2020 Council scholarship recipient George Tuttle started classes for his physical therapy degree this fall at Carroll University in Waukesha. He lives on-campus in the dorms and says that half of his classes are online, while half are remote.
Hannah: What is your favorite class this semester?
George: At Carroll, they have you take classes on culture and since I’m going into the healthcare field they have a class on healthcare disparities and that one’s my favorite class.
Hannah: What lessons has preparing to go to college taught you?
George: The biggest thing is just to ask for help on anything. Everyone has been super nice, they’ve said ‘We’ll help you out, what do you need?’ Don’t be afraid to ask, just put yourself out there and be like ‘let’s do it;’ it makes a big difference.
Hannah: How will you apply this lesson to the rest of your life and your career?
George: Don’t procrastinate! In high school I did that a lot and it doesn’t really work in the rest of life. It’s something that’s good to get out of the habit of. Get your work done on time and if you need help getting your work done on time, just ask. Everyone’s always there to help.
Hannah: In your application essay, you talked about how meeting other people with disabilities impacted your career trajectory. Can you talk about the importance of having mentors with disabilities in your life?
George: I am going to study physical therapy and get my doctorate hopefully. That’s the long term plan. Knowing people with disabilities that have all kinds of professions and I know another physical therapist who’s visually impaired and having them around is like I can still do whatever I want; I can become a physical therapist, or my brother Joe can be a teacher. We can still do everything everyone else can do, we just might need a little more help. It’s nice to have a support system where they’re been through the same things and you can be like, ‘what did you do in this situation or ‘how would you handle this?’ They’ve been through it all and they can really help you out and provide support.
Hannah: What are some things you hope to do in the future?
George: My long-term goal is to become a physical therapist. I want to work with other disabled people. I’m really excited for that already. More short-term: just keep good grades up and finish college.
Hannah: What did you learn about yourself throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?
George: Everything being online, especially with a visual impairment, can be kind of difficult. Looking at computer screens for a long time – it can be hard on your eyes. Everything being online has been rough. I still work, so I still get the human contact. Mostly just looking at computers for a long time every day that can be kind of rough. I take breaks fairly often, get my eyes a little rest, and then I get back into it. I’ll never work four hours straight through, I have to take a break otherwise it’s just too hard.
Hannah: Do you have any advice for others?
George: Get out there, try new things, take advantage of all the opportunities around you.