My name is Timaj Yusuf. I chose to attend Salus University because it's not too far from home. I was born and raised in Maryland, and Salus is only a short two-hour drive. There is one occupational therapy school in Maryland, but I wanted a change, so I decided to move out of state.
I went to the University of Richmond (UR) in Richmond, Virginia, for my undergraduate degree. UR is a small liberal arts school with an undergraduate enrollment of only around 3,000 to 4,000 students. My courses were very seminar style and discussion based. The largest class size was 24 students, but it wasn't uncommon that I had classes with as little as 10 students. I was pretty shy in high school, but going to a school like UR forced me to get out of my shell and speak up in class.
Going to school in Richmond was very different from where I grew up. I grew up in the DMV area (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) where it's very diverse. Not only did I move away from home at 18, but I also had to adjust going to a small university where the majority of students did not look like me. I still remember sitting in some of my sociology classes where I was the only student of color. Since the classes were discussion-based, it put me in a lot of situations where I had to speak up about my own experiences in front of my peers and have many uncomfortable conversations. A lot of them didn't understand and didn't have to think about these issues before because of how and where they grew up.
I declared my major in psychology pretty late (junior year, ah!). I originally wanted to break into the marketing and communications field and had a plan to create my own major, since UR didn't offer an integrated communications and marketing major. However, when I was finally allowed to declare my major sophomore year, my advisor told me that students can no longer combine courses from the business school with the school of arts and sciences. Then I made a plan to major in psychology while still pursuing the marketing route, but things changed. After a lot of research and planning, I decided to go with occupational therapy (OT) instead.
What excites me about OT is the different avenues I can pursue. I love that I can go into acute care, inpatient rehab, outpatient pediatrics, home health, mental health, SNF, school-based OT and more. You'll never be bored and always have the option to pivot! I came into the program thinking I won't work in pediatrics because I have previous experience working with that age group doing ABA therapy, but then I learned about an assessment or intervention in class, and it made me rethink that.
Right now, I am in my second semester of the program. My expected graduation date is May 2023! I will be going on my first Level I fieldwork rotation in March and I am very excited.
I was actually drawn to Salus because of the day-in-the-life posts on the website! It was so interesting to read about current students and what their day-to-day looks like. I also loved that Salus is an all-graduate institution.
I am currently on my second semester, so here is what a typical day looks like for me!
8:30 a.m.: My alarm rings and I wake up, get ready, and make a quick breakfast. Sometimes, I take some tea or coffee to go if I know it's going to be a long day.
9:15 a.m.: I start my commute to Salus! I only live six minutes away so I don't have to worry about traffic.
9:30 a.m.: First class of the day! On Monday, our first class is Applied Tenets, where we talk about what we can expect on fieldwork and learn about other disciplines that we may work with during practice.
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.: Break for lunch! We always get an hour break in between classes which is enough time to recharge.
12:30 - 3:30 p.m.: Time for ethics! We go over ethical and moral dilemmas we may see when working as clinicians and how to navigate those situations.
4 p.m.: By 4 p.m., I make it home, and have something to eat before dinner. I play with my roommate’s cat and relax a little bit after a long day of sitting through lectures.
4:30 - 6 p.m.: Go over notes from class and complete any assignments that are due before tomorrow.
6 p.m.: Time for dinner!
6:30 p.m.: I'll watch an episode of my favorite show on Netflix or go on a quick YouTube binge!
7 - 7:30 p.m.: Workout time! I love doing at-home workouts. I find really good ones on Instagram and sometimes I like to do Lily Sabri's Pilates videos.
7:30 p.m.: Shower and unwind.
8:30 – 9 p.m.: Call home and check in with family.
9 p.m.: If I have any major assignments due, I work on that, but otherwise, unless I have an exam coming up, I avoid doing anything school related after 9 p.m.! It's all about that work/life balance.
10 – 11 p.m.: Make sure everything is all set for tomorrow (meal prep, clothes, etc.). I like to read my e-book or scroll through social media before bed!
11:30 p.m.: Time to sleep and do it again tomorrow!