Hi! I’m Mel, a second-year student in the Occupational Therapy (OT) program. I graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology in 2017. This is my sixth year living in Philadelphia. I’m originally a nature lover from The Poconos. Salus provides the best of both worlds being in the suburbs right outside of Philadelphia.
Every morning I commute to Salus from South Philadelphia. It takes 45 minutes to arrive on campus. The free parking lot Salus provides is a lifesaver when you have a busy schedule. The campus is small and quiet which is optimal for focusing as a graduate student.
Spring semester of the second year of the program is when all the OT students leave the nest to go on our externships. It was bittersweet to see everyone go their separate ways after we spent the past year together being each other’s support systems.
Each of our two rotations are 12 weeks long. Another classmate and I are now completing our first fieldwork under the supervision of our two professors at an emerging practice site named Ralston My Way. My next rotation is at a rehabilitation center in Mount Laurel, N.J. which is only 20 minutes away from where I live.
In emerging practice, each day is different. Sometimes we are out in the community doing assessments and interviewing clients. Other days, we spend time educating our clients on how to maintain their independence for as long as possible. We also provide community education in the form of classes at senior centers and libraries in Philadelphia.
When we are not out in the community, our home base is at Salus. Here, we complete our assessments based on our interviews and observations, as well as research helpful local resources for the areas our clients have needs in. Our team is always brainstorming innovative ways to increase the quality of life for each client we encounter. During our free time, between clients, we also practice our manual skills in the ADL lab on campus.
Our hours are generally from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.. Hours may vary depending on when our clients would prefer us to obtain our assessment, or if we have an evening class to teach. When we are not at fieldwork, we are working on our capstone project and writing reflections looking back at our experiences. We will be submitting our capstone proposals to the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association in mid-March, so we are making our final editions during our first fieldwork rotation. After a day of fieldwork, I like to swing by a local coffee shop and get some last bits of work done over some fresh coffee.
In OT we emphasize the importance of occupational balance. Thus, after a long day and commuting through Philadelphia traffic, I make time to destress by going to the gym and dance classes in the evenings. When it’s time to relax I put some lavender in my oil diffuser before bed. I then cross another day off my calendar and remember soon we will be practicing therapists!