Updated: Nov 8
I'm Georgia, a student occupational therapist with Cerebral Palsy. I have been considering writing this for some time now and this is for two reasons. The first reason being that I just feel that I need to explain why I was drawn to occupational therapy - and the second reason being to discuss my future with occupational therapy. But on the other hand, these two reasons were the same reasons why I didn’t want to write this... I shouldn’t feel that I need to justify why I study what I study - and I didn’t really want to discuss my future without knowing what the future holds.
Then I realised that this article would be a great post to refer back to in the future and could potentially be a learning curve, so I thought that I would share it with you. I've previously shared this on my own page Not So Terrible Palsy and I was pleased with the response, but I still feel like I needed to reach a wider audience so here I am...
Here we go! Point one - and before I make this point, I am sorry if this comes across in a controversial way. But this is a question that I have been meaning to answer for quite some time. I’m not going to bore you with all the reasons why I chose occupational therapy and why the course stuck out for me. But, just for a bit of background information – occupational therapy was the right course for me, as I’ve always wanted to explore the field of healthcare. OT also entails a lot of problem-solving. Sometimes with occupational therapy the answer isn’t right in front of you so, seeing as I love maths, this felt great! Not to mention that the signature colour for occupational therapy is green, just like Cerebral Palsy - I mean, could it be more perfect!?
However, the aim of this article is not to rewrite my personal statement; the aim is to answer a few questions that I have been asked around occupational therapy since starting my university journey. So, let’s get the big question out of the way…
‘Why go into the system, when you’ve just come out of it?’
I have been asked this question a few times. Sometimes it hasn’t been as direct as others, but I’m capable of reading between the lines. I find this question quite annoying - especially when it’s someone I’ve just met - because it just makes me aware that I am probably never going to stop answering this question. Apart from the fact that I might not even go into the system (which relates to point two), the thought of potentially going into the system and changing people’s lives makes me feel even more determined to complete this course. This is not because I want to change the system. A big reason why I want to go into occupational therapy is that, when I was younger, my occupational therapists were just phenomenal. They played that much of significant role in my life that they inspired me to go for this career. If I can make half the impact on an individual that they've made on my family and I, then I know it is all worthwhile.
Georgia on her occupational therapists: "If I can make half the impact on an individual that they've made on my family and I, then I know it is all worthwhile"
The other questions I have been asked have been around my capabilities within occupational therapy. These questions don’t annoy me as such, because yes, my disability will always be the elephant in the room; again, this is based on such little understanding. Occupational therapy is such a broad profession; you could be working in a clinic or hospital, or you could be working in a driving skills centre. So, I think eventually I’ll find an area of occupational therapy that I want to work in. I’m not saying that it won’t be harder and that my options aren’t limited, because it would be wrong of me to think that they weren’t. But I know that there is certainly a role in occupational therapy out there for me - that works with my needs.
This then links on to point two…
I’m only in my first year at university, so I don’t have my heart set on an area of occupational therapy just yet. But I have a better idea of which areas I do and don’t want to explore than I did a year ago. A few weeks ago, I did a presentation about my blog. I wanted to make this presentation slightly more interesting and wanted to talk about more than just blogging. For a while now I’ve said that I’ve wanted to link occupational therapy in with blogging. So I had the idea of doing research about the impact of occupational therapy online, to incorporate this into my presentation. Then, after researching, I found that there wasn’t much around this and I realised that this maybe the area suited for me.
This presentation was done recently, therefore I haven’t really had the chance to investigate this any further. However, prior to this, I had a discussion with my university lectures about linking blogging in with occupational therapy - and from this, they advised me to write this piece. I’d been toying with the idea of writing this for sometime before I posted it, because I didn’t want to tell everyone about my future in occupational therapy without knowing what would happen. I asked myself a lot of questions around this, with one of the big ones being ‘Where am I going to start?’ Therefore I decided to write this piece and share it with yourselves, because this is where I am going to start. I can’t start something without a general idea of where it’s going to go, just like I’d built up my work online before starting Not So Terrible Palsy. So, this is me starting my journey within occupational therapy!
You’re probably thinking why this article is named 'Why I Study Occupational Therapy' - and why I talk about this, if this is not the main reason why I wrote this. This is because the reasons for studying occupational therapy are also listed in point two, as well as in point one, even if it doesn’t seem apparent. In my first post for my page, I wrote ‘I believe that I was born with Cerebral Palsy for a reason.’ From my previous work, I’ve realised this reason could be to create a link between the online community and occupational therapy. I study occupational therapy as I can bring personal experiences as well as my professional experiences to the table - and this is how blogging links into it, even if this link isn’t visible yet. So, now that I’ve finished my first year, I can finally say that I know all the reasons I study occupational therapy and why I’m more than willing to go back into the system!
As previously mentioned, I don’t quite know how and if this idea will work, but what I do know is that I am very determined to get my idea off the ground!
Thank you for reading.