Alumnus, Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
“In the moments when I feel overwhelmed, I remind myself what a privilege it is to be here.”
After a childhood spent in Massachusetts and Israel, I earned a Bachelor of Science (Kinesiology) from Dalhousie University. The University of Toronto was my top choice for my MSc in Occupational Therapy. I wanted a big-city experience and the gravitas of a name like U of T, but the true allure of coming here for a professional master’s degree in occupational therapy was that our faculty is nestled between some of the most renowned medical facilities in the world.
The opportunities for clinical placements here are second to none. I have three more clinical placements to help me tease out which clinical setting I wish to be a part of. I am exposed to opportunities for personal and academic growth on a daily basis.
The opportunities for hands-on training are complemented by outstanding teaching. Our professors, world leaders in the field, instruct us not as superiors, but rather as peers. They know the difficult path we took to get to this position, and they demonstrate their respect for us; they value what we have to add to the intellectual community of the department, even if we’re only in our first year of the program. There is an underlying sense of drive and purpose to the students here, an intrinsic energy to any department where a group of individuals shares the necessary passion to do graduate-level work at U of T.
My research partner and I are exploring the attitudes and perceptions of Greater Toronto Hockey League coaches and trainers with regard to concussions. This is a very exciting field; consider how much attitudes towards concussion have changed in professional sports leagues over the past few years. Our research will lay the groundwork for future researchers, and will create the opportunity for me to pursue and publish further research after graduation.
I feel very lucky to be able to study concussions with a leading researcher in the field, Dr. Nicholas Reed, at Holland Bloorview Children’s Hospital. I have had three concussions over the last calendar year, all of which I sustained while playing ultimate frisbee. I’m passionate about ultimate, and this passion constitutes an important part of my identity. Through my education as an occupational therapist, I have been able to explore how a concussion affects a patient’s loss of occupational identity, as they can no longer participate in those activities that give them meaning.
Despite these injuries, I am always working to improve as an athlete. The athletic facilities and libraries are essential to both my personal growth and my learning. The libraries and gyms are right next to each other, so I can make a seamless transition between working towards my personal and my academic goals.
We came here to push ourselves and become the best professionals we can be. In the moments when I feel overwhelmed, I remind myself what a privilege it is to be here. In the professional world it is our responsibility to represent our education by being leaders, critical thinkers, and agents of change. This is not a process that starts with an acceptance and ends with a piece of paper; it is a lifelong commitment to growth, self-awareness, and the humility to always be ready to learn.