Finding Her Place: Maryanne Lazore ‘21
"Utica College is definitely a place for people to flourish and learn more about themselves and who they want to be. It’s a place for people to find what they want to do and have so many opportunities to explore that path."
Ever since her first year of high school, Maryanne Lazore ‘21 knew she wanted to be a physical therapist, but her interest in using such treatments to help others has its roots even earlier - when she was just 10 years old.
“I first started to gain interest in the field of physical therapy when I was ten years old. My grandma had to go to physical therapy for her arm and I would go with her every Tuesday and Thursday to her appointments and observe the physical therapists. This is where it all began. Witnessing her progress was amazing and I thought that it must have been so wonderful to be the one helping her along the way.”
Beginning the summer of her sophomore year of high school, Maryanne volunteered at SUNY Upstate Medical University on their Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation floor. There she saw neuro patients, ortho patients, and many others ranging in age from young children to elderly.
“Watching them grow and get better each day is a feeling that is very hard to describe. I feel a sense of completeness and happiness that is so fulfilling and rewarding that I can’t help but get jittery every time I think about becoming a physical therapist.”
As if she had needed any further convincing by that point, just a short time later, an injury during soccer season her senior year gave Maryanne the ability to experience physical therapy from the patient perspective, when she needed PT herself to gain back her strength.
“There are so many amazing things about the physical therapy field, but these are just a few reasons that I am interested in physical therapy and what led me to this path.”
Coming in as a transfer student during the spring semester of her first year, Maryanne had to find her own path among peers who had been at UC since the start of the academic year and already knew their way around campus. Fortunately, the welcoming environment she found at Utica College made that easy.
“It seemed like everyone already had their friends and I worried I might be left behind. This was very intimidating at first, but through the many opportunities Utica College gives everyone to mingle on campus, along with the accepting population of students, I was able to find my place and make some amazing connections with so many different types of people.”
Initially three hours from home at her original college, Maryanne says she chose to transfer to Utica College because it had everything she was looking for in her academic journey to a physical therapy career.
“I’m currently a health studies major, but I’m on track to pursue graduate studies to earn my Doctorate in Physical Therapy. UC has a great variety of healthcare fields to choose from and I knew I would be surrounded by like-minded individuals because of this. The professors here at Utica College care about their students and the campus feels like a community. This is something my previous college lacked, and I am so happy I chose to come to Utica to experience this.”
Another aspect of her college experience is the fact that she is a first-generation student, something Maryanne says has made her want to work even harder.
“I always keep my end goal of becoming a physical therapist in mind when I’m doing everything, and this has acted as a main motivator throughout college. My passion for what I want to do drives me to put my all into everything and stay motivated. I want to make my family proud. My parents never went to college and I am the oldest of my siblings, so the first to go. It has been stressful navigating everything that comes with college life and not having family to relate with on these things, but UC has helped so much in many ways and they are always pushing me toward success.”
Some of that additional help and encouragement has come from joining TRiO Student Support Services.
“It is an awesome way to connect with others who may be a first-generation student as well. Not only does the group directly connect you to other people with similar situations, there are also so many organizations, clubs, events, and much more to help you find your place here at Utica College.”
Some of those experiences have included involvement in the Health Studies Student Society where Maryanne says she had the opportunity to learn more about herself and the path for her future, as well as meeting new people and building strong connections with them, whether that be peers or professors.
“It’s an organization that any health studies student can join, and it can definitely add to the experience and opportunity here at Utica College. I was able to listen to presentations about a diverse range of topics within the healthcare field as a member of the organization. And it allows each member to learn about many job opportunities in the area, line up experiences in the community at local organizations, and receive support in their journey by so many people who have a similar path.”
Her involvement in the Society as both a member and as its Vice President have allowed her the opportunity not only to learn more about her career, but also about herself.
“Since coming to Utica College, I’ve seen such growth within myself. Utica College is definitely a place for people to flourish and learn more about themselves and who they want to be. It’s a place for people to find what they want to do and have so many opportunities to explore that path. From the amazing programs offered to the opportunities and help given by the staff and professors, you will not feel forgotten like you may at a larger school. The value of the education we receive here at Utica College is unmatched and is something I hope all people who head off to college have the opportunity to experience.”
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