Ever since I was a child, I have had the desire to pursue a career in healthcare. I truly enjoy helping others reach their potential, and I believe that it only takes a little help and compassion to inspire great accomplishment. Although I have always been interested in the field of healthcare, it wasn’t until recently that I felt the specific desire to become an occupational therapist.
About a year ago, my mother fell while using the restroom. Her injuries were severe enough that she was unable to work for several months. As the weeks wore on, my mother’s usual upbeat demeanor began to fade. She no longer smiled or laughed, and I started noticing signs of depression, most notably a lack of appetite and a lack of interest in activities she used to enjoy. Her depression began to impact those around her, particularly family. We were all extremely concerned by the dramatic change in my mother.
It was at this point that my mother began working with an occupational therapist. I witnessed an almost immediate change in her quality of life. As a result of therapy, my mother’s pain decreased, which allowed her to become more active. This led to an increase in appetite, and most importantly, my mother began to laugh and enjoy her life again. I was so moved by the impact of this single individual on my mother’s self-confidence and emotional well-being. It was at this point that I realized what I wanted to do with my own life. I wanted to help people like my mother regain both their independence and their quality of life.
In addition to helping patients recover skills they have lost due to injury, I am interested in working with children who have special needs. While researching occupational therapy, I learned that the instance of children with developmental delays, particularly autism, has increased significantly in the last ten to fifteen years. I feel that working with these children to improve their motor skills, self-help skills, and increase independence, would be incredibly rewarding. I am excited by the opportunity to offer truly individual help, and to have a significant impact on a family’s life.
Shortly after seeing my mother’s dramatic improvements, I began to research what would be required in order to pursue a career in occupational therapy. I find the graduate program at Queens University very exciting. I am particularly interested in the Cognitive-Neuro courses, as well the Community Development field work course. I feel that working with a professional occupational therapist as a part of my graduate study would be an invaluable resource.
In addition to my personal experience regarding the benefits of occupational therapy, I have other skills that I feel have prepared me for the unique challenges of this field. My undergraduate work is in Life Sciences with a minor in Statistics. While completing these required courses, I found myself drawn to courses such as Developmental Psychology, Brian Behavior, and Cardiac Diseases. I took these courses as electives, and as a result have gained invaluable knowledge in health specific areas such as sleep apnea, obesity, cardiorespiratory issues, and normal vs. abnormal brain function.
I believe that in order to be successful, an occupational therapist must tailor their approach to the individual patient. As a young adult, I volunteered at a summer music program which included children with special needs. Part of my responsibilities included designing special activities which allowed these children to participate in group activities. Specific hands-on activities included hand painting, making music, and story-telling. Through these activities, the children were able to build self-confidence as well as learn to adapt to challenging tasks. I believe this experience was as rewarding for me as it was for the children.
Communication and interpersonal skills are extremely important in the health care field. I have experience as a receptionist in a vision center, which has certainly increased my ability to listen effectively and respond appropriately to each patient’s individual needs. I have assisted patients with vision loss, and have an appreciation for the consideration that patients with disabilities require. I have also worked in a university library for several years, and this opportunity has enhanced my leadership as well as my organizational skills.
In order to establish an effective relationship with each patient, I believe an occupational therapist must be a well-rounded individual with varied interests. I am involved in a number of extracurricular activities, including the debate club and the archery club. I have recently been involved in an AMS event which promotes Teaching Excellence Awards. I feel my diverse background would allow me to have an easy and effective rapport with any patient.
Before my mother’s accident, I had a vague desire to help others, and I hoped to do that in a health-care related field. Since watching her dramatic improvement, this previously vague desire has grown into a passion to become an occupational therapist. I have no doubt that it is what I am meant to do, and I believe that the program at Queens University is the next step in my pursuit of this dream.
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