Saturday, February 4, 2012

Not as easy as I thought

Well, you already know the nice feelings I had (and still have) when I started as an Occupational Therapy student. However, there is no rose without thorns. During my first week, I also received a big shock when I found out that in only one day of classes I had 7 chapters assigned! Although I can’t deny I enjoyed some of them, like the ones about professional development and fundamentals of OT, I can’t say the same about the first 3 chapters of Human Anatomy.

For some reason, before starting OT school I had my “self-efficacy” levels a bit unreal and thought that if I had graduated with honors from my Bachelor’s in Biomedical Sciences; having passed classes like Organic Chemistry, Cell Biology and Virology; Occupational Therapy wouldn’t be a great challenge. I definitely underestimated the program, but never the profession. It is unfortunate that many people think Occupational Therapy is easy when it's not. Occupations include almost EVERY thing people do, and as occupational therapists we must know EVERY way in which these occupations might be affected and how to help people engage in them. This includes knowing about development, neurological, musculoskeletal and mental diseases, and much more. Returning to my previous classes, it is true that they were much harder to understand and integrate than my OT classes, however, the latter are way longer, reducing the available study time and increasing the demands. I feel like I never have a week in which I don’t have a paper to hand or a couple of chapters to read.  

To make matters worse, at the beginning of that first semester we fell behind in anatomy and to compensate we had 2 exams (class and lab) every two weeks until the semester ended. The other week we had the exams from the rest of the classes. Another thing that made it difficult for me to adjust was the change from living in my house in the country (to be near my family, see the stars at night and the sight of the beach from my balcony), to live in this concrete jungle of the capital. All that stress aggravated some physical conditions and made the adjustment process even more difficult.

 However, that semester is over and ending it successfully helped me get my self-efficacy levels (which had already fallen significantly) back to normal. Some of the things that helped me survive was the support of my family including my aunt (with whom I stay while getting my degree) and my boyfriend (who bore all my complaints), my professors, my classmates (who are great human beings), and above all the certainty that God wants me just right where I am. This semester I have even more classes, but I decided to take things slow, to try to have a better occupational balance and be more positive. So far I think is working, I'll let you know in May.

I would like to end by saying that I loved my bachelor's and sometimes I miss it, but I love even more Occupational Therapy and I can say for sure that all the positives outweigh the negatives. I'm learning a lot in my classes Fundamentals of Occupational Therapy, Occupational Dysfunction, Dimensions of Movement, Neurology, Problem Based Learning and Evidence Based Practice and soon I will continue sharing my experiences from the past semester and hopefully catch up with the ones of this semester.....

Some books from my first year!

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