Year 1 as a Mature Occupational Therapy Student

Once again I’m in the position of completing my first year at university, but this time it’s different; I’m older and possibly wiser (although I wouldn’t bank on that) and I absolutely adore the subject I’m studying. If I haven’t mentioned it before I’m at university to become an Occupational Therapist. These wonderful human beings focus on any issues or concerns that individuals have in completing ‘normal’ day to day activities (mental and physical) and work with them, using activities they find interesting and engaging, to enable and maintain a good quality of life. It is by far the most interesting and rewarding subject I’ve ever come across – light years from my previous digital marketing job.

However, because of said job (which I enjoyed in it’s own way I suppose) I have found the pace of student life to be extremely slow. I’m used to having to having to juggle 2 or 3 projects simultaneously as well as attending to daily updates, and even though I’ve learned to relax into the new routine I still feel like I should be doing more. The feeling disappears entirely when I am on placement though, just being around OTs and putting the skills learned into practice is an amazing feeling. Plus the fact there’s always something to do to help clients, even if it’s just engaging them in conversation and finding out more about their life and interests. I’ve had two placements this year – one in a neurological rehabilitation unit and one in a functional mental health assessment unit. Both were completely different but created the same excitement and feeling of accomplishment. I didn’t want to leave either of them so surely that’s a sign that I may have finally found the right career!

The assessment side of being a student hasn’t really phased me. I enjoy writing (why else would I have a blog?!) I completed a Journalism degree and I was used to writing proposals and reports as part of my job. The referencing took a few goes to get my head around especially as YSJ have their own style. I still get it wrong from time to time but I think that’s more the styling – this should be a comma not a full stop etc. – rather than the actual layout. I’ve found all my essays have just reinforced my learning and asked me to sum up what iv’e learned over the semester – the only one I found awkward was a video assignment in which we had to show professional behaviour. Not particularly difficult but as someone that hates being the centre of attention my performance was definitely stilted.

I didn’t end up joining any clubs (with the exception of the OT society and I don’t believe I actually went to any of their meetings) because my mental health kept getting in the way and I would end up having panic attacks as I went to leave. Not overly clever really but just the way it was. I doubt I’ll join any next year either to be honest, although I will be joining SW5 again where we get to join in social sports for just a £5 for the year. Easy to dip in and out and keep fit without having to compete or commit to something weekly. Obviously I made some fabulous friends on my course and met some incredible professionals too. I’m told that next year will be a big step up in terms of workload and pace which I’m looking forward to and until we get access to our modules at the end of June I’m planning on spending as much time as I can relaxing and enjoying the sun in my back yard.

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