Key Term: Distraction is key...
... key to not panicking about a formative assignment for at least 30 mins anyways.
Let me explain; Now it is slightly long and descriptive but stay with me; if you can...
Last week when I was meeting my PAT, we discussed the impact of those distraction moments, when you are consumed with worry; you know the ones, that distract you for a wee bit and make you smile and forget for that time the worry and anxieties you might have. This week I had one of those moments; On Tuesday we had our formative assignment for Applied OT; which was a presentation of the specialist area we plan to cover in our viva which is in just over a weeks time. Normally I am consumed by worry before having to speak in front of people for at least the whole day until the point of having to speak (if not days before). But this week I had arranged to meet someone to discuss using twitter for half an hour at lunch time. Now normally I would have said no to such a request so close to an activity that I know increases my anxiety levels because I'm not very productive in those hours before as my worry increases. But since it was the only mutual time available I decided that on this occasion Id work around it and give it a bash. I'm so glad that I did, because although I was extremely worried on the journey down like normal; having this meeting actually did what we had discussed last week and distracted me and made me smile; for half an hour I wasn't panicking about what Id say or that everyone would be looking at me. I was discussing an occupation I enjoy engaging in and sharing knowledge and feeling normal. Don't get me wrong I was still super worried in the 10-15 mins before and had a mild freak out just as I started speaking; but for half an hour I didn't feel that way and that was a huge thing for me.
It strikes me of the importance engaging in meaningful occupations and how it can impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. We talk a lot about activities and occupations as occupational therapists and we as a profession fight for the occupational rights of our service users and clients because we understand the impact occupations can have on a person; and although this example is quite simplistic I wanted to share that it times of stress; activities that distract can be positive for the individuals involved. I have seen this in many of the people I have worked with as well in physical settings; how engaging in a board game or a game of cards can give that person time away from thinking about their illness and improve their mood.
Planning and prepping for the aforementioned viva is ongoing and is still feeling like a major challenge, but I guess they never said a masters would be easy. This time last year I was freaking out about submitting a 1000 word essay (how I wish we only had to do that amount now) and a year on; new assignment formats still in still same reaction. But this time I feel it is reasonable since I know my working memory isn't great; the challenge of remembering authors and dates feels like a mountain to climb...
This week also included leading the Welcome to OT #OTalk, which I am going to blog separately about as it will probably be a longer post, and I have already written quite a lot in this one. But I think It was a successful chat and I'm glad I was able to be part of it.
Towards the end of the week, we were looking about Political Competence within our class discussions; and I was struck afresh by the varying factors that can impact on a persons occupational engagement. Hammell (2008) discusses that it is the occupational right of every individuals to engage in meaningful occupations; No matter their race, sex, stage of life or whether the are ill or have a disability. But as a society does our culture and services make this possible? As an occupational therapy student; It strikes me that it will always be a fight we'll be fighting as graduates continually as we navigate funding cuts and local and national policy; When I cam to university to study OT, I don't think I ever really thought about the bigger picture you know past wanting to qualify as an occupational therapist and that's what being on the course allows. I have been in conversations over the summer about how keen I am to get going and work; but there is still so much to learn... and so little time!
Now back to the pile of books...
I'll leave you with this lovely video for #OTWeek15, that has been stuck in my head since I watched it on Thursday; it's by the BSc 2nd Year students at uni, Pretty awesome if you ask me.
Hammell, K. W. (2008). Reflections on... well-being and occupational rights. The Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 75(1), 61.
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