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

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

Hello to Gail!

Gail tells us about a few of the things she has experienced in her first month in Hawaii and what she looks forward to with the rest of her Co-op journey.

Aloha! My name is Gail and I went to Hickory High School in Virginia and currently attend Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts for Physical Therapy. Growing up I knew I wanted to do something in the healthcare field but didn’t like the idea of spending little time with patients and using surgery.  or medication as a form of treatment. I was attracted to PT because of the interactions with patients, being able to use exercise as medicine, and getting to work with the patient through their entire rehab process.

I wanted to do my co-op in Hawaii because at Fukuji and Lum, they have a whole body approach when treating patients which is not common on the mainland. Hawaii had always been on my bucket list of places I wanted to visit and I could not say no to the opportunity to spend six months on Oahu.

So far my experience has been nothing but extraordinary! In the first month I have surfed on the North Shore, swam with sharks with One Ocean, gone on hikes, snorkeled with turtles, and experienced many of the beautiful beaches the island has to offer.  While I wouldn’t consider anything I have eaten in Hawaii strange, I have had the freshest poke ever and it was delicious. Before the six months are over I want to visit all the main islands, take hula dancing lessons, hike stairway to heaven, take the ATV tour at Kualoa Ranch, visit Pearl Harbor, and continue experiencing the Aloha spirit!

Inside the clinic I have been able to experience aquatic therapy and PRI which I never got to experience during my observation hours. As a PT I hope to work in an outpatient orthopedic clinic and work with athletes. I hope to emphasize quality over quantity when it comes to patient care and use a whole body approach similar to Fukuji and Lum. 

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

Aloha, Olivia!

Aloha! How’s it!? I’m Olivia, I’m originally from Guilford, Connecticut and go to Northeastern University  to achieve my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. I have the pleasure of completing my co-op at Fukuji  and Lum so I will be living it up in Hawaii for six months! I am so grateful to have the opportunity to  prepare for my career in such an enriching and loving environment surrounded by such welcoming  people that I will be able to call my Ohana. My fellow students and I were told a mantra that we cannot say no during our time out here, so I’m stoked to see whatever Hawaii will throw my way. But please, no  more cockroaches! 

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

Back in high school, when I was choosing a major for my undergraduate university, I knew in my heart  that I wanted to go into the medical field and be a physical therapist. The profession upholds such core  values that I wholeheartedly believe in. I have always been fond of the phrase and way of living that  exercise is medicine. Our bodies are miracles, and it’s only right that we treat ourselves with the best  self-love and self-care. My favorite quote is that “our biggest commitment must always be to ourselves.”  I think it is wonderful and so humbling that physical therapy allows me to be an influence for someone  else to help care for and commit to themselves. I hope to be the type of therapist that will inspire my  patients to prioritize their health and view their body as strong, capable, and most importantly, resilient.  I treasure how vulnerable patient care can be, and I hope to be a trustworthy and uplifting guide for all  that will let me. I believe I will be able to cultivate the dream I have, and my experience at Fukuji and  Lum will prepare me to accomplish all my goals. 

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

I think this answer is pretty self-explanatory. I mean, it’s Hawaii! But what really drew me to fulfill my  co-op in Hawaii was the Fukuji and Lum ohana and their values. Through research and communication  from past co-op students, I was told how this experience is life changing. The physical therapists will  challenge me and expect me to step out of my comfort zone to ultimately make me think like a clinician  and speak with conviction. After my interview, I knew in my heart that I was destined to come to Hawaii  and not only grow professionally, but personally. In the past month I have been here, that has been the  ultimate truth. I have been challenged in the best way possible, and truly feel like each day has been fulfilled physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I am so excited to see what else Hawaii and Fukuji and  Lum can teach me in the next five months I am here. 

What is on your to-do list while here? 

While I’m here, I hope to gain more confidence with my clinical skills and learn something from every  person I come into contact with. Furthermore, I hope to experience all of Earth’s wonderful creations while I am in this magical place. From swimming, surfing, cliff jumping, hiking, going to farmer’s markets,  and basking in the sun, I want to leave Hawaii with no regrets. Maybe I’ll even be talked into skydiving. This environment has made me feel so connected to the Earth and feel like I am home. There must be  something in the water 🙂 

Mahalo, be well <3  

Olivia

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!

Aloha Angela!

Angela tells us about how she became interested in becoming a physical therapist, what drew her to take this opportunity with F&L, and why she is loving her experience so far.

Hello everyone! I am Angela from Sammamish, Washington. I am currently in my fourth year of six at Northeastern University studying Physical Therapy. When I first accepted my offer to work here, it almost seemed too good to be true that I would be escaping the Boston winter to live in Hawaii for six months. I didn’t fully believe it until my plane physically landed on the island, and sometimes I still feel like I’m dreaming. So far, I am happy to be working at Fukuji & Lum Physical Therapy in the LA clinic and pool and have enjoyed getting to know my coworkers and all the patients. 

What drew you to physical therapy?

Though I had many interests in different potential careers while applying to colleges, the one thing I knew I wanted to do was to help people and take care of people directly. I grew up swimming, playing tennis, and running, which initiated my interest in human anatomy and physiology. I combined my hope to help others with those interests and realized that a career in healthcare, specifically physical therapy, would allow me to make a difference in a setting that suited me. Learning more about health through my college courses has also further confirmed my choice of a career in PT, and it has been so fascinating applying what I have learned in class with what I see daily at F&L!

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

I wanted to co-op in Hawaii because I knew this opportunity would allow me to make the most of my co-op experience both in and outside of work. As much as I love Boston, I felt that I was too comfortable there and wanted to seek an experience where I could be challenged in a completely new environment. I have always been an adventurous person and loved traveling to new places, so this was the perfect way for me to immerse myself in another culture.

I worked at an inpatient setting for my first co-op, so for my last co-op I knew that I wanted work experience at an outpatient clinic. After talking to past co-ops of F&L I quickly learned that F&L was more than just a typical outpatient clinic, but a company that strives to treat everyone like a family. I knew that living and working in a place where the culture is so generous and kind-hearted would help me grow into a better future PT. Even though I’ve only been here for a month, I have already witnessed so much kindness from everyone at F&L and learned so much. My co-workers really go out of their way to teach me different exercises and explain their reasoning behind different treatment options for patients. For example, in my first week of work, Connor showed me how to cup and use Graston during her free time, and Colleen always has continued to keep me busy and let me go through exercises with patients. The pandemic may have slowed the pace of the clinic, but it is actually helping me understand the patients’ cases and PT’s rationale in more depth. Just observing how the staff treat their patients has also given me insight on how to go above and beyond in patient care. From the smaller acts such as walking a patient back to their car to make sure they are safe, to bigger acts such as supporting a patient’s local business on the weekend, the staff have set an example on how patient care is more than treating an injury. I hope to bring back this perspective and build on this for the rest of my career. 

What has been your experience like so far?

Outside of work, my experience in Hawaii has been so fun! With the pandemic, I am very grateful that I can still safely do many of the activities I have hoped to do before, since there is so much to do outdoors. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other co-ops and we have already had some pretty unforgettable experiences such as driving into a flying chicken, and getting bullied by the waves at Bellows (there was sand in my hair for days). I have quickly learned that I am allergic to mosquitos, and that bug spray and sunscreen are my best friends. We have been on a few hikes such as Lanikai Pillbox for sunrise, Lulumahu Falls, and Koko Head Arch. We love going to the beach (Castles is our favorite!), and have tried so many delicious food places such as the soft serve from Banan and poke from Fresh Catch. I have also really enjoyed being able to capture photos of the different beautiful landscapes, and hope to take photos during more hikes in the next several months. I would like to kayak to the Mokes, and possibly even swim to the Mokes if I ever build up my endurance. I want to hike Stairway to Heaven and go to the Pink Pillbox. We also made plans to skydive on our last day in Hawaii. 

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

Being exposed to both an inpatient and outpatient PT setting, I am still having a hard time figuring out which setting I like best. I love being in a hospital setting, but I also love the type of problem solving PTs do in an outpatient setting. Travel PT once I graduate may be an opportunity for me to work in both settings as well as experience new places. However, from both classes and co-op, it is safe to say that I am interested in pediatrics and neurology, and may specialize in one of them in the future. I still have a lot of time to think about what kind of therapist I want to be and still have so much to learn.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

The greatest influence in my life is probably my parents and grandma. They inspired me to work hard and have integrity, and make the most of every opportunity. Hearing about how hard they worked to move from Taiwan to America for further education has inspired me greatly to never give up and follow my passions. My grandma had a challenging upbringing and faced many difficulties throughout her life, but when you meet her, she is full of joy. Seeing how positive she constantly is encourages me to look at life differently and see the good in every situation.