Tuesday 22 November 2016

Graduation Day

...1 Course, 2 years, 24 month, 2 countries, 5 placements, Lots of learning and reflections... 
I survived and somehow managed to pass my masters in Occupational Therapy

Today is Graduation Day!

When I decided to consider Occupational Therapy as a career, I don't think I truly understood how vast and dynamic a profession it really was. Even now as a newly qualified practitioner, I am still often surprised at all the huge array possibilities there are for Occupational Therapists to use our unique skills. Really though, I shouldn't be surprised because as my knowledge and understanding of occupation has developed, I know that the inherent role it plays not only in the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities but on the identity and everyday landscape of how we all function.  The surprise has more of an air of excitement of possibilities now rather than simple lack of knowledge and I am particularly grateful for the experiences during my MSc that have accumulated the development of my understanding of this fundamental concept that is so crucial in how I evidence and argue my professional worth in my everyday roles.

One of the great things about I found whilst on this journey  to become an Occupational Therapist is just that 'surprise', the joy of finding those areas that you never considered working in before, and realising they allow you to use the skills and experiences you have had to enable others to engage more fully in their everyday life. 

So 2 years on from the start of this journey (3 years if you include when I decided to bite the bullet and apply for the course), if I could go back, would I change my decision to study? Absolutely not. It has been incredibly tough two years, tougher than I ever thought it would be and it has pushed me more than I thought I was capable of being pushed, yes there were points during the course that I felt like I would never manage to get to this point; but there has also been some great experiences along the way too that have moulded and continue to shape who I am as an Occupational therapist. So here I am 2 years on, on graduation day with a masters degree.

Master of Science in
Occupational Therapy

Reflecting on the experience as a whole, I realise how thankful I am for the support I had from friends and family along the way, and I have no doubt in my mind the importance of that support in helping me successfully complete my degree.  

I chose the University of Cumbria as a place to study, mainly for financial reasons along side the ability to commute from home to study, but looking back now, those became minor pluses during my masters journey. The fact that the MSc was a small cohort and the university population in Carlisle as a whole was smaller became a huge asset. The  ability to build relationships with the tutors and staff as well as other students in my class actually aided my learning and development as a practitioner and I'm incredibly thankful for that. 

Has my masters prepared me well to enter the world of work? I really hope so. It has given me the skills to critique the evidence base for my assessments and interventions, the knowledge and sills to question and explore issues at length with the depth that enables me to see past the initial presentation of an issue, it has enhanced my communication skills, and in turn built my confidence in sharing my professional opinions and knowledge but most of all it has prepared me to be a life long learner, that is willing to embrace opportunities to develop personally as practitioner, the profession as a whole and as a team member within the places I work

To keep up with my journey as a newly qualified Occupational Therapist, You can follow me on twitter: @OTontheTracks

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