Why I want to become an Occupational Therapist starts with a confession: I made a mistake. You see when I was 22, I walked away from a profession that gave me the type of fulfillment I could not get from my actual major in college. And it set me on a journey that ends with you, admission committee, reading this essay.
When I was 22, I had a choice. By now, I am sure you have reviewed my resume and my transcripts and you can see what it was. I made the decision to not spend my senior year on campus at Elmira College. Instead, I did what was considered the smart thing and started my career in operative politics. And I had some fun on the campaign trail and had some trials as well. In the end, I decided to do what all operatives do when they burn out from moving every 3-6 months, I decided to go to graduate school and take what should have been the next step in my career. Instead, I woke up.
You see, Admission Committee, when I was up at Rochester Institute of Technology I ended up in a familiar job. The grant I was promised fell through; there was no position available in my department so I turned to a place where I knew I would be successful, RIT’s Sports Medicine training room. As you can see from my resume, that was where I worked in Undergraduate and where while I had stressful days, I never had a truly bad one.
At RIT, I worked with the Certified Athletic trainers much as I did at Elmira. I also helped them to formulate a manual for training future Sports Medicine Student Assistants. The training room got me through some hard times, the death of my mom the first quarter of my first year and then a bad breakup with a longtime boyfriend at start of my second . All the while, I started to feel something, a thing I hadn’t felt since the Training Room at Elmira: I felt happy. I started to think “why am I not doing this full time? Why am I not helping people get better?” Alas, I would remind myself I was on the path to help people through policy analysis and fixing the internet, so it would even out in the end.
I ended up leaving RIT to attempt to finish my thesis at home in New Jersey so I could job search. I ended up finding a job and a really good one with a company called Bloomberg. The job mixed many of my existing skills into a nice little bow. While it was a great job, it was not great for me. I was not a fit for the high stress office environment. “But I had loans to pay”, I told myself every morning as I got up and drove the hour to Skillman. And it was slowly killing me. I got sick with stress-related illnesses, migraines and stomach issues. Suffice to say the job made me a mess.
My final wakeup call occurred because of a tragedy that befell a friend. During the Jewish high holidays, he was walking home with his parents from synagogue. On their walk, a car hit his parents, family friends and him. His parents were killed instantly and he survived with a shattered arm and broken ankle. I wish the wakeup call had been more mild.
I would spend months with him first in the hospital and then the rehabilitation center. I was back in a training room and I was helping someone get better. I had not felt this fulfilled since I was in the RIT/Elmira rooms. I decided then, I was done at Bloomberg. I was going to take all the money I saved up. That money was supposed to be to help me move out and go back to school to fulfill what I believed my purpose to be.
My friends thought I was crazy. I have to admit, I think I was too and a little naïve. I thought I would have an easy path. I would go back and do the pre-requisites and apply in under a year to Physical Therapy and Occupational therapy programs. Evidently, years of doing project-based classwork had spoiled me and I forgot how hard science classes can be. I struggled with Anatomy and Physiology mainly because I am horrible at multiple-choice tests. I get test anxiety and I blank. Kind of shocking for someone who could handle an athlete injured during a game and need to figure out how quickly (if they could) go back out on the field. I also had another foe: math and chemistry. I really tried hard in both of those classes, I guess some people just do not get chemistry.
I found a job with Virtua as a perdiem physical therapy aide. First I worked outpatient and then was crossed trained to work acute care as well. I have been at Virtua for over a year and I can honestly say despite getting pooped on, peed on and thrown up on; I have never had a truly bad day. There is a look that patients get when they stand up after surgery with less pain or you show them how to use a sockaid. It is that look that tells me no matter what I am doing something worthwhile.
So you see, Admission Committee, I took a roundabout way of getting here to you. I believe you will not find a more dedicated and studious want-to-be Occupational Therapist. From my outpatient, acute care and personal exposure, I believe I know exactly what I am getting myself into and what it takes to succeed.
Friday, February 12, 2016
And with the first rejection...
Well tonight I got my first rejection from one of the OT schools. So, here is the first draft of my OT school essay. This is really really rough but I feel best explains why I chose the path I did.