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C ClevelandCaroline Cleveland is in the second year of UNC’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. She served in the U.S. Army as a platoon leader and assistant S-3 in the 18th Military Police Brigade, and was deployed as one of the first Cultural Support Team leaders attached to the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan.

 1. What is the biggest difference you’ve noticed in transitioning from military life to civilian life?

The pace is slower and the work day is shorter, revealing more opportunities for self-direction. I have greater autonomy over my life, such as how I spend my time, who I spend my time with, and the purpose I pursue. The responsibility to continue living a purposeful life is both burdensome and empowering.

 2. What is something you wish you had known before moving here?

I wish I had known Chapel Hill and Carrboro were so bicycle friendly. I would have brought my bicycle here sooner.

  1. What is an important lesson that you learned in the military that has helped you in grad school?

The military gave me a broader perspective. I relish the early mornings and late nights that I study with a hot cup of coffee and a roof over my head while it storms outside. In comparison to field exercises and deployments, the military has given me the perspective to appreciate the present moment and even enjoy this phase of life in grad school.

  1. What made you choose UNC/NC when deciding on a program/place to study?

I chose UNC mainly for the following three reasons: (1) It is a state school with a consistently top-ranked physical therapy program; (2) It is the home of my mentor, Dr. Karen McCulloch, who championed me during our work on her military post-concussion return-to-duty research project; and (3) It is close to my Army family at Fort Bragg.


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