Do you ever get those moments where you feel like you’re not sure of what you’re doing exactly? As a new grad, that’s exactly how I feel. Every day. Am I really doing everything I can? What else can I offer/do in this situation? Those are the thoughts that go through my mind as I see each and every single patient. And of course, as I walk home, I can’t help but continue this thought process and I even ended up missing my turn one day because of it. Who ever thought that being a new grad was like going back to school. All over again. I can’t believe I’m actually cracking open my text books after work to review some things and reading back on the school notes, I go “ahhh… this makes more sense now” vs. in school, I probably had no clue in heck what we were doing as we didn’t put it in context/practice. But yes, who ever thought that work would be very similar to going to school in the sense that you will always need to be learning. But at least it never gets boring and you’re always making new goals for yourself. Anyways, I say this every time, but I can’t wait for the weekend (as short as it may last). T-3 days!
We have made it! 1000 hours have come and gone, and we can officially write “MScOT” rather than “MScOT student”. We will finally get paid to do work!! This is the moment we have all worked hard to get at. The end. The beginning of a wonderful career. The road we have encountered to get here definitely had its ups and downs, but in the long run, it was definitely worth it. I have gained so much experience and I would not give it up for the world. Every single person I have encountered throughout this chapter of my life has changed me in different ways. The many encouragements from patients to “be more confident” and from preceptors telling me that I’ve done a good job. Thank you! At the end of the day, what lights up my face, is seeing the smile on other peoples’ faces. It’s priceless.
And so to all my fellow OTs, congratulations! We made it! =). MScOT Class of 2012! Imagine the years to come when soon we will be the preceptors having our own students!!!
For my final placement, I got placed in Red Deer. I was born and raised in a relatively large city, so to come to a more ‘rural’ area, is very different. Residence isn’t bad here; I get my own room and I share the kitchen/bathroom with 2 other girls. Although I haven’t met the other one yet… strangely enough. And they do not believe in locking the front door… which makes me anxious. Thank goodness for having individual room locks. I’m so paranoid that I even lock my door during showers. Just because my room is right next to the front door.
On the other hand, I find that the people here are super friendly! I am always greeted with “hello” and a smile. The hospital is well… very small. But I still manage to get myself a little disoriented once in a while. The first week of placement has been exhausting because amongst the paper writing and the oral defense and having the 2 months off (in total), I really need to get back into the routine of being on placement. But then I have to remember to breathe, and tell myself “Stephanie, you’re not superman. You don’t have to know everything.”
All in all, I’m literally counting and crossing off the days until I can hop on the bus to go home. August long weekend, can you please come sooner?!
If there is one thing I have learned throughout these 2 years of moving in and out of residence, it is this: I absolutely cannot begin to comprehend how to pack lightly. Things start to pile up, and well, it’s not until I start truly cleaning things out, do I realize that throughout the months, I’ve collected -this- much. And most of it is really kind of just useless. These past few days have been filled with me trying to clean out my room, since I just finished painting my room! And then there was packing. Packing for my final (rural) placement for my school career!! Of course, I made a list, checked it twice, and figured out what essentials I truly needed for my 6 week stay in Red Deer. Well, let’s just say, one item on the list, led to another, which then led to another… well, after a while, I had 3 boxes + other stuff in my living room, waiting to be put into the car. Yup… I think mastering the art of ‘light packing’ will definitely take a couple of tries. Let’s hope I perfect it before I decide to go backpacking in Europe! Ah, and also the skill of reading a map…
June is always a busy month. School is out for most of the kids. The official season of summer arrives. Father’s Day. Birthdays. Graduation…and for some, it is only the beginning of a long, long journey. Despite the bustling about of cars trying to find a decent parking spot and people in a crowded gymnasium, there’s something about convocation that is always so uplifting and motivating. It’s a reminder for those graduates that they made it. After all those cups of coffees or energy drinks, those countless hours of studying and lab report writing… after all the self doubt. The end is here. And it was not in vain. That every step of the way got them to where they are today. And it’s only just the beginning of something so big.
Two years ago, I was sitting in those chairs, waiting for my name to be called to walk the stage. And soon enough in November, I shall be doing the same routine again. It was nice to attend my friend’s convocation today. To see so many other graduates who have made it so far with their lives. To have the motivation to keep on trucking, despite all the highs and lows. The speeches were nice reminders to keep living the life of chasing after your dreams. It’s okay to be scared of the unknown. But try not to let the fear encapsulate you. Don’t be afraid to take chances in chasing your dreams. Dream big. And don’t give up if you don’t first succeed at achieving your goals. Don’t forget to appreciate the small, little things in life. Take time to stop, and realize how far you have gone, and how much you have changed from all the experiences you have had.
I was in my friend’s car today, and a Glee song came on that I thought was so fitting for this emotion I was feeling. It’s called Roots Before Branches. Such a heart felt song! I hope you all enjoy it. Go out and enjoy the beautiful sunshine and take time to just relax and look around.
And… congratulations to all the new grads of 2012!
I cannot believe that I am half way done my 4th placement! Time goes by fast, huh? I’ve been enjoying my time here; the people are amazingly nice/sweet and easy to connect with and they’re funny; I love to play Crib during social rec hours (I haven’t gotten skunked yet!); and wait for it—– they have food for decent prices AND they get free Starbucks pastries every Tuesday and Thursday. Yup, I think that just did it right there. We can stop at “free” Starbucks pastries… haha.
But that’s besides the point! I think if there’s one thing I really learned this week, is that there is always two sides to a story. There’s your interpretation and then there’s someone else’s. Do you know that saying where it goes something along the lines of “walk 1000 miles in someone else’s shoes”? Well, initially, there was a man there who I would easily get frustrated with… and I already knew that it was very unprofessional of me to be passing judgment like that. But then when we did the interview with him, my mind took a complete 180. It was then that I really understood the reason of why we have to stop and listen to someone’s story. Because really, how can you really know who they are and what they do, if you don’t even take the time to sit down and get to listen and understand them?
Anyways, that was definitely my lesson of the week. Definitely put things into perspective for me.
We all long for a place where we can feel safe, a place where we can call ‘our own’. But unfortunately, for those who are experiencing mental illness, the impact of stigma can be to the point where there isn’t a safe place to call ‘home’ anymore.
One week into the placement, and I feel like I’ve been here for much longer. The people are amazing- smart, friendly, lively, unique. And they all experience a mental illness. But you know what, you honestly would not even know just by looking at them. They’re a bunch of wonderful people. From the first minute we walked into the door, they welcomed us OT students with open arms and warm friendly smiles. They were not afraid that we were entering their ‘space’ but rather allowed us to be a part of their home. These people are so easy to get along with and so easy to talk to! I cannot even begin to describe the feeling and the atmosphere in this place. Sometimes, I even think that these people are much easier to get along with than the other people I regularly encounter. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t laugh my head off at something someone has said. And it’s so funny because we keep joking that in 6 weeks time, we’ll walk out of there as crib experts, and whenever I play crib next time, I will always remember this placement and the wonderful people who taught me. The beauty of it is, is that even though we’re there to collaborate with them and work with them, they’re also working with us to further our clinical skills. How enriching!
I think this has been the first time between any placements where we’ve gotten more than a weekend off. Make that 10 days! And of course, I went home to spend it in my lovely bed (which doesn’t make my back sore!) and got to take a little time to myself. Aside from that, I got to catch up with some friends, which was a good balance between quiet time to myself and socializing.
But, I am unfortunately back in Edmonton, where tomorrow will be the first day of my 4th placement! Time goes by so fast. I keep thinking that this is only my 2nd placement, when in reality, it’s my 2nd last placement!! This one is an independent community placement, so we have more freedom to do what we want, but at the same time, I’m hoping that it’ll be the just right challenge. Of course with every placement, I’m always a little reluctant to start because really, who doesn’t want more time to relax?! But I have a feeling that these 6 weeks will fly by and by the time I know… I’ll be blogging about the last day soon!!! But now that school is over though, I don’t have any excuse to not work on my dreaded paper (which must not be named!)… but the prospect of me jogging with the hot sun shining down on me keeps me going!! Did I tell you…
I can’t wait for summer? =)