A very lovely teacher asked me and my classmates why we chose to study physiotherapy. Upon hearing the question my friend and I burst out laughing, a laugh that spoke volume. Why you may ask? Because we both knew physiotherapy was never an option we wanted, we just had to do it.
I have always wanted to be a healthcare worker. Something about the stethoscope and the scrubs got me. Watching Greys Anatomy and every other medical show I could find, I resolved to become a medical doctor. Unfortunately, due to some issues, I was not able to pursue that. My lovely mother then suggested I study physiotherapy. I threw a huge fit. “I don’t want to become just a masseuse,” I argued. My mother ignored me and enrolled me in the university. Three words.
I HATED IT. No hate was too weak of a word. I loathed it. I tried my best to pick an interest in it, but I couldn’t.
Then the second year came by. Now by this time, we were doing all the hardcore courses needed for physiotherapy e.g., Kinesiology, Anatomy 3, Physiotherapy 1. It was overwhelming and I honestly could not tell you I knew what I was studying. I just read to pass the exams.
It was not until the first clinical practice that I realized I didn’t hate the course and with each patient, Physiotherapy became more interesting. “Ok it’s not so bad, maybe I can work in this field for a while and quit”. This was my thought all through after experiencing my first practice. I even looked for television shows related to Physiotherapy, just to douse my curiosity. One show that stood out was a Korean drama called “A Poem A Day”. It was then I understood this was more than a ‘massage’ degree. This is a course that helps people in pain, just like a doctor, but with a different approach.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and sadly all the hospital practices went back online. I was so demoralized, but that didn’t last for long as after my third-year 2nd semester during summer, I applied for an Erasmus program and I spent 2 months in Zell am See, Austria.
After 2-3 sessions with us, patients who could not walk became better. This blew my mind. My most memorable patient was a 75-year-old man who had a stroke but was a very active man before his ailment. He was unable to walk or do functional things like going to the toilet, walking, sitting, etc. on his own. After one week with 30-minute sessions each day, he talked, walked, and ate independently. This among other factors made me solidify my intent on working as a Physiotherapist. I belonged here.
Now, I am a final year student, and I can say with all my heart, that I love what I study. I have hopes of going into Sports Therapy because this, is the area I love the most. Orthopedics.
So, I am here to tell you, if at any point, Physiotherapy has crossed your mind, NO, it is not about massage. It is so much more than that. You will be able to change the course of someone’s life. I hope everyone finds their passion and follows it. If that means Physiotherapy is the one for you, DO IT.
You can check more about my Erasmus training on my Instagram @lifewithwahida
Written by Wahida Hafsat Mohammed
International Student Ambassador from Nigeria
University of Pécs, Faculty of Health Sciences