Marian pursues physical therapy at Bridgewater College


Photo Courtesy of Isabella Marian

Isabella Marian (right) gets ready for her high school senior year Homecoming.

Isabella Marian has faced many challenges throughout her time at Bridgewater College. She recently graduated from high school in 2015. Currently a junior, she has aspirations of continuing on to graduate school and becoming a physical therapist.

Marian went into college with a Health Exercise Science major. Marian was aware that the major she chose would present challenges.

“I knew going into this major and career path that it was going to be hard, and many people have told me. The reality of this major being hard is seen each and every year as the classes get harder and more and more time is required to be put into it,” Marian said.

Unlike many students in college, Marian still lives at her parents’ house in Harrisonburg and commutes to Bridgewater College. She continues to work at her parent’s insurance agency, but she had to quit her previous retail job because of the increasing demand of her college classes.

“My major requires classes like physics, health exercise psychology, physiology and so on. Working and obtaining observation hours for grad school takes a lot of time so time management is a big on and keeping up with all the classes,” Marian said.

Marian continues to cherish the people that have surrounded her since her high school graduation.

“This may sound super duper cheesy, but honestly [the most amazing thing that has happened since high school is] the friendships I’ve made and the friendships that have solidified after high school,” Marian said.

Marian’s situation made it hard to find friends during her start at college.

“Everyone tells you that you make tons of friends when you go to college. Me being a commuter makes it harder because I don’t live on campus, so I have to take the extra step of putting myself out there to meet new people,” Marian said. “The first day I was actually on campus for welcome week, I thought I wasn’t going to make any friends at college. The first person who talked to me asked me what dorm I was living in and I told them that I’m a commuter and they said, ‘Oh that sucks for you!’ The second person I met introduced me to her roommate because we had the same major. We talked and she asked where my roommate was and I said that I was a commuter and she said, ‘Oh, now we can’t study together,’ and I was confused because I’m still on campus more than I am at home, so why does me being a commuter effect hanging out and studying? I actually called my mom and cried because I hadn’t made any friends and my mom told me that I just haven’t found my people yet and I need to keep my chin up,”

It didn’t take long for Marian to find a group of people that she was able to connect with.

“Towards the end of welcome week I found a group of commuters who I still talk to when I see them on campus, and I made some friends in my PDP group who called themselves the ‘nice residents’ when I told them about my previous experience with trying to make friends. So that just shows you that moms are right and my mom was right with me just needing to find my people,” Marian said.

Marian’s biggest struggle however, is managing time and classes. Classes including physics, health exercise psychology and physiology are all required for Marian’s major. Marian has to obtain observation hours (like an unpaid internship) to go to graduate school, something required to become a physical therapist.

Marian was influenced by many people and activities to come to the decision to try to pursue a job in physical therapy.

“Ever since being in Mr. Bair’s honors biology class I knew I wanted to do something in a career that was science-based. Being a dancer, I know how much of an outlet sports can be for kids and especially students. Looking at colleges and figuring out what I wanted led me to physical therapy. I loved the idea of being able to help people of all ages, and it involved the health sciences, which is still in the guidelines of what I wanted,” Marian said.

Some advice Marian gives to high schoolers is that high school isn’t your deciding factor in life, so don’t stress to an unhealthy point.

“Don’t stress over high school. Who is who isn’t a big deal after high school. Also, while your classes are preparing you for college, they aren’t your only determinants. You get into college, yes, based on grades, but also everything else you do whether you’re a student athlete, band kid or are a working student,” Marian said. “I was an awkward, anxious high schooler and I stressed over everything. Studies, social life, drama, my extracurriculars, you name it. Just enjoy being young and not paying college tuition. You have college to stress over everything and lose sleep over everything.”

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