel like they can be their true selves. I believe this fosters trust. I want to be a therapist that patients look forward to coming back to, who they want to update on their lives… of course I hope to be a great and knowledgeable practitioner too…but who doesn’t? A physical therapist is so much more than that. Most of all, I hope to provide a safe space for all those I treat. 

The greatest influences in my life are by far my parents. I have never known two people as selfless as they. To grow up and feel their love for me is the greatest gift in the world. My parents showed me everything I believe about the importance of kindness and respect. I hope to embody these values through my practice.

By Abby

Warm Welcome to our Fall NEU PT Students

Aloha, Berika!

Berika shares what makes physical therapy her passion and what she looks forward to during her time in Hawaii. 

Hello! My name is Berika and I grew up in San Jose, CA where I went to Del Mar High School. I’ve always wanted to work in healthcare so when I decided on physical therapy as a career, I applied to more than enough PT schools and when Northeastern University said ‘Yes’, so did I.

What drew me to physical therapy was the ability to not just help someone get physically better, but to help someone to be able to help themselves to get better and not just in the short term.

What drew me to do my co-op in Hawaii was the culture on the island and at Fukuji & Lum. At F&L, the entire person is taken into consideration on how to treat them, and not just their prescription for physical therapy. And that sort of holistic approach to healing the body is exactly the kind of therapist I hope to be.

My experience so far has been nothing short of amazing! I enjoy going to work every day during the week to learn first hand how to be a great Physical Therapist, and I am having a blast every weekend exploring different parts of the island and trying new things. What’s on my to-do list while here is to go to a Luau and go skydiving! I’ve never been skydiving before and this seems like the perfect place to do it.

The greatest influence in my life is absolutely my grandmother. A retired teacher, she is full of wisdom, laughter, love, and is always the first person to both support my dreams and figure out how to fulfill them.

By Abby

Warm Welcome to Our Fall NEU PT Students

Hello to Alice!

Alice shares what physical therapy means to her and what makes her excited to be in Hawaii this semester!

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?

High school: St. Joseph’s Central High School in Pittsfield, MA

Current College: Northeastern University

What drew you to physical therapy?

My mother is a physical therapist who has been practicing for 35 years. My mother, as well as many of her co-workers have worked in the same location for over 10 years. They happily share how being a physical therapist makes them feel fulfilled both personally and professionally. When exploring possible healthcare careers I searched for paths that would allow me the same. I wanted to impact patients both physically and support them psychosocially. As I went through my own injuries and experienced this, I then knew I wanted to be able to give that back to my community no matter where I was located.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?

After graduating from Lasell University with my undergraduate degree in Exercise Science, I applied to both physical therapy programs, as well as tried out for a Team USA synchronized figure skating team in New York City. I was selected for The Team and therefore took 3 gap years before starting the DPT program at Northeastern University. During this time the team and I traveled to many countries in Europe where my love for travel and adventure flourished.  Because of these experiences I knew that when I re-entered school I wanted to have my co-op and clinical experiences all over the country to further push my personal and professional development. I had been to Hawaii one time before and absolutely fell in love!! When I learned that Northeastern offered both co-op and clinical opportunities here it was a no brainer to apply for it.

What has been your experience like so far?

So far by experience has been amazing! Hawaii is beautiful, especially how interconnected the land and sea is. It reminds me a lot of my home area of Berkshire County in Massachusetts with our mountains and lakes. In the short 3 weeks that we have been here we have free dove with sharks without a cage or supplemental oxygen, snorkeled with sea turtles, taken surfing lessons, visited the Dole Pineapple Plantation, and hiked Diamond Head as well as the pillbox in Kailua for sunrise! Lastly, all of the staff at Fukiji and Lum, as well as within the community have been extremely patient, kind, and helpful during our transition here.

What's the strangest thing that you've eaten since arriving?

The strangest thing that I have eaten so far has been eel on our sushi at orientation. But I have also tried cherimoya, lei hing powder on fruit, and ube pancakes. I am an adventurous eater and will try anything once! Send the food recommendations my way!

What is on your to-do list while here?

EVERYTHING! But my biggest to do is to travel to each Hawaiian island to experience each’s unique beauty and to-do’s from locals and visitors.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

The kind of therapist that I hope to be is kind, a good listener, someone who will go out of their way for the betterment of their patients and a forever student.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

It takes a tribe to get through life. There is not one single person who has been the greatest influence in my life. Every person that I come in contact teaches me something new about the world, or myself.

By Abby

Introducing our Spring Semester NEU PT Students!

Welcome, Maddie!

Maddie is a fourth year student at Northeastern University and writes about her excitement to live in a different part of the country, working towards her goal of becoming a physical therapist. We are so excited for Maddie to join our F&L 'Ohana!

 

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?

Hi I’m Maddie! I grew up in Arcadia, California which is a suburb of Los Angeles, and attended Arcadia High School. I applied to many different colleges, but as soon as I was accepted into the DPT program at Northeastern University I accepted without so much as a campus tour or visit, I was so excited to move across the country and start a new journey. Little did I know back then that I would be moving across the country again 4 years later to work here at Fukuji & Lum for six months. 

What drew you to physical therapy?

There is no one reason that I chose physical therapy as my profession, but rather when I looked at the sum of my personality traits and interests it just made sense. I grew up doing ballet, and have been dancing basically since I learned how to walk. Growing up dancing provided me with a huge appreciation of human movement, it taught me that movement can be not only functional, but actually beautiful. As I got older and saw how different injuries affected the lives of people I knew, dancers and regular people alike- I knew that was something that I wanted to help people with. I also knew that I would function better in an active career where I am physically and mentally challenged. These things, combined with my interest in science and problem-solving nature, led me to choose physical therapy. 

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii? What has been your experience like so far? What is on your to-do list while here?

Ever since hearing about this co-op opportunity when I was a freshman in college, I knew I wanted to come here. I am an adventurous person, and am always seeking out new opportunities and experiences, so as hard as it was to decide to leave my friends and the home I had created in Boston, applying to come work here in Hawaii was a step I was excited to take. Especially during a pandemic, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to travel and explore Hawaii while also getting valuable clinical experience. So far, I have had an incredible experience here in Hawaii, being here has given me so many opportunities to push the boundaries of what I thought I could do, both in the clinic and outside of it. I am so grateful to all the staff members that I have worked with so far at F&L for being such inspiring and effective therapists, and especially for taking the extra time and energy to always include me and create learning opportunities along the way. Outside of the clinic, I have been able to explore the island, going on different hikes and adventures every weekend, and trying new Hawaiian foods. From relaxing beach days to strenuous hikes that result in being covered in mud head to toe to the mask tan I have from working at the pool, I can truly say I have been enjoying all aspects of life here in Hawaii. 

As much as I have already seen and done here, there is still so much left to do before I have to leave and return to Boston. The other co-ops and I have put together a list of places to see on the island, and it seems with everything we check off the list we discover even more things to add. As many fun activities that we planned, some of the best things that have happened have been unplanned. Going on a hike and making a wrong turn led us to an even more beautiful lookout, driving to the beach for a sunset swim after getting off work early, and even helping an injured stranger make it to the end of a hike; all of these things were not on our to-do list but are still some of the most memorable experiences I’ve had.    

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?  Who is your greatest influence in your life?

Based on the experiences here at Fukuji & Lum as well as different physical therapy settings, I have seen the effect that a patient's comfort level and general happiness have on their outcomes. With that in mind, when I graduate from PT school in 2 years, I hope to be the kind of therapist that patients can rely on to always act in their best interests and put a smile on their faces despite the pain they might be in. From what I have learned so far, this trust is built through the small gestures we do: diving into the pool to look for a lost ring in the pouring rain, supporting a patient’s business on the weekends, or simply walking a patient to their car. Since the start of the pandemic, I think the whole world has started seeing healthcare workers in a different light, and I have been truly amazed at the kindness and compassion I have witnessed from both my coworkers and patients.  When I think about what kind of therapist I want to be in the future,  that is undoubtedly influenced by my parents and extended family who raised me to be the person I am now.  My grandparents are lifelong artists and have led such amazing and unique lives, and have truly shaped the way I see the world. They have always gone out of their way to show me the beauty in the world, whether that is through hiking in nature, taking my brother and I to their art exhibitions, or just hanging out and playing hearts. The fun, happy and love-filled life they created for themselves has inspired me to embrace who I am and do the same. 

 

By Deb Matsuura

Introducing our NEU Fall Semester PT Students!

Welcome Claire to the F&L 'Ohana!

Hello! I’m Claire, a graduate of Fox Chapel High School in Pittsburgh, PA and a current a third-year physical therapy student at Northeastern University in Boston.

From a young age, I was interested in pursuing a career in physical therapy. When I combined all of my interests and passions, physical therapy checked off all of my boxes: helping others, physically and mentally challenging activities, and medicine. Growing up, I had my fair share of bumps and bruises that taught me how valuable independence is in one’s own life. I became increasingly aware of the pains and struggles of the people around me and the toll it took on their physical, mental, and emotional health. Eventually, I grew passionate about the ability to function independently. In hindsight, it seems obvious to me that physical therapy is the right career for me, but I actually entered college as a product design major, which I quickly changed. Once I started taking physical therapy-related classes, I developed an ongoing gut feeling that I had chosen to follow the right path for me; since changing my major, I felt noticeably happier and looked forward to going to my classes.

While searching for co-ops this past spring, I felt that same surge of enthusiasm when I was introduced to Fukuji & Lum. Between reading about the company culture and hearing testimonies from previous F&L co-op students, I was excited to have found a company that embodies the same values that I hold. Someday, I hope to practice physical therapy with integrity, continued personal and professional growth, compassion, and joy.

 

My time at F&L, and Hawaii in general, has been full of opportunities for growth. I remember driving home from buying a car and seeing a sign on the side of the road that read “Drive with Aloha.” I couldn’t help but smile and feel a calming reassurance that good things were waiting ahead in the next six months. In order to fully immerse myself in the Hawaii experience, I have tried to push the boundaries of my comfort zone by trying new foods, like dried seaweed, and testing out therapeutic treatments that I had never done before, such as scar mobilization. I’ve even developed the confidence to (safely) explore the island on my own! I have a long list of activities to do and places to see while I’m here, which includes swimming, snorkeling, surfing, hiking, and swimming with sharks once the beaches, parks, and trails reopen. Most importantly, I want to be open to all of the unexpected opportunities that pop up along my adventure. I am grateful for all of the recommendations I have received form co-workers and patients, and I can’t wait to do as many of them as I can.

I am grateful for my family, who have supported me throughout my life by encouraging me to pursue my passions, persevere during difficult times, and find the positives every step of the journey. Without my parents, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and unofficial family, I can’t begin to imagine where I would be. I look forward to continuing to embrace Aloha Spirit, absorbing the plethora of knowledge around me, and accepting whatever else comes my way.

By Deb Matsuura

Introducing our NEU Fall Semester PT Students!

Welcome Helen to the F&L 'Ohana!

I attended South Burlington High School in South Burlington, Vermont, and I currently attend Northeastern University, in Boston, Massachusetts. I first became interested in physical therapy when I broke my ankle playing tennis in high school. After my cast was removed, I began physical therapy and my therapist treated my ankle and then sent me back to play again. When I returned to the court, I was plagued by knee problems, so I headed back to physical therapy, but this time to a different therapist. This therapist took a holistic approach to my treatment and explained how my knee problems were a result of muscle weakness from my ankle injury. She helped me return to my preinjury state, as well as further strengthen me and as a result, improve my performance on the court. I was fascinated by the fact that my ankle injury recovery involved strengthening so many different parts of my body, as I hadn’t realized just how intertwined everything was. When I graduate, I hope to become an outpatient physical therapist. I’m not yet sure what population of patients I’d like to work with, but I do know that I would like to take a very holistic approach to treating my patients so that I can help them recover as much as possible.

I won’t deny that when I first heard about this coop, I was interested by the fact that it was in Hawaii. However, the more I learned about it, the more I realized just how unique the opportunity was. I realized that moving 5000 miles away from home for a position that would introduce me to so many important parts of my field would help me grow so much both personally and professionally. And doing that all while dealing with a pandemic has only increased my opportunity to grow. Just over two months into this experience, I have learned and done more in the clinic than I ever thought I would in my six months here. It has been challenging to adjust to living and working here and explore the island during a pandemic, but the opportunities I have been given as a physical therapy coop student at Fukuji & Lum make it all worthwhile.

In my free time, I have been trying to explore the island of Oahu as much as possible. Before the current restrictions were put into place, I enjoyed watching the sunrise from Lanikai Beach and hiking the Lanikai Pillbox Hike and the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail. Since the restrictions have been increased, I have spent most of my time reading and enjoying the view of the ocean from our porch. As things (hopefully) start to open back up, I would really like to go snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, see the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens, and go to the Sunrise Shack. I have had some delicious açai bowls and smoothies since I have been here, as well as some really interesting fruit. I tried papaya and dragonfruit for the first time recently, and I am still not really sure how I feel about them.

As I continue to experience this amazing opportunity over the next several months, I feel so grateful for my mom and the influence she has had on me. She has always served as an example to me to work hard and always give your best effort. Despite her initial concerns about me moving thousands of miles away from her for six months, she has been nothing but supportive of my choice to pursue physical therapy as a career and take advantage of this opportunity offered by Fukuji & Lum. She has been so helpful to me throughout this experience and I feel lucky that I can FaceTime her and she’ll be there to hear about my day, give me advice, or even just give our cat Lucy some kisses for me.

Helen