Hi there! I am just finishing up my last few months of OT school. I have finished all of the classroom work am doing my final fieldword experience at an outpatient rehab clinic. I went to columbia university in NYC.
I worked as a nursing assistant for 2 years hoping to get my foot in the door to become a physician assistant. When I shadowed PA’s, there was something lacking for me. There was hardly a connection with patients and only symptoms were being treated, not the causes of those symptoms. Discouraged, I continued working as a CNA and found occupational therapy. One day, I was about to dress one of my patients for the day when the OT came in. The patient was a stroke victim, could not move his right side, could not speak or do anything for himself, or so i thought. The OT asked me to stay in the room to help her. She told the patient that she wanted him to help us as much as he could even though it would be hard. So, instead of the patient just laying there while I washed him with soap and water, while I rolled him side to side lifted each of his extremities, even the unaffected ones to dress him, combed his hair for him, brushed his teeth for him, fed him, I learned that there was so much more to this person and so much more I could be doing to help him. By the time the OT was done with the session, the patient was exhausted of course because he had worked so hard. However, he had a completely different attitude about him. The OT encouraged him and taught him that he was not useless and he could still do things for himself. Everyday he did a little more, even began feeding himself with set up and adaptive equipment. After working with OT, PT and SLP, the patient left the rehab 1 month later. The morning of his discharge he washed and dressed himself, brushed his hair and teeth and fed himself breakfast with minimal assistance all because of adaptations an occupational therapist made for him. Thats when I knew I absolutely wanted to be an OT. I wanted to give people their lives back even if it meant doing things a different way. So yes, I do love OT!!!!
OT school wasn’t too bad. I definitely dedicated 2 years of my life to it. I could not work and had to sacrifice a lot of time with family and friends. You will read a lot, you will write tons of papers and study every signle day, but its manageable and you will still have time for yourself if you manage your time well.
I do not have any kids but many of my classmates did. 2 people actually gave birth during the semester and were able to work it out. Many of my classmates actually found out about OT after caring for their child with severe disabilities. They certainly had a lot on their plates, but again, made it all work.
I do not make a salary yet but hope to very soon! Unemployment for OT is negliable. There are so many jobs out there for OT. Columbia was definitely not a cheap school. I plan on working a full time and per diem job once i pass the nbcot to pay back my loans asap. The debt doesnt worry me too much as I know i’ll have a job that i love.
Hope this helps!! I can answer any other questions you mihgt have as well!