I was first introduced to occupational therapy when I was in high school from my older sister who is currently working as a physical therapist. At the time, I had no idea what OT was and didn’t look into it further. I went into college thinking that I wanted to become an elementary school teacher. I took many education courses and student-taught at a couple schools, but during my sophomore year, I discovered that I didn’t really like the dynamics of teaching in front of a big class. I knew that every student had a different learning style and various needs which would help them to succeed, but it was difficult to individualize my lesson plans because of limited time and resources. So, I decided to look into the therapy thing that my sister had recommended and see what it was all about. In the next couple years, I shadowed and volunteered at as many OT sites that would allow me to do so, and I loved it! I have never met an OT who didn’t love what they were doing! The client-centered, one-on-one interactions with clients are what drew me to OT—and through my schooling here at USC, I have learned that this is an inseparable, absolutely necessary part of OT! =)
Well, it started with just two lingering letters stored in the back of my head…OT.
I had heard of occupational therapy, but never really knew what it was. For a while, after having graduated with a BA in psychology, I wasn’t sure what career to pursue. I knew that I loved music and that I wanted to help people; I thought that I could combine both of my interests in psychiatry. In preparing to pursue a career in psychiatry I was taking prerequisite courses for medical school and volunteering at hospitals. Among the places I volunteered at, I had the opportunity to shadow an occupational therapist specialized in assistive technologies. In this experience I learned the importance of matching an assistive device to an individual and not the individual to the device. I was shown the importance of understanding the personal needs and goals of an Individual, and I grew to admire the relationships that developed between the occupational therapist and his clients. This was completely different to what I had seen doctors do in hospitals; they were too busy with their caseload making beds available for others to fill them in. Obviously, MD’s play a very important role in healthcare, but I found that occupational therapy plays an equally important role helping individuals get their lives back on track. I investigated the career further and I found it to be very flexible allowing the therapist to apply their own interests in to their practice; I actually hope to implement the use of music in to my practice in the future, and I feel that I will lead a very fulfilling life following this path.