First-Year Occupational Therapy Student: Kristin Kaplewicz
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First-Year Occupational Therapy Student: Kristin Kaplewicz

Kristin in her white coatMy name is Kristin Kaplewicz and I am a first-year Occupational Therapy (OT) student at Salus University.  I graduated from Penn State University with my bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services. I first became really interested in OT through watching my grandma receive OT services over the years. I love that OT is such a holistic approach and focuses on giving the client the best possible quality of life. While studying at Penn State, I had the opportunity to complete an internship at Health South Rehab Hospital, which confirmed my love for OT!

Summer is a crazy time in the OT program. We have a condensed 9-week semester, which means we move at a much faster pace. This semester, we are in our adult’s courses, including clinical conditions and theory & practice, and we also get to take a course where we learn how to fabricate orthotics.

Here is what my Friday looks like over the summer semester:

7:30 a.m.: My alarm goes off and its time to get ready for school!

8:00 a.m.: I usually like to get to school around 8-830. I have always been a morning person and prefer to get work done in the morning. It is convenient because my apartment is only 7 minutes from Salus University. During this time, I print any notes needed for the day, look over PowerPoint for today’s classes, and finish up any other work I need to do. 

9:00 a.m.: The lecture portion of orthotics begins. We learn how to make the orthotic that we will be fabricating on that particular day. Today, we are making a Static Progressive MP Flexion Orthotic.

hand with orthotic fabrication10:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.: We move up to the lab to begin the process of orthotic fabrication. This includes melting thermoplastic material in an orthotic pan filled with hot water and molding it to a classmate’s hand.  Making orthotics can be a time-consuming and frustrating process, but it is very satisfying when you finish making the orthotic device! After hours of working on the orthotic, you have a competency to explain to the professor what orthotic device you made and you get to role-play with your classmate explaining why they need that orthosis along with any precautions to wearing it.   

1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.: Some classmates need more time to work on their orthotic devices and stay after class. This class is all about time management and getting help if you are struggling to fabricate the orthosis.

3:00 p.m.  - 5:00 p.m.: I do work study the majority of the days after class. I started this my first semester at Salus and it was a great way to get to know the professors early on while also making money. During this time, we make our rounds to see if any of the professors have any projects that they need help on. 

Kristin's dog5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.: Time to go home! After class and work study, I like to give myself about an hour to relax, whether that means watching TV, going to the gym, or FaceTiming my beautiful yellow lab who is with my parents while I am in school. 

6:30 p.m.  - 7:00 p.m.: Finding time to cook while in graduate school can sometimes be a struggle. If I didn’t have enough time to meal prep over the weekend, dinner is sometimes a Trader Joes frozen meal or heating up one of the meals my mom cooked for me (this might be the best part of visiting your parents on the weekend). 

7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.: After dinner, I like to take a couple hours to review the notes from that day of class. This helps me keep the information fresh in my mind, especially when you have to learn the material so quickly over the summer semester. 

10:00 p.m.: My favorite time of the day, bedtime! Sleep is extremely important with long days of school, so I always make sure I get at least 8 hours of sleep.

The weekends are very much needed by the end of a long week. Over my year in graduate school, I have found out just how important it is to take care of yourself and give yourself a break. Unless I have a big exam coming up the next week, my rule is to give myself one day out of the weekend to completely take off from schoolwork. Graduate school can get very overwhelming, but the other OT students and staff are there to support you and help you succeed!  We only have one more semester of classes before going out into Level 2 fieldwork, and before we know it, we will be registered occupational therapists!

OT students at Muckest

Learn More About the Salus Occupational Therapy Program

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