Hi everyone! I’m sorry I’ve been gone for about a week. I really have no excuse now that I’m done with classes and coursework, although I have got a job until the 29th of June now, so that’s eating up my time.
I have some exciting news, or at least it is for me. As you may know, I did my dissertation on the use of virtual reality in addressing upper limb function in children with cerebral palsy. In a couple of weeks, I will be meeting a researcher who has focused on virtual reality interventions. This is because I will be helping a group of Japanese postgrad OT students carry out research in August while they’re here in the UK to see how OT works on this side of the globe. So not only am I excited about being a part of real research in my field of interest, I am also excited to be spending time with Japanese students and giving in to my nostalgia!
A few days ago, I was wondering how I was supposed to get into my little area of interest – the use of technology with children – and also wondering whether I would be better off as a researcher than a practitioner, and I’ve been handed this wonderful opportunity to try the role of researcher out in my field. Isn’t that funny?
I had my final exam on Thursday. If you recall, I had ten days to prepare four case studies, and two case studies would be in the exam. The case studies were mild/moderate learning disabilities, rheumatoid arthritis, schizophrenia and traumatic brain injury. I was hoping to get the LD and TBI case studies, but alas, neither were on the exam. I’m sure I passed, but I would have felt more confident answering the questions if I could relate to my experience working with brain injuries. Having never worked with someone with a learning disability, I don’t know why I wanted that case study, but then I’ve never encountered RA, nor have I really worked with someone with schizophrenia.
The next few days involved trying to reestablish occupational balance. I started reading for pleasure again. I decided to try catching up with some of my TV shows. I played a strategy computer game with Flan and my brother to exercise my brain in a different way. My face is already starting to look clearer from the drop in my stress levels.
Then today I started working – temporarily – at a school in Newbury. I loved it! It’s too bad that I have to drive all the way there and back, and that it’s temporary.
I have to really start looking for an OT job and figuring out the magic formula to get to the interview stage. I think I’ve found one just inside the M25 down the M40, so I could commute (yeah, I hate driving, but I love Oxford). It’s a paediatric centre, and they need a Band 5. I think I have a better chance getting an interview for this one than I have most jobs on offer, as I have absolutely no acute experience, nor orthopaedic, nor stroke, nor community. On the other hand, I did my dissertation on using video games with children with cerebral palsy, I had an adolescent mental placement, I had my final placement in a school for children with dyspraxia and I am now working in another school. I think paediatrics is the way to go! Plus, I might get to venture a bit into assistive technology, hopefully!
I’ve used Lulu.com to ‘publish’ my dissertation so that I can get it printed as an A4-sized paperback book. I thought keeping it as A4 would be a good idea, since I got it down to 93 pages before uploading the PDF file. I’ve already handed in my dissertation in standard binding, but I wanted my own copies for myself and my parents. I was also thinking it could be something to take to interviews if relevant. What do you all think?
This year, I graduate and enter the world of the jobseekers. This year, I have to stand on my own two feet. This year, I turn 21.
But first I need to write my dissertation. I’m planning to look into the general area of how technology can be used in OT. One idea is to use my experiences with the iPad on placement to inform my dissertation, but now is not the time to be specific. Therefore, the next week will be dedicated to searching for and reading articles on touchscreen devices and commercial technology used by OTs. If you have any suggestions, give me a head’s up on Twitter (@munchknmunch) or in the comments!
I know I’ve taken a while to update. I finished my final placement over a week ago on the Friday, and it was a bittersweet ending.
- Leaving my students without a proper goodbye, as the final day ended with the Christmas concert, so all the kids simply got off the stage and found their parents. BITTER
- Finally having some time to relax and sleep and read and play computer games with my Flan and my brother. SWEET
- The realisation that I now have to focus on my dissertation before the final term starts. BITTER
- Having six weeks before the start of the final term. SWEET
- The realisation that I now have only six months until I have to enter the ‘real’ world. BITTER
- My supervisor confirming that I am, in fact, great with technology and should possibly pursue a career in assistive technology. SWEET
I’ve learned a lot over this placement – a lot about paediatrics, but even more about myself. In the second half, I had to really be honest with myself and work extra hard, and I think I made great personal gains. While I didn’t do as well as my perfectionist self would have liked when I initially began working at the school, I did much better than I expected. Paediatrics is tough! I’m quite proud to say I made it through the fourteen weeks.