Michelle Theis- Black: Student Spotlight

Michelle Theis- Black

Meet Physical Therapy Assistant student Michelle Theis- Black.  We had the pleasure of sitting down with her last month to discuss CBD College, Physical Therapy, and her career.  Check out the rest of her interview below!

Why did you choose CBD College?

I chose CBD College because it had an accredited PTA Program, which was most important to me.  And as a bonus, it was close to home.

How did you decide to pursue Physical Therapy?  What does Physical Therapy entail?

This is a second career for me, the first being graphic design.  I enjoyed graphic design, but tired of sitting all day in front of a computer.  I want to do something that truly helps people.  I try to live a healthy, active life with a focus in sports, so I thought initially that personal training might be a good fit.  I got my certification with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and fell in love with anatomy and human movement.  I knew I wanted to take it to another level.  I thought physical therapy would be the perfect next step.  Physical therapists are experts in human movement.  Movement is the key to good health.  I want to help people move better and prevent injury so they can stay active, be healthier and enjoy a better quality of life.

Who is your favorite instructor at CBD?

I truly enjoy all of my instructors at CBD, the PTA Program has an amazing faculty.  If I had to pick just one, it would be Dr. Kathleen McGuire.  She’s challenging, tough and pushes us.  I like that, I enjoy a challenge.  I also love her teaching style.  She plans everything thoroughly, from organized lectures to homework to lab time.

What is your most difficult class at CBD?

Health Conditions.  Taught by Dr. McGuire.  There are some days I sit in lecture and think, are we studying to be medical doctors or what?  It’s a pretty intense amount of information.

What would you tell anyone who is interested in becoming a Physical Therapy Assistant?

Be ready for school to be your sole focus in life.  Above family, kids, outside job(s), everything.  It’s a lot of work.  There’s a tremendous amount of information to absorb in a short amount of time.  Have good study skills going into the program.  I keep telling myself, it’s only 2 years, and at the end, I’ll have a rewarding career and a steady income.

Where do you work outside of school?

I am very fortunate that I do not have to work outside of school.  It’s something I planned for before I enrolled.  I knew school would take a great deal of time, and I was right.  Several of my classmates juggle work and school.  Kudos to them because I don’t know how they do it.

Dr. Giffin, your program director, mentioned you are involved in service and professional activities outside of school.  Can you elaborate?

The California chapter of the APTA (American Physical Therapist Association) has many specialty groups. One being the SIG(Special Interest Group) which creates a forum for DPTs and PTAs to meet, share ideas and promote the field of physical therapy. They were seeking volunteers to be a liaison for CBD PTA program and I thought it would be a great start to get involved in my new profession. I hope to be more involved in the future after the class work part is complete.

What’s the most rewarding thing about balancing work, study, and family?

I think I appreciate the time I get to spend with my husband and friends even more. It makes any free time together that much more special.

What are your favorite things to do outside of the classroom?

Anything that keeps me outside – hiking, beach time, walking in the neighborhood, happy hour or dinner with friends. Mostly hiking though.

When is your expected graduation date?

Our last clinical rotation is this December, then a few classes to prepare for the Board exam and official graduation in January 2018.

Why would you recommend someone to choose CBD?

I would recommend CBD to anyone first and foremost for the faculty. They have hired some top notch professionals in their field and I wouldn’t want to learn from anyone else. The whole CBD experience from day one has really been great. From Admissions to Financial Aid, to everything in between, it’s been a smooth process. Everyone is truly there to help you and support your success.

Before you go, would you like to give a shout out to anyone?

I’d like to give a shout out to my whole class- PTA Cohort 3!!! (especially Natalie, Warren, Jeremy, James, Matthew, Brian Woogs, and Otto). I feel like I got really lucky to be a part of this class. I couldn’t ask for a more fun group to go through this experience. We make each other laugh and really try and support each other every day.