Helping People Acheive Their Dreams- One Person at a Time
What made you decide to enroll in Therapeutic Recreation with RMP at UNH?
Initially beginning my college career as a Psychology major, I quickly discovered my lack of interest in studying solely psychiatric conditions. I had always wanted to work with individuals with disabilities, but didn’t know how to do so without being a Special Education teacher or psychologist. I spoke with an advisor from the UNH Career Center who told me to look into RMP, so I decided to take a course (RMP 490) to test it out. I fell in love with the concept of helping individuals with disabilities to gain a greater quality of life, to advocate for the needs and desires of future clients, and to be active in my everyday career. From that point on, I changed direction in my future and never looked back.
Describe your most memorable experience as a student of the RMP Dept.
During my first full semester as a TR major, my professors all preached of the importance for students to attend professional development conferences prior to graduating and becoming certified. I wanted to give one a try right off the bat, so I decided to go to a MRPA conference in Western Massachusetts (that the RMP department so graciously paid for me to attend). Within the five hours spent at the conference, I networked with 15 CTRS’s, obtained a summer job position working with children with disabilities at a community recreation department, received input about my résumé, and learned about unique methods to help clients achieve their dreams. I was so happy to see that my professors were 100% right to encourage me to go to a conference because it showed me that they truly cared about my future. They want nothing but to see their students excel, and by having students meet other CTRS’s, we are being set up for success. I was also excited to see that I was becoming a member of a group of professionals that strive to change the world by helping one client, one person, at a time. My future came full-circle in a matter of hours thanks to the help of my RMP professors.
What are your future career plans?
I am hoping to obtain a Therapeutic Recreation position in a physical rehabilitation setting after I graduate this May. I enjoy working with individuals who have had strokes, brain injuries, or spinal cord injuries, and I especially hope to get the opportunity to work within an adaptive sports/activities program. I’m thankful to be able to say that I have already passed my certification exam and successfully completed my 14-week internship. My next step is to receive my diploma in order to actually attain my certification and be able to identify myself as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS). Then, it’s on to the real world!
Explain some of your favorite aspects of our program.
The Therapeutic Recreation program is designed to give you hands-on experience in every client population and setting possible. You receive knowledge from a wide variety of courses that dabble in several other majors at UNH. This helps students become well-rounded and experienced professionals whom are able to say that they have knowledge in every aspect of their career. I know from personal experience that students from UNH’s TR program are highly renowned and desirable candidates for job positions in the professional world. Employers know that the UNH RMP department has a plethora of opportunities for students to volunteer and experience working in this field, so it is up to you to get involved and take charge of your future.
Why would you recommend this program to future students?
The TR program gives students all of the tools necessary to feel competent in their profession and in turn produces extraordinary candidates for desirable job positions. A student who is looking to gain hands-on experiences supported by engaging courses can expect to be more than satisfied with this program. Students also collaborate a great deal in this major, establishing networks and social supports to help you as you progress in your studies. A strong supportive core at the center of your academic experience is not only beneficial, but necessary when working in a socially charged field. The connections you make now will serve you for a lifetime in the working world.
What would you want to say to future students of this program?
You may not think so now, but the next four years of your life are going to absolutely fly by. Take every opportunity given to you (that benefits your goals) and turn them in to experiences. Get involved on campus in the hundreds of student organizations available. The most important life lessons will happen to you outside of the classroom. Go out and try new things. Put the lessons you learn in the classroom into action in the real world. Apply the skills you learn to help better the UNH community and you’ll come out on top for sure.