By Deb Matsuura

Reflecting on the Co-Op Experience

Megumi describes her Co-op experience as GRATEFUL

What was the one experience that you think was the highlight of the experience? One in the clinic and one outside the clinic. 
Completing my second coop at Fukuji and Lum in Hawaii was an experience that I will be forever grateful for. I would also say it has been the best experience during my time at Northeastern. Taking time away from Boston and having a completely different environment for 6 months allowed me to grow and make great memories. In the clinic, I enjoyed working on my communication skills when getting to know the patients and teaching them exercises. The patients were very welcoming and it was fun to chat with them about their local recommendations of favorite food places and hikes. Getting to talk about Japan with them and talking to some in Japanese was also memorable and fulfilling. 

Outside of the clinic, I remember some crazy adventures like climbing Koko Head before work, skydiving and shark diving on the same day, getting lost on hikes, swimming to the middle of the ocean to see dolphins, and when Alltrails.com would underestimate the difficulty of the trails which put me in some rather dangerous situations than I would have preferred. Crossing off my Hawaii bucket list activities regularly was very exciting and made me appreciate each day of my long but short visit. 

If you had to choose one word about your experience, what word would you choose?
One word I would use to describe my experience would be grateful. As much as I was excited to have the opportunity to live in Hawaii, moving to Hawaii for 6 months sounded risky. However, getting out of my comfort zone with new adventures outside of the clinic and in the clinic, I feel grateful for the people that made this the amazing opportunity that it was. There were many moving parts to make this experience possible starting with my family and the welcoming people that I met and got close to, so I will remember to appreciate how this was possible. The result of taking these risks and trying new things brought me to Hawaii and Fukuji and Lum which will boost my confidence to challenge myself in the future as well.

Who had the most impact on you during your time here?
Everyone I got to work with impacted me in many ways, especially those at the Honolulu clinic. I got to learn from a diverse range of treatment styles and personalities through each PT and PTA. This helped me begin navigating my interests and style on how to treat and interact with patients. I appreciated the time devoted by the therapists to teach and explain their logic and tips for their treatments which I hope to be able to do for other students in the future as well. They encouraged me to ask more questions, provided opportunities to learn, and let me practice hands-on techniques. Being a clinical student next year, the open environment here has prepared me to be more involved and proactive with my learning. In addition, being back in classes now, I have especially been grateful for the learning experience in the clinic because I now have some familiarity with concepts and techniques has been very helpful.

From this experience, what intentions will you have going forward with your career?
With my career, I hope to integrate the welcoming and family culture from Fukuji and Lum and Hawaii in my practice. Going forward, I know I have made many life-long relationships that I can reach out to for anything which I am very thankful for. Although I miss everyone and life in Hawaii, I am motivated to get back in the classroom to learn more and become a PT myself. 

By Deb Matsuura

Reflecting on the Co-Op Experience

Lauren shares her favorite memories from her Co-op experience in Hawaii.

Describe a favorite highlight or memory of your experiences in the clinic and outside of work?
Our last day on the island, we met up with one of our coworkers/ friends Shelly. The six of us woke up at dawn, hopped in two cars and drove up to the most western portion of the island near Ka’ena Point. Shelly knew a small beach where dolphins usually circle in the morning. We had seen them from the shore when we were assembling our gear. We put on our fins and snorkel gear and swam out a few hundred feet off of shore. We waited and waited and after about 45 minutes we were about ready to call it quits, when all of a sudden we heard their high pitched calls. We raced back out just in time to catch them swimming by. It was a great way to culminate all of the amazing adventures and experiences I had throughout my time.

My favorite memory inside the clinic came from the Kailua Open House. The staff at Kailua worked really hard to prepare to show off the clinic to the entire staff. We prepared games, including pin the tail on the bunny with a psychedelic tie-dye bunny rabbit. Everyone took turns trying to pin the tail on the bunny with very little success, many people didn't even hit the same wall. It was my greatest memory from my time at Fukuji and Lum.

Who had the most impact on you during your time here?
My supervisor Brynn had a profound impact on my experience in Hawaii. Not only was she acgreat resource for any problems I had at the clinic but she also came to be one of my closest friends in my time there. We spent many nights playing board games or going to the beach with the rest of the co-ops. It was great to have both a mentor and a friend to go to when I had an issue. Not to mention our fiercely competitive Wordle competition.

What was the most surprising thing that you did not expect to learn?
I learned so much about Hawaiian culture not only through coworkers but many of my patients took the time to enlighten me with all of their stories and tales. One of my patients was an older gentleman who grew up right next to the current Kailua clinic, he watched Kailua town turn from a scrappy neighborhood into what it is today. One day I sneezed during our session and he said “Kihe a mauli ola” and explained that it means breath of life.

If you had to choose one word about your experience, what word would you choose?
If I had to choose one word to describe my experience at Fukuji and Lum and with my time in Hawaii, I would choose malama. Malama means to take care of and tend to. Everyone that I met in my time in Hawaii was watching over others, putting everyone else before themselves, which is really the spirit of Hawaii that I felt deeply when I was there. No matter wether it is celebrating a birthday, or sharing laughs on aloha friday, everyone's purpose is to serve others and make them feel loved.

From this experience, what intentions will you have going forward with your career?
My experience with Fukuji and Lum has given me a great idea of what a company should look like. From top to bottom the entire company treats each other as ohana, with love and respect for patients and coworkers alike. I will carry this philosophy of business into whatever company I end up at, trying to help my coworkers feel like they are at home within their work environment.

By Abby

Reflecting on the Co-Op Experience

Julia Reflects on Her Time in Hawaii

Julia shares about her experience as a co-op and how it continues to have a positive impact on her education and passion for physical therapy. 

Thinking back on my time in Hawaii, I can easily say that spending six months working at Fukuji & Lum was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Going into this experience I was so excited to see the outpatient side of physical therapy for the first time and apply and expand my knowledge. Within the six short months I was at Fukuji & Lum I learned more than I ever could have imagined and feel so much more confident and prepared heading into my upcoming classes and future clinical rotations. I am so thankful for the WORC crew who welcomed me with open arms and made my time at Fukuji & Lum so memorable. The therapists at WORC were all amazing mentors and not only challenged me as a student, but also supported and trusted me to apply my skills inside the clinic. Not only were they great teachers, but also such a fun crew of people to work alongside and made leaving Hawaii that much harder. I'm also grateful for my exposure to aquatic therapy and seeing the contrast between the calm, slower moving aquatic sessions and the fast paced, busy days at WORC and coming to love and appreciate my time spent in both. Overall, I am so thankful to be a part of such an amazing company that truly became ‘ohana. From my experience inside the clinic, to time spent with coworkers outside of work at the beach, on the sandbar, at game nights and everything in between, I will forever have a special place in my heart for everyone at Fukuji & Lum.

Outside of the clinic, I was eager to see and do as much as I possibly could in my short time on Oahu. When I first got to Hawaii I wanted to do things that got me out of my comfort zone such as go skydiving, swimming with sharks and on ridge hikes. I'm happy to say I accomplished all of that and much more and couldn't be more happy with all I got out of this experience. I fell in love with hiking during my time in Oahu and hiked well over 30 incredible, challenging and beautiful trails. Out of all of them, I'd have to say I loved hiking the stairway to heaven with all the coops the most out of any. Spending 11 miles hiking up through muddy trenches, intense wind and along narrow ridges was an incredible experience that made me so appreciative for all my body could do. And accomplishing this alongside each of the other co-ops made it even more special! Other than hiking, I am going to miss chasing the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, snorkeling and swimming with turtles, dolphins, and fish, and visiting all the beautiful beaches & lookout spots around the island. I'm already missing the people, food, nature and overall beauty I got to immerse myself in during my six months in Oahu- and I'm looking for any excuse to get myself back there!!

This experience wouldn't have been what it was if it weren't for the 4 other co-ops I was with- Annie, Meg, Lauren and Holland who all deserve a shout out. It was an incredible experience getting to know and live with my classmates, as well as explore the island, try new foods and meet new people with them. We had an amazing 6 months together packed full of adventures, good eats and lots of laughs. Thank you ladies for being the best co-workers, classmates and friends!

Going forward, I am excited to utilize all the new skills and knowledge I have for my upcoming classes, clinicals and future as a physical therapist. The relationships I made both with therapists and patients helped to shape me into an even better future clinician & I appreciate learning from all the diverse perspectives and personalities I encountered in my time at Fukuji & Lum. I am forever grateful to have had this opportunity to help further shape into the well educated, compassionate and patient centered  physical therapist I hope to be in a few short years.

Thanks for the best time and the best memories Oahu! Missing Hawaii & everyone at Fukuji & Lum every day!

By Abby

Reflecting on the Co-Op Experience

Holland Reflects on Her Time in Hawaii

We are always excited to hear about our students' experiences and learn about their favorite parts while in Hawaii and working with Fukuji & Lum staff. Holland tells us what impacted her the most and the highlights throughout her six months as a co-op.

What was the one experience that you think was the highlight of the experience? One in the clinic and one outside the clinic.

Since coming back two months ago, so many people have asked me what the best part of my time in Hawaii was, and I still struggle to come up with an answer because the whole experience was so surreal and amazing! One experience that sticks out was the open house at the newly renovated Kailua clinic, the clinic reopened during my first week so it was so much fun to share the space with everyone and get to celebrate all the hard work that went into it all together. That was the first event I attended with the whole company and it was so great to really feel like part of the ‘ohana. Outside of the clinic, the highlight would have to be hiking to Moanalua valley trail to stairway to heaven with the other four coops. It was my favorite hike on the island, and it was so special to accomplish it all together (even after a few scary moments on the way up)!

Who had the most impact on you during your time here?

It’s impossible to pick just one person! All the PTs, PTAs, techs, and of course the other coops made the experience what it was. I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time working with Rachel Hyland at the Kroc center and got to learn so much from her about PT, leadership, and life on all our drives out to Kapolei. The whole staff at the Kailua clinic was so amazing and always willing to take time out of their day to teach me new skills and test my knowledge, I learned so much from every one of them. Most of all, the other coops made the experience so much fun both in and out of the clinic—we did so much together and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls to share this chapter of our lives!

What was the most surprising thing that you did not expect to learn?

I didn’t expect that I would learn to love orthopedics as much as I did! On one of my first days in the clinic, one of the therapists taught me about scapulohumeral rhythm and explained how the thoracic spine can affect shoulder mobility; this helped me to realize just how much everything is connected and how the body really is a puzzle. I love how intellectually challenging ortho can be, and as I learned more throughout my coop and began to be able to put the pieces of the puzzle together I really grew to love it.

From this experience, what intentions will you have going forward with your career?

In my first blog post, I said I hoped to be the kind of therapist who is a great educator. After my six months at Fukuji & Lum, that intention has not changed. In addition to educating patients in order to help them achieve the best possible outcomes, I also understand how important education is for the profession as a whole. The work that Fukuji & Lum is doing to educate people on the value of PT as part of their standard healthcare is so valuable and unique, and I know this kind of education will help to grow the profession so much. I hope that in my career I can do similar work to educate people on all that PT can be and to continue to advance the profession. Additionally, I hope to be a mentor and educator for students. I learned so much from everyone at Fukuji & Lum and am so appreciative of their mentorship, I can only hope to pay it forward in my career.

If you had to choose one word about your experience, what word would you choose?

Adventure! This coop was truly the adventure of a lifetime, when I first came to Hawaii I made it my goal to leave no stone unturned and between skydiving, swimming with turtles, dolphins, and sharks, 60+ hikes, and chasing countless sunrises and sunsets I truly made the most of my experience and didn’t waste a moment.

By Abby

Welcoming our Fall NEU PT Students!

Hello to Alex!

Alex tells us about his initial motivation to become a physical therapist and how important his parents are to him. He's excited to explore the islands and grow as a PT student during his time as a co-op with us.

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

I grew up in a city called Quincy, Massachusetts and attended North Quincy High school. Then I went to University of Massachusetts Amherst and got my bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. After taking a gap year after graduating, I am currently attending Northeastern University’s DPT program.

What drew you to physical therapy?

I had always enjoyed watching the Patriots win all their Superbowls and I wanted one of the rings. One of the ways to do that was to find my way on the field. I had seen athletic trainers and PTs run on the field and get their 15 seconds of fame and that’s what I wanted at first. After my first job in an office, I realized that I couldn’t sit still and needed to be moving around. Once I was exposed to working in a PT clinic, I really enjoyed working with patients.  Getting to meet new people every day and listen to everyone’s life experiences while helping them brings excitement to my life.

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

I don’t think that I have had anything strange since arriving in Hawaii, maybe raw octopus? I would say I’m a very adventurous eater and love food, so I am always down to try some new foods.

What is on your to-do list while here?

My to-do list while here is to be able to go to the 3 other large islands. I would also love to swim with dolphins, skydive, surf and maybe swim with sharks. Also what I’ve been accomplishing the most, to eat as much good food as possible.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

The therapist that I want to be is a trustworthy, dedicated and reliable therapist that patients are able to communicate with and trust. Being able to connect with patients in that way is what an amazing feeling and is what I hope I can do in the future.

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

Why did I want to do co-op in Hawaii? Because WHY NOT!!  I had been to Hawaii last year and I loved it, so why not come back for 6 months this time. I am fortunate and grateful to have such a strong support system back at home to be able to be living this dream. Even though I am here to learn and work, I feel like I am on a 6-month vacation.

What has been your experience like so far?

My experience so far has been a dream. Everyone here is so welcoming and friendly. I am grateful that Northeastern has such a connection with the F&L family. The weather has been amazing, the beaches have been extravagant, the views have been fabulous, and the food has been impeccable.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

The greatest influence in my life are my parents. Coming to America from a 3rd world country and being able to give my brothers and I the life that we have had is just unfathomable. I will forever be grateful of what my parents have done for my family. They have worked so hard in their life and deserve nothing but the world and that is what my brothers and I are aiming to do for them.

By Abby

Welcoming our Fall NEU PT Students!

Welcome, Samantha!

Samantha grew up on the East Coast and was interested in seeing other parts of the country and experiencing something new. She tells us about her co-op experience so far and what has driven her to become a physical therapist.

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

I went to North Attleboro High School in North Attleboro Massachusetts. I then went to Syracuse University and got my undergraduate degree in Health and Exercise Science with a minor in psychology. I am currently pursuing my DPT at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. 

What drew you to physical therapy?

Sports have always been a huge part of my life, so I originally was drawn to physical therapy while watching professional sports and seeing the PTs and athletic trainers on the sidelines. I thought that I would pursue working with a professional team, but after working as a summer camp counselor for the past 6 years, I definitely want to continue working with them in my career.

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

After growing up and going to school in the northeast, I wanted to experience living in a different environment and embracing a whole new culture. I also love being active and enjoying the outdoors and so far, the hikes here have been absolutely incredible! Aside from the location, previous co-op students have had nothing but great things to say about Fukuji and Lum so I knew this would be a great professional learning experience. 

What has your experience been like so far?

In short, it has been amazing! We have been exploring beaches, hikes, food, and everything else the island has to offer. My favorite thing we have done so far is the Maunawili Falls Trail. 

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

Definitely poi from the Waiahole Poi Factory. It had a very interesting flavor and texture, but I would try it again as a side with a Kalua pig plate!

What is on your to-do list while here?

There are many things that I have on my to-do list here in Hawaii but my top three are diving with sharks, learning how to surf, and skydiving! I also want to try as much local food as possible. 

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

In any setting, I hope to be a caring, reliable, and talented therapist. Ultimately, I hope to become a pediatric physical therapist helping kids to reach their full potential. 

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

My greatest influence is my best friend and brother John. He is only 2 and half years older than me but he is the one that got me interested in working with kids. We worked together at a sports camp at the North Attleboro YMCA for 6-7 summers and it was such a fun and rewarding job being able to make lasting connections with the kids while making lifelong memories with my brother. We grew up playing every sport together so working together to teach kids the same sports we love was awesome. 

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.