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Gustalvo's Blog

Gustalvo

It all winds down… >

by Gustalvo

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So, I’ve passed my comprehensive exam (i.e. comps), I’ve recently come back from AOTA’s 90th National Conference in Florida, and I am looking forward to one more fieldwork this summer — I feel pretty satisfied with myself right now 😊

These last couple of weeks have been intense with papers, exams, and comps. But I survived, and part of what has helped me is reading and playing music. I’ve been able to squeeze in some leisurely reading (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), play some gigs with my mariachi ensemble, and jam on my own. Speaking of playing gigs, the mariachi that I’m in, Mariachi Sur de California, recently played a few gig on 5 de Mayo one of which was really fun; Los Angeles Southwest College put on a 5 de Mayo event on their campus for local elementary school children. The band had never had a crowd that was so in to the music, just about everyone stood up; children clapped, people sang — it was the most gratified I’ve ever felt at a gig. Also, we played at a church for Mother’s Day; that too went very well. It feels good to be playing and engaging in one of my most favorite occupations.

I also like to record on my free time, but lately I haven’t been able to and so I just jam on my own and I keep practicing snippets of ideas that I come up with so that I can record them over the summer when I have some time.

I can’t wait to get to get this summer started; you could say that I’m about to embark on my dream fieldwork experience. I’m interested in going in to the field of mental health, preferably in community mental health settings, but I also am interested in phys-dys. So, long ago when I was picking out my top ten choices for this summer’s fieldwork I spoke with Jaynee, our Fieldwork Coordinator, about what I wanted and she really helped me out in finding locations to pick from; she brought up transitional living centers (TLCs). I was excited about this for I had observed a TLC during one of my earlier rotations. A TLC basically helps individuals that have come out of inpatient acute rehab to reintegrate themselves back in to their communities. It involves facilitating how to get around, going grocery shopping, and helping them organize their day so that they may be independent among other things. To me it’s the perfect balance between the two worlds I want to combine, though mental health is and can be applied in any setting at any moment, I think the TLC will be a great fit for me!

OH! also, about a week ago I went to AOTA’s national conference in Orlando! It was a great experience. There was a workshop that caught my attention which I’m glad it did; “Engaging Marginalized Populations Through Qualitative Research.”  This was one of the the most up was one of the most interesting workshops I attended. It touched about understanding the experience of marginalized populations, and how these experiences influence their occupational choices and participation. There were three speakers each touching upon the experiences of the the undocumented in the US, people suffering from obesity, and women who have just come out of incarceration. Learning of how stigmas influences these populations occupational choices and participation was very eye opening to me and has further encouraged my desire to do research in the future. The Q&A afterward was very engaging as well. I think the main take home message was that as OT’s we need to advocate for populations that are suffering from occupational injustices**. That in addition to advocating for our profession we must also prioritize advocating for populations in need of occupational therapy and break the borders that currently create this schism between OT and underserved populations! It was a very exciting, uplifting, and refreshing workshop to say the least, and it was very unfortunate to see that so few people attended!

This conference was significant not only because it was my first, but also because Dr. Florence Clark was inaugurated as AOTA’s president! Congratulations Dr. Clark!

Anyway, I’m “walking” this Friday and I’m very excited, but also a little stressed since my cap & gown have yet to arrive!!! But I’m sure all will be fine, as everything always does!!

**Occupational justice = the concept that, to develop and thrive, humans are beings that need and want to participate in occupations. So, when there’s an occupational injustice due to a disability or environment, the focus is to enable these populations/individuals to access opportunities and resouces so that they may develop and thrive.

Gustalvo

Why have I chosen OT? >

by Gustalvo

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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.