Not only can the life of a graduate student can be complicated, exciting, purposeful, and amazing all at once, but being a first year student in a graduate program is all those feelings times ten. While just completing their first semester as full time Occupational Therapy (OT) graduate students, Cleo Miller (left) and Taylor Eells (right) were interviewed. Cleo and Taylor answer questions pertaining to how the OT program has been so far, what brought them to this profession/program, and what has been their favorite and most difficult parts of the program in their first year.
Both Taylor and Cleo were asked, “Overall, how has the first month of your first year as an Occupational Therapy student been?”
Both girls had relatively different answers as Taylor said, “It was difficult for me as I was transitioning from just working for a full year and then back into writing a lot and school work. I am not used to a lot of writing since my undergrad was more research and science based.” While Taylor had a hard time transitioning back into school from work life, Cleo had a difference experience as she jumped right into graduate school from undergrad. “My transition went well. I was transitioning from undergrad right into graduate school. The biggest thing I had to work on when transitioning into graduate school was time management and staying level headed with the amount of school work that I had,” Cleo said.
While both girls had completely different answers to how transitioning into graduate school went for them, their reason as to why they chose OT was somewhat the same. Cleo and Taylor were asked, “What brought you guys to the profession of Occupational Therapy and this program?” Taylor stated that she had a coach who told her that she would make a great Occupational Therapist and Taylor’s first question was, “What is an OT?”. Taylor discussed how she was brought to her coach’s place of work, The Margret Murphy Center, where her coach (who was an OT herself) showed her what type of work she did. Taylor fell in love with OT in the first 5 hours and the pediatric side of OT as did Cleo. Cleo stated that a personal experience brought her to OT and seeing someone progress in OT and be successful knew she wanted to not only be an Occupational Therapist, but also work in the pediatric setting.
Taylor and Cleo touched upon what have been their favorite parts and hardest parts of the program so far. Cleo stated, “My favorite part about the program so far is the relationships that have been made. We all are here for the same reason and all have something in common and to bounce ideas of each other is really awesome”. Taylor discussed how the learning style of graduate school is what has made her first month so far really enjoyable. “I really like how the program is active, hands on, and is a discussion based class structure,” Taylor explained. When asked about what has been most difficult part of the program so far, both girls discussed how they use their time and trying to discover the best way for them to study. While Cleo stated that she is learning more and more each day on how she is discovering her best studying strategies Taylor discusses why graduate school was really hard for her in the beginning due to her undergrad background. “I come from a very science driven program where everything was black and white like I said before, but now not everything is black and white and it always depends,” Taylor said.
While both girls had had their struggles through the first semester, both have stated that they have had amazing experiences in the program so far and have already fallen in love with the profession. Taylor and Cleo were asked, “Is there any advice/insight you could give to individuals who have applied to this program for next year?” Taylor and Cleo said that even when you have a lot of schoolwork; leave time for yourself and to make sure to do a little schoolwork every day. Cleo said, “The best advice I got was from a second year who said find a group of people to study with that goes at the same pace as you and figure out your studying habits early on”. Taylor bounced off of Cleo’s response to the question by stating, “Plan your time accordingly, try not to get overwhelmed, and keep track of what you need to get done.” Overall, the both students stated that they are extremely glad to be in this program and their last piece of advice is to have fun!
By Samantha Sheehan MOT/S