Reflections – Part 4

dana-headshot_newBy Dana Mandel, PT, PCS



I would like to thank everyone that has responded to me about my series of posts in the previous months’ Lifespan E-newsletters.  I have continued to appreciate your congratulations and enjoy learning of your perspectives and experiences related to my 30 years of practice.  Given the interest and response, I thought I would continue to share the story.


When I left you last month, I was slogging away from my interview at the Hunter College Physical Therapy Program after being completely soaked by a clandestine pool of water hidden in the ceiling above my seat.  Although I was accepted at Hunter College, I chose to attend the State University of New York at Stony Brook Physical Therapy Program.  Their facility was state of the art, the location was convenient, and thanks to scholarships, the expenses were minimal.


When I attended my first day at SUNY Stony Brook, I was surprised to learn that of the 40 students selected, 38 were “non-traditional” students preparing for a second career in physical therapy.  The average age of the students in my class was 32.  I found this to be reassuring, as I was married at the time and had a small home and commercial cleaning business operating in Eastern Long Island.  We were living in a small basement apartment overlooking the Long Island Sound in Rocky Point, NY, and my wife was commuting to Manhattan on daily basis to teach Special Education.


At our opening reception, all of the medical students and allied health professions students were assembled in a large auditorium.  The lecturer making the introductory remarks asked us all to look at the person seated to our right, and then to look at the person seated on our left.  He informed us that due to the challenging programs we were about to begin, one of those people would most probably not be attending graduation.  I sincerely hoped that I would not be one of those individuals.
As promised, the initial coursework at Stony Brook was very demanding and loaded with technical health science classes and labs in physiology, histology, anatomy, microbiology.  We did lose a few classmates that could not shoulder the burden, or lost interest early on.


Stay tuned until next month…