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  • Writer's pictureHollie Leung

Where should I be an OT?

I'm currently finishing up my final year of university, in Liverpool studying Occupational Therapy. The people who know me now have a vague idea of what an OT does, and to be honest, it was only in year two that I fully understood the role of OT, as it wasn't what I had initially wanted to do as a career.

I had my heart set on Law since year 7 (I know, it's nerdy) and I didn't always have top grades but they were good enough to satisfy both my parents and my expectations. I enjoyed being in at the "girl's grammar school" and the culture developed between leisure and academics. I did well in GCSEs, so when I failed my first year of A-Level: it came as a shock. I had a lot of confusion and frustration, why I failed all my subjects miserably, even though I actually had worked really hard and why other people who didn't put any work into their studies managed to secure their spot in A2, even though their grades weren't good either. I dislike change and being thrown off plans, so thinking of changing schools or going to college really scared me.

However, an auntie at church worked at St Paul's had offered to help me out and a good friend who had dropped out of school had messaged me, updating that she was considering St Paul's also and that gave me much more reassurance and confidence. Those two years worked out much better than I had anticipated: I met good friends, set out what I actually liked and disliked, became more disciplined with studies, youth group and church, built better relationships with my parents and I became much more independent.

This was the time where I discovered OT: I was certain I didn't want to be a doctor, nurse or physiotherapist; so decided to go for work experience in hospitals and volunteering at A&E and it opened my eyes widely. I still didn't quite understand the role but I decided to go for it. I knew a friend who studied OT at Liverpool and began to bombard her with so many questions, and she kindly answered them all. However, I really wasn't sure on Liverpool, despite receiving an offer. I hadn't enjoyed the open day, so my mam didn't think I needed to go to the interview: I wanted to go to determine that I definitely didn't want to go there. BUT I came back instead saying, Liverpool is where I want to go, to my mam's surprise. I'd met some guys and gals (from Liverpool) at PHAT the previous summer, who have helped me adapt and settle in so much and I couldn't be more thankful. 3 years has gone on: I've learnt so much about my skills, competency and personality and I still believe that Jesus had set this all out: bringing the right people at the right time, pushing me out of my comfort zone and hitting a 'low', using me in church and in specific communities around me, and teaching me about trust, patience, resilience and his goodness.

I'm now at the stage where I have completed 2 and a half years worth of placement, assignments and exams; with the final two 4500 word assignments to do before May and to complete my Professional Development Portfolio before April. The thought of becoming a 'real' adult is actually quite daunting, especially as a health-care professional. I have just applied to a Band 5 rotational post in Birmingham and I'm still awaiting a response about interviews.

I had found a post back at home and had sent it to my parents just to see what their response was and they were very serious over it. I, on the other hand, was very doubtful, I wasn't ready to apply or prepared in an any way to complete an interview. I was very conflicted, stubborn and adamant that I didn't want to apply, despite the logical reasoning of saving money whilst living at home and having my home community nearby, but it actually stressed me out more than I thought. I'm still considering and am open to other cities, other specialist hospitals and services; however, applying to this Birmingham job: I'm not sure why I did and whether it's a good/bad thing, despite so many thoughts and questions. The rotational areas are specialist and I'm genuinely interested in the roles identified but my questions have been: why Birmingham, when the hospital I actually want to work in is not on the list, I've had little cardiac experience and it's not actually a comfortable place for me? I'll talk about my feelings towards Birmingham in another post, but the question of where I should be placed, where my skills and nature will be used and what can I contribute to the community or learn from them, constantly runs through my mind.

I know OT is what I want to and should be doing, so I should be sensitive and obedient to what God is trying to say and put in front of me. Even so, there are so many things that I am uncertain and unsure of, which probably is also natural when it comes to graduation and entering a new chapter. For all I know, I might not get this job and a whole load of questions will come to mind again.

Please keep me in your prayers and hopefully this just shares a little bit about how I came to OT and what is going to be ahead of me.

Love Hol x

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

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