How do I start a blog? What should my first post be about, I wondered. This blog is going to be about occupational therapy (OT) and the way I parent using my OT knowledge, so I thought I would start with writing about my journey.
I first “discovered” occupational therapy in the year 2006, having never heard of it before. I was 24 and completing a diploma of massage therapy at EIT in Hawkes Bay. And as much as I LOVED this area of study, I knew that I didn’t want to “be” a massage therapist. It was a step in the right direction though; an introduction to tertiary study, a hobby that I had taken further interest to study (because I had previously been working in dead end jobs!). So… I went to some sessions with a life coach. And over a course of a few months, we discussed strengths, weaknesses, hopes and dreams, and guess what… she ended up suggesting that I “might” be suited to a career as an occupational therapist. WHAT?! I had no idea what she was talking about. Little did I know…. she was bang on.
Back to studying massage therapy for now. Looking into options for my next step, I considered enrolling in either physiotherapy and occupational therapy. But at that stage of my life committing to studying any degree was a bit scary. It meant moving cities, getting a bigger student loan, and committing 3 or 4 years of my life. Too much, I thought! So I chickened out and kept an eye out in the paper for a job. The perfect role came up – as an OT Assistant at the hospital! I went for the job and bluffed my way into getting the role. It was actually perfect – working on various wards of the hospital, learning first hand what an occupational therapist does. Amazing! I often thank God for giving me that opportunity. It wasn’t long before the OTs I worked alongside were convincing me to take a leap and enrol to study. So after much consideration I decided to make the HUGE move from sunny Napier all the way down to the deep South to study at Otago Polytechnic’s School of Occupational Therapy. Packing up my life, my Mum and I did a massive roadie in February of 2008 all the way south where she left me to set up a flat, make some friends, and basically start a completely new life in Dunedin (sorry Mum, that must’ve been hard! But thanks for the roadie!).
So then came the study. Three years living in Dunedin. The ‘Dunedin’ part was the hardest part – being so far away from family, in the cold. BUT – I actually LOVED my study! OK, not the intensely difficult VIVA oral exams (ugh, the memories give me shivers). But I really did feel like I’d finally found “my thing” studying OT. Fast forward three years and I was graduating, employed, and loving it. Here’s some cheesy photos from my graduation (just to prove that I did it):
I got two years of paid work under my belt before having our first child at the end of 2012. We now have three children, and having chosen to stay at home with them, I’ve sometimes struggled with the thought that I might be losing my OT skills and chance at a ‘career’. However, I find myself applying a lot of my OT skills to life at home raising little people. Hence this blog; to document that and to share any other tips and tricks with other parents.
Thanks for reading this far, if you’ve made it! Hope you enjoy my blog. Rachel.