2nd Term Recap and Tips

What a long semester it has been, and how happy I am to be finished with it and ready to move onto classes geared towards learning interventions!

Here was my second term schedule:

I took 5 classes and I’ve included the grades I received and linked the classes to my Instagram posts that include detailed explanations of the class:

Just as last term, all of my class lectures were online and all but one met on campus for labs. I had to be on campus for labs on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and had Thursdays and Fridays “off”- though everyday was spent watching lectures, studying and doing homework.

This term was challenging, it challenged me to get out of my comfort zone, and it challenged the skills that I had built last term – you can read about how I survived first term here. (Seriously check out that post, it’s full of great tips that even I need to remind myself of).

This term we started to apply what we’ve learned and to build on our skills of working with clients – including interviews with individuals from the community and many, many practicals and sim labs. As the months progressed I found myself connecting more with my professors, becoming more confident in my skill set, and getting more involved on campus and in the community.

As our professors warned us, expectations would increase with each succeeding semester, and expectations were definitely high when it came to retaining knowledge and performing for this term. However, with 1st term under my belt, I felt ready to take on the challenge of a tougher course-load and increased expectations.

Study Tips by Class

Second term was another term all about foundational knowledge. We discussed and applied every aspect of the OTPF, expanded on performing an activity analysis (which is very tedious, might I add), learned the process of evaluating, interviewing and assessing, and of course learning about conditions and how OT can be involved.

Here are some study tips that I built on and picked up during this term:

Process of Occupational Therapy:

  • Keep an excel spreadsheet of assessments that you learn, like this:
    • It was a lot easier to manage, and I could easily pull this up to reference during class or while I was practicing evals with classmates.

Screen Shot 2019-05-11 at 5.06.36 PM

  • When practicing evals, don’t get caught up in knowing everything about the patient beforehand. The whole point of conducting an evaluation is to find out this information.
    • My classmates and I would get so flustered because we didn’t know how to ask questions because we didn’t know anything about the condition- but that’s the whole point of conducting an interview!
    • Learn how to ask open-ended and probing questions!

Conditions in Occupational Therapy:

  • Use your resources!!!
    • For my class about conditions (i.e. cardiac conditions, cancer, obesity, neuro conditions, mental health, etc.) a majority of the class barely passed the first exam because they studied solely from the lecture notes and never opened the textbook.
    • Use the resources that your professors provide you- they are important!
  • Try looking at youtube videos to help you visualize how some of these conditions may look, or watch interviews with individuals who have these conditions. This helped me get a better look at how it may be in the real world.
  • I also created a spreadsheet for common medications, their uses and common side effects- excel spreadsheets are key!

Clinical Neuroscience

  • Honestly, just stay on top of the material!
    • It’s a lot of content, and it can be very dense, staying on top of your work and avoiding procrastination is an important skill.
  • Diagrams will be your best friend.
    • Draw them, label them, visualize them. There are a whole lot of pathways in the central nervous system, if you can draw them out and you know the information they carry, you’ll be golden.

Time Management Tips

Time management is so important in grad school- especially when a lot of the class content is online, like my school. Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way, and have had to refine as the semester continued.

  • Know your limits.
    • Stop saying yes to every opportunity that presents itself, or every friend that needs a favor. If you’re in OT school I think it’s safe to say that you’re generally a people-pleaser (I know I love to help people out), but if you keep saying yes to everything, sooner or later you’re going to burnout and it’s not going to be pretty.
    • Instead learn how to give gentle “no’s” and try not to commit yourself to too many things at once.
    • And for the things that you do commit to, give them your all!
  • Block out time in your schedule for studying, even if you don’t really have anything to ‘study,’ this will ensure that you’re not overbooking yourself because you have committed that time to productivity already.
  • DON’T PROCRASTINATE
    • I put this in my 1st term recap blog and it still holds true. DO NOT put things off. If you have the time now, JUST DO IT.
  • Get involved!
    • I find that the less ‘free time’ I have, the more likely I am to keep a tight schedule and not waste time.
    • This term I volunteered more, and I also got more involved on campus (I was elected the SOTA community service chair for summer term! Woohoo!) yet my grades were better this term than they were last term!

 

Free Tip: 

This term I was also privileged enough to attend the AOTA conference in New Orleans, and wow what an experience. I learned so much in just three days and met so many amazing people. I also had the opportunity to connect with some of my professors on a more personal level which in turn made class so much more engaging and made me pay attention more.

  • So here’s your tip – get to KNOW your professors. Talk to them outside of class, say hi to them in the hallways, ask them questions. These will be your future colleagues! These will be the people you go to when you’re stuck on a complicated case. They want to help you, you need only ask.

 

Now onto third term! It’s hard to believe that I’m already halfway done with the schooling portion of this program. Before I know it I’m going to be heading off to level 2 fieldwork, and I don’t think I’m ready for that yet haha.

As always, I hope you find these tips helpful and that you can implement them into your lives! Good luck!

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