Professional Dance to Physical Therapy: Meet Rizing Tide Scholar Brittany Ballentine
This is the fourth installment of the 2022 Rizing Tide Lighthouse Series: a series of blogs and video interviews that spotlight our exceptional scholars. Stay tuned for the next installment!
After completing her undergraduate degree away from her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, Brittany Ballentine knew that her future was back home. “I went to undergrad away from home, and then afterwards I got a job away from home. So it was time for me to come back to my old stomping ground.”
Though she currently attends the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), Brittany completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in the dance program at New York’s Fordham University. To ensure the health and well-being of its dancers, the program provided a physical therapy floor for its dancers to use as needed. But it wasn’t until Brittany received injuries from a car accident that she explored the rehab process. “I felt like I came back into the dance world stronger than I was before my injury. That’s where my love came in, and I wanted to be part of it.”
Brittany approached the DPT program application process in a unique way. More than a year before applying, Brittany visited the UMB campus and asked what she could do to become the best applicant for the program. She now recommends this tactic to pre-PT students who are trying to stand out during the application process.
She also recommends that pre-PT students become expert schedulers. “My biggest advice is going and just knowing that yes, it can be overwhelming at times, but if you plan properly, if you schedule out your day, it’ll make things a little bit easier on you.” Finding a balance between school, work, and life has been difficult, but Brittany is working hard to find her balance and take everything one step at a time. “I have to constantly remind myself that I prayed to be here and I’m learning things that I am interested in. Nothing to me is boring. Everything is always new, fresh, and exciting.” She’s especially excited about her upcoming clinicals, and can’t wait to transition from role-playing to practicing with real patients in hands-on scenarios.
On top of attending DPT classes, Brittany is also working on her own community project, Built By Brit. “I am hosting free fitness classes at a community farm,” Brittany says, explaining that the group has grown from five to 20 regular participants. “It’s like 45 minutes of just moving.”
Brittany feels passionate about community—and she appreciates UMB’s commitment to building a diverse community within its own halls. Right now, 11 out of the 70 students are people of color—the highest number they’ve ever had in a class. “I really appreciate that about this program, because when we start to get into the working world, we’re not going to see people that are just like us. We have to work with people that come from all different backgrounds.”
Now that she belongs to the Rizing Tide community, Brittany is excited to connect with even more people, especially in an environment where she’s encouraged to share her story and be herself 100%. “I am happy to be in another pool of people that are like me, and share a similar background.”
At the end of the day, Brittany hopes to make a positive impact in the lives of her future patients. “If I can touch one soul or impact one person, I feel like I’ve already done enough. You can’t save the world, but you can save a few.”