A Day in the Life: First Year Occupational Therapy Student

Kaylin.jpgHi! My name is Kaylin Magosin, and I am a first-year Occupational Therapy (OT) student at Salus. I grew up in Cherry Hill, N.J., which is a suburb of Philly on the Jersey side. Before my senior year of college, my family moved across the bridge to the Pennsylvania suburbs, where I live now and commute from to Salus.

I attended the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) for my undergraduate degree. I loved everything about Pitt and Pittsburgh, and still do. I graduated from Pitt in Spring 2018 with a degree in neuroscience and minors in math and chemistry. I first learned about occupational therapy growing up through friends and family members who needed it. Specifically, I became interested in pediatrics, and my exposure to OT is what actually sparked my interest in neuroscience! How the brain/mind interacts with the body in the environment to allow people to do what they do, and the neurological/psychological reasons behind human behavior fascinates me. So much mental processing and body functioning goes into completing the most basic activity, like making a sandwich. Many people do not know what occupational therapists do nor do they have a full understanding of what our scope of practice entails.

As OTs, we help people do the things they want and need to do. We optimize function, especially for those individuals living with disabilities, so they can lead full lives. OTs work in a range of settings across the lifespan that includes schools, inpatient rehab centers, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient centers, hand therapy clinics, and community centers such as museums, therapeutic horseback riding, and even corporations like SEPTA. If there is a setting or population that could benefit from occupational therapy, OTs will find a way to partner with them! I am excited about the breadth of OT opportunities and the variety of populations that I have the possibility to work with. The potential for interdisciplinary collaboration, especially at a health-science professional school like Salus, also makes me love OT.

Now that you have an idea of what occupational therapy is, I’ll give you an overview of what a typical first-year OT student’s school day looks like. Our schedule changes, as we don’t have the same start and end time each day, but generally we have six-hour days, and have classes three days a week.

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On a day I have class, I usually spend about an hour getting dressed, eating breakfast, and packing my lunch, before allowing another hour to drive to campus, since there’s always some traffic. Usually I’ll have class for two to three hours, then we have an hour lunch break. During the lunch break, I’ll work on a group project, ask my professors a few questions, or maybe attend a SOTA (Student OT Association) meeting, but many times I just spend my lunch hour eating and socializing with my classmates. After lunch, we will have another two to three hours of class. At the end of the day, I’m either talking with my classmates, asking professors questions, or working on a group assignment.

Once home, I usually relax a bit, exercise and start dinner. For the rest of the night, I’ll get some school work done, then maybe watch some TV before packing up the backpack for the next day. Then it’s time for bed.  

If it’s a day that I don’t have class, I try to use that time to get a lot of my assignments and readings done. It’s great having a big block of time when I am not in classes to sit and get stuff done. I’m the type of person that likes working at my desk at home, so a lot of times if I don’t have class I will just sit at my desk to work rather than going back to campus. But, I may also use this time to do chores or run errands, so if I’m out and about, I may study at Panera Bread or another public place to change things up a bit.

The weekends are typically a combination of school work and spending time with my family and friends, going to church, volunteering at the children’s program there and fitting in one of the many non-school activities that I love. For instance, I love cooking/baking and anything related to food. I find it very relaxing to be in the kitchen, even if it’s washing dishes! I’m also one of those people who enjoys grocery shopping because I love food and cooking so much.

Whenever I can, I do something crafty-I recently learned how to knit, and have been working on a scarf. Lastly, I enjoy watching sports. Right now, it’s college basketball-Go Pitt and Go Nova!

Next up, fieldwork clinical experiences, which is exciting!