Sunday, June 14, 2009

Now What?

I've been giving some thought lately to what the purpose of this blog has been and where it is headed. Although it started as a personal account of my journey, one that I hoped future students considering occupational therapy might find useful, it quickly became a vehicle for sharing information with my fellow applicants (and now classmates/colleagues!!). And it was very useful at the time. We all had questions, anxieties, were striving for the same goal... and I enjoyed finding the information and sharing it with others! It made me feel like I was contributing something to my community of fellow students, and subsequently made me feel like I wasn't going through this process alone. That was the wonderful gift that all of you have given to me.

But now we've reached our goal and the sorting hat has placed us each in our respective houses (to use a not necessarily related Harry Potter reference, lol). The first stage of our journey to becoming occupational therapists has come to an end. And so, I think it's also time for this blog to make a change. I will still be trying to keep on top of the information we students need, and I'm happy to share it with my classmates. I just think that there are better venues for doing that... like in person, or via email, or even on facebook.

So, where am I going with this thing then? What am I going to blog about now?

I think I'd like to redirect this narrative back to my original purpose... to document my personal journey to become an occupational therapist. Although it may seem a bit narcissistic at first glance, it is not my intention for this to be an exercise in navel gazing. When I was considering my own options one of the BIGGEST aids that gave me insight into the OT profession, and what I would be getting myself into if I decided to pursue a Masters in OT, was the blog of another student. Many of you may also have read Karen's blog Occupational Therapy Students BeLOnG. She began documenting her own journey when she started her Masters program, and it was by sharing her experiences... in class, in placement, and personal... that I was able to see what the reality was like, and therefore able to start visualizing myself in that role. I am so grateful to her for sharing her personal story in a very public way!!! She has been an incredible ambassador for the profession to new generations of people who look to the Internet for information and insight.

But what struck me was that, as awesome as Karen's blog is, she was a lone voice. There were a few other blogs. Most of them are inactive. Some active ones are posted by professionals for other professionals, and they are great! But I'm not their target audience yet. So, my hope is that I can lend my voice to the chorus, and provide a Canadian perspective while I'm at it.

Furthermore (because I'm not one to do things the easy way, lol) I'm hoping to feature monthly guest-posts from students in other OT programs!!! I'll post a separate entry about this for those willing to be involved (send me an email if it sounds like you!). By doing this, my hope is that future students will gain insight about our chosen grad program and profession that gets them as excited and enthusiastic about the choice as we are!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Academic Timeline for the McMaster MSc OT Class of 2011!

Woot! The sessional dates (the whole academic timeline) for the MSc OT Class of 2011 has been posted on the McMaster website!!

Class of 2011 Schedule

Also, for anyone who has not yet seen them there are two Facebook groups you may be interested in joining. One is for the Orientation Week and has been set up by the organizing students for us new kids. The other is a McMaster MSc OT Class of 2011 group where members are introducing themselves to one another.
If you're in the class and on Facebook... hook it up!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Convocation 2009

I will say up front that I am not one for long ceremonies that involve being crammed in like a sardine unable to move in the hot sunshine while people go blah blah blah. lol. I also understand that this is a perspective not shared by most people... I know I'm the odd one out here. So, when my own convocation date was coming up and it turned out to be on a day I work I thought I would have a good excuse not to go. Afterall, I never attended my highschool grad nor did I go to my first degree convocation (my current one was degree #2 for me, 1st one was in English Lit).
But as the day drew closer I started to feel differently. Whereas in the past I was simply going through the motions of what was expected of me, this degree was a very personal choice. I sacrificed a lot to come back for another round and I had a very specific goal in mind. I worked really hard and accomplished my goals. I felt like I'd really earned something and it felt good to have all of the work and focus pay off!

Suddenly I found that I wanted to go to the ceremony. This was a right of passage. By achieving this goal I have become someone different than I was before. I know what I am capable of and I am proud of my accomplishments. I wanted the ritual that would mark the transition. So, at the last minute I decided to go! And I'm so glad I did. It was a beautiful day. It was not nearly so long or boring as I thought it would be. And there was a wonderful energy in the air as everyone seemed to be feeling as elated as I was.

The best part was when they read out my name and I took my walk across the "stage" (Trent does their convocations outside, so it's not really a stage... more like a quad). I shook the chancellor's hand, smiled for a photo, and continued my crossing. What I did not expect was the reception I got on the far side. In our circuit across the stage and back to our seats all students walk past the gallery where any attending faculty members are seated. When I came across the stage my Profs and the other faculty, who I'd worked closely with for the last three years as a member of the Psyc Dept Committee, were standing in wait to shake my hand and give me a hug. I was almost in tears! It felt so great to be literally received with open arms by the people who have been my mentors and role models. It really meant the world to me.

I'm so glad I went. :)

And as icing on the cake...

Each year someone of note gets an honorary doctorate degree. At my convocation that person was Sarah Polley. People were really excited by this and I just didn't get it. And then I saw her!! In my program it said something about blah blah blah Canadian Actress, blah blah blah Road to Avonlea, blah blah blah Oscar Nominee... But as soon as she walked out I said (in my head) "OMG, it's Ana from Dawn of the Dead!!!!" Being a zombie-genre aficionado I was thrilled. I will never again disparage the inclusion of random public figures at these events. :)

So, that was my convocation experience. I hope that everyone else had the chance to enjoy their moment in the sun too!!

June 3, 2009 - Trent University
(that's me in the middle!)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Round Two... Here We Come!!!

Good news for the waitlists... Round Two is almost here!!!
The round one offers expire on June 5th and hopefully everyone has had a chance to make a decision they are happy with and submit the appropriate paperwork (and send your monies and transcripts).

For myself, I've sent my response and transcript request to ORPAS. Then I submitted the electronic response that McMaster requested, along with the deposit. Now I'm in the process of getting my health forms filled out (I've never had a TB test before), scheduling a first aid course, getting my CPIC (criminal record check for working with vulnerable populations), and trying to take a reasonable photo of myself to submit to McMaster for their ID cards (you have to send in the info 6 weeks before registration!!).

For the CPIC, McMaster sent links to the Hamilton Police Force website and they have a special deal with them so that it only costs $15. However, I don't live in Hamilton to pick it up when it's ready. So, I'm looking into what it will cost to have it done in Peterborough, which is where I currently live. In reviewing the acceptance packages I got (before I recycled them) I also noticed that Western recommends a central service for these things that provides you with the report and a wallet card indicating your clearance that are both good for the 2009-2010 academic year. I checked it out and it seems pretty good... plus I can do it from a distance and they will mail me the report. The catch? It costs $40.
I thought I'd post the link to the website for this service anyway... just in case there was anyone who might find it useful. The service is called the Ontario Education Services Corporation and the link is in the title. It looks like it's primarily set up for students in Teacher's Ed programs... but as I mentioned, Western recommends it.

Anyhoo... now for the ranting portion of my blog. I don't rant very often. I find it is usually unproductive and just puts bad ju-ju out into the world, but today I find I am compelled to rant a little. I just found out that the ex-girlfriend of one of my friends... a woman who came to my home once when she was sick with an unspecified illness for which she was taking antibiotics... actually had TB!!!!! So, I'm freaking out a little. And perhaps I'm overreacting, but I'm genuinely concerned that my TB skin test will be reactive... which just makes the health screening SO much more complicated than it need be. So my rant is... why do people who know they are sick with contagious illnesses feel compelled to attend social events where they will expose other people? Especially with something like TB :( *kicks sand* And who even gets TB anymore?!
Nothing to do now but get tested and hope for the best.

Best of luck to all the Round Two people and congratulations on your decision to all of the Round One people!!
Pretty soon we'll all be searching for room mates (I already got dibs on the best one!! ;) and hunting for apartments (already started this one too, lol... I'm such a nerd). The summer is going to fly by and this will be the last one we have before diving into our program! Enjoy it!!