Our first full week was way more overwhelming than our half-week, rightfully so. We had three more “1st days” which is probably why I’m feeling a little more overwhelmed with everything that needs to get done. However, I am continually reminding myself to take it one day at a time.
One highlight of the week included having our first SOTA meeting where we discussed upcoming conferences, volunteer opportunities, fundraising ideas, and elections. I decided to run for a position but I wasn’t elected. The election did not include speeches or even introductions; therefore, most votes were based on first-impressions or a game of eenie-meenie-minnie-moe. I’m ok honestly with not being elected. I started this blog without being elected with the full intention of advocating for the OT field. I will advocate on this blog, my social media pages, and to anyone that wants to listen to me talk about what I learned in class so far. Here, I can voice my opinion on my own time, in my own way, and with intrinsic purpose to self-reflect and teach others.
This week I also attended an adult autism support group where I interacted and played board games with the attendees. It was a very relaxed environment and I know that the individuals enjoyed seeing a new face in their group. I plan on trying to volunteer at the support group 1-2 times per month because I know how much they enjoyed having new people to play board games with!
This week we were assigned an activity log in which we have to record every activity we do in a day and how much time we spend doing it. We then categorize each activity into one of the eight occupations listed on The Framework. Once they are categorized, we have to make a pie chart. A lot of my time (obviously) is spent doing educational occupations. This has been a tedious assignment but it’s helped me become more familiar with The Framework.
Also noteworthy is that our professors have forced us to change where we are sitting every class and who we are sitting next to. They’re teaching us not to get comfortable all the time with routine and to get to know our classmates better. I was a little hesitant at first because I liked sitting on the left side of the classroom, but after moving to the other side/middle, I’m ok with it!
We also had two guest speakers who worked at a community-based mental health organization nearby to the university. We participated in a “Hearing Voices” activity for about one hour to gain a better understanding of what individuals with schizophrenia experience on a day to day basis.
For an hour, we all wore earbuds and listened to an audio recording of voices that individuals with schizophrenia have heard themselves. The guest speakers rotated the class through three distinct activities – an individual 10-question test on a packet of information we were given on hurricane preparedness, a 20 minute game of Scrabble with four classmates, and an interactive task with someone on campus.
This experience resulted in empathy and a better understanding of what individuals with schizophrenia experience daily. It was very eye-opening for me because it can be very hard to relate to someone who experiences auditory hallucinations. This activity provided me with a hands-on learning opportunity to gain insight on how difficult it can be for individuals with schizophrenia to socially interact or complete necessary tasks on a day to day basis. A few days later, I spent at least a half hour teaching Josh all about schizophrenia to bring better awareness and understanding of the disorder. (If anyone is interested in learning more about “Hearing Voices” please reach out to me!)
This weekend I have been overwhelmed by readings to prepare for next week’s classes. I have tried to find occupational balance by taking mental/social breaks. I went for a bike ride today because I wanted to spend 30 minutes outside on a beautiful day. I set aside time at the end of my day to write this blog.
Tomorrow I plan on going through the remainder of a Powerpoint recording I need to finish for Monday’s class, reading more for Monday’s Group Process class, going for a run/bike in the morning, and finishing all supplemental material for the beginning of the week.
My Friday & Saturday nights aren’t going to be very exciting for the next few weeks but I’m ok with that. This aspiration of mine requires a lot of sacrifice, persistence, and determination and I’m fully committed to succeeding. I’m living my dream.