Adrienne Fritzsche (VU ’04) claims the lifelong friendships she developed at VU began her first day on campus.
“I lived in Alumni Hall with a great group of women,” she recalls. “Though strangers from literally different corners of the U.S., we quickly became friends and began a four-year tradition of riding the South Shore to Chicago during the holiday season. Last December, seven of us gathered to celebrate 10 years of friendship and enjoy New York City’s holiday atmosphere.”
Those ten years have taken Adrienne from Friday night euchre games at St. Teresa’s to completion of doctoral studies at Regis University in Denver. Sandwiched in between were a “defining moment” in the form of a Reutlingen study semester, a B.S. in Exercise Science, a PT graduate student cultural exchange in Nicaragua, and completion of her doctoral studies.
Now on staff at a Milwaukee inpatient rehabilitation center, she plays on softball and trivia teams with other VU alums and lives her long-held dream of becoming a physical therapist. Her days are spent working with a geriatric population, patients with neurologic diseases and musculoskeletal impairments, and other medical complications.
“I love helping adults achieve functional independence in the face of disease and physical impairment,” the VAN member enthuses. “I love helping a patient stand independently to hug and kiss a spouse. I love teaching stroke patients to walk again and open heart surgery patients and their families about the recovery process and the importance of physical activity.
“Of course, the challenges,” she continues, “are one in the same. This can be a very personal profession and you interact with a LOT of different personalities. I've learned to adapt to many communication styles, have patience and compassion for a family member dealing with the physical changes of a disease, and to motivate a patient who can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Adrienne chose VU rather than a school with a physical therapy program because she got “The Feeling” when she attended a Valpo Visit Day. She notes that that decision allowed her to enjoy a well-rounded undergraduate experience and still complete a pre-professional curriculum that kept her on track for graduate programs in physical therapy.
“My interest in physical therapy began before I began college,” the Colorado native explains. “But my four years at Valpo helped me to solidify my passion for the vocation and still grow in my spiritual walk and gain invaluable opportunities to serve in many campus leadership roles.”
The feeling Adrienne experienced as she interacted with Valpo people at her campus visit obviously propelled her toward a rich and fulfilling life complete with enduring friendships.