Paulina Tapia

Paulina Tapia

Physical Therapist (student)

Not currently employed

Hampton, VA USA

Tell yourself that you belong on the career path you chose. You will get there one way or another if that is your true passion.


My road in life has been direct.
Came into undergrad as a bio major wanting to do premed
Didn't get the best grades my first year and thought maybe med school wasn't for me.
One of my close relatives was diagnosed with cancer and I spent a lot of time in the hospital with them and their physical therapist helping them recover.
Through talking with the PT I learned what daily life was like in that job and really liked the idea of helping people and getting to watch them improve.
Worked as a volunteer with UCI medical center to help with out-patient care and general care, gained experience, eventually moved to in-patient care
Internship with in motion-OC for aquatic therapy in Irvine
Worked for 2 years in Long Beach as a PT aid for more experience
Started grad school in VIrginia
Keep following my journey


Physical Therapist (student)

I am currently in grad school in Hampton University and am finishing up my clinicals (test runs in various PT jobs)

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Helping People

Day to Day

I go into work from 9-5 at a hospital and see around 7-10 patients a day. Currently I'm working on in-patient care which means the patients I see stay in the hospital. While a lot of my job is taking measurements of them and helping them heal, it is equally focused on listening to and helping them cope with their personal problems since they like to vent. I build up a relationship with these patients.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

Gaining experience and taking all of the tests you need. There's a high demand for physical therapists and employers mostly just care if you're certified or not.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:


The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"A major discouragement was my grades since they were slightly below many of the averages for schools I applied to. I would criticize myself for not doing better in my classes and wished I could retake them or fix them somehow. "

Challenges I Overcame

School Stress
First-Generation College Student


How did you know this is what you wanted to do for the REST of your life?

Asked by Anonymous Student

Since she knows she enjoys helping people without the need of pharmaceuticals and will continue to like it, she isn't daunted by doing it the "rest of her life" and the many different areas of PT make it possible to switch easily to a new environment