Monday, January 24, 2011

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I am going on my third week of OT school and I’m already faced with a difficult decision. Disclaimer: All decisions are difficult to me because I am the most indecisive person in the world… It’s something I am working on though. The decision at hand is if I should go to OT conference as a brand new first year OT student with only four months of experience. I was worried about it being beneficial enough for me to spend the money to fly to Pennsylvania because where I live is not so near there. Of course I e-mailed my blog hero and she even did a little post on it.

The most difficult problem is money. I may as well put it out there that I am living almost completely on student loans. I think it is important to note this in the event anyone ever reads this wanting to go to OT school and is worried about money. So, while I do worry that spending $700+ dollars when I only have a fixed amount of money for the next four months seems like a lot, I also have to realize the reason I took out so many loans is so that I can further my education and I think conference is a great way to do just that. Another issue for me is school work. I know we are not supposed to worry about grades, and I’m not really, but we just so happen to have three out of six total physiology test the month of the conference. The OT faculty is extremely supportive of us going so we do not have many OT class assignments due then, but physiology is taught by a med school teacher. The OT teachers say we should just talk to him about getting the test moved, but the OCD side of me hates to take a make-up test. I literally never missed a test in undergrad even when I had a 103 degree fever once. Maybe this is a good thing that will help me to step out of my comfort zone a little bit and realize there are more important things and not everything has to be perfect!

So will I stay or will I go? I am leaning towards the go. But knowing me I will probably drag the decision out for a few more days minimum… hopefully not long enough to miss the incredibly cheap flight I found online because that would almost definitely result in me staying.

But enough about conference. I am starting to get into the swing of things with school. The most difficult thing right now is figuring out a way to learn the material because OT classes are structured different than many undergrad classes are. In undergrad, I always studied very hard after every lecture so that I would never really have to study before a test. In OT school, there is so much information that method simply will not work! It takes me so long just to read the materials before lecture and go over the notes and highlighted sections of the book after. There is no way I can actually hard-core study all that material. We were assigned buddies from the second year class and mine has been very helpful with study tips. She advised me of her method, which is similar to what I just mentioned and explained that since there are usually only two tests a semester the teachers will generally go over what is most important to really go back and study before the test. That being said, everything we do is important and it is vital that as an OT student you build your own knowledge base by doing all the readings and assignments even if you will not be tested on them.

Monday, January 17, 2011

First Week of School

I have survived my first week as an OT student! Now I just have to get back into the school groove which proved to be quite a feat after eight months off. Realistically, I know I am not going to blog more than once a week so I am setting a goal to write every weekend about the previous week and being that it is Monday, it appears that I am already behind! Oh well today is a holiday and therefore, technically counts as a weekend. I also have the excuse that I have had a violently ill boyfriend to tend to and a little puppy… but who am I kidding I went to an amazing two hour yoga class last night instead of writing : )

Moving on… Last week started with two orientations on Monday and Tuesday. The first one was from the school of allied health and was basically an overview of all the different areas: bookstore, campus police, financial aid, etc. The second day was spent getting our laptops, learning how to use them, and fixing problems. Finally we had the actual OT student orientation on the afternoon of the second day. The rest of the week was spent in regular classes. I am taking Human Physiology, Interactive Reasoning, Concepts of Occupation, Occupational Performance Across the Lifespan, and Medical Conditions. So far in my one week experience, I really love the classes and the faculty. Everyone is so nice and it is kind of hard to get used to faculty telling you they really want you to succeed instead of telling you that you will never make it in life unless you get a 90%-100% in one particular class. I have to admit I am all too ready to get rid of that mentality. My biggest complaint and fear with my undergrad career was that my grades did not reflect my knowledge of the subject and lo and behold, in graduate school they are telling us grades are not important but content is! I really love school and being a student, but this month is going to be a boot camp for me after having so much free time. I spent some of the weekend doing school work and it took me entirely too long to go through the first chapter of my physiology text, which by the way I should already know by heart. I was also slow reading several textbook chapters and I do not even want to estimate the amount of time I spent doing a collage for one of my classes. I got a little carried away with that project. I may post a picture later if and when I find my camera and have the time to figure out how to make my camera and this school computer work together. If the ease with which I installed my printer is any indication, then this could be a long battle. Doing the collage reminds me of another reason I think I am going to love OT school, we not only get to dissect cadavers, which was one of my favorite things about undergrad, but we also get to do arts and crafts. What more could you ask for?