I survived two major OT stressors in a row! Yay

1. I survived four long days in Utah (left day before/day after so really 6 days)! I met all the people in my post-professional doctoral OT program (OTD) and everyone was incredibly nice. Like sickeningly nice. Like amazingly nice. 🙂 Only a few of us (38 people I think?) had less than five years of experience. Many had decades of experience. Some were directors, or long-term managers, or owners of clinics…a very impressive crowd. We all fly in once a semester for a multiple day on-site learning experience. This was the first one. 🙂

The entire visit was phenomenal. Utah was beautiful, and the employees of Rocky Mountain University of Health Professors (RMUoHP) were all stellar. I feel like I’m being paid to write this because it sounds so over the top. But it’s true. Every single person we encountered was friendly and knowledgeable and went above and beyond. Not a whiff of incompetence was found. Of course, meeting the cohort and our professors was incredible. I really enjoyed getting to see everyone’s personalities up close and personal!

Our two program directors seem as different and as similar as can be. They seem like they are an old mostly happily married couple that make their shared life work, even though I get the feeling their personality traits may vary widely. Like that TV couple where one is messy and one is clean? I am thinking Felix and Oscar or something, but that sounds like two men. I’m getting confused.

We also met our two statistic instructor, both having to do with evidence-based practice/analysis/design. Dr. P is absolutely hysterically funny and I think one day she and I will be BFF. Even if it’s one-sided and I just follow her around like a stalker puppy, wide-eyed and pawing at her ankles. I guess I would be a teacup sized puppy. She is French-Canadian and talked about having a cat in her throat. Turns out she meant frog. I love her. She is also good about making statistics feel more or less approachable/doable.

The other instructor, Dr. V, is not as into humor, although she does seem to appreciate it. In other words, she doesn’t hate me. Since I don’t know how to be serious to save my life, she clearly tolerates humor. She is very knowledgeable and she does not mince words. (I feel like mincing words is technically a way to be concise, because it’s like you chop them up. So why is NOT mincing words meant to be conciseness? Am I confused yet again?) I appreciate her style and intent/approach to learning, and she was at times amusing. She taught us a lot about critical appraisal and opened our eyes to how often and how easily abstracts/results/discussions are manipulated. Startling.

I do have to say that I am pretty sure this instructor is not someone you want to mess with. As in, if she ever got mad at me, I would probably instantly jump off a cliff because I will otherwise die a slow and painful death. I know this because there is apparently a researcher she despises, and based on the examples and explanations she provided over the course of our day with her, it was clear this researcher will live in torment until the day he dies. 🙂 I’m kidding, of course. I think. I hope.

Trying to teach statistics to post-professional students, some of whom (grammar?) have not been in school in like 20 years, is like trying to teach ducks how to sit in a row on a tightrope. There are a lot of falls and a lot of heads smashing into things. Mostly its the instructors smashing their heads into walls though, not so much the ducks. Us ducks just fall, look stunned and confused, then shake our heads and waffle our feathers. I hear teachers have a high rate of alcoholism, and I wonder how many of them taught statistics to students of social sciences. There is a reason vodka is called "teacher water"!!

No seriously. I loved loved loved my cohort and instructors in real life. I loved loved loved the people at Rocky Mountain, and the views of Utah from campus were stunning.
Oh, and the other two highlights? One was meeting Jan who does the distance learning technology components, and she is an incredible and fun woman devoted to helping us "learn how to learn" in a distance education model.

The other was meeting JOY, the medical librarian. She is aptly named. She is quite possibly the funniest person in the entire world. She is the other person who has to be my post-graduation BFF, again it’s fine if it’s one-sided. I will follow her around like a teacup puppy as well. But I guess I will have to clone my little puppy self first since I can’t follow around two people at once. I have to also be a puppy with thumb opposition, since I have to write down everything they say. So I think this stalker-teacup-clone-puppy-with-opposable-thumbs plan of mine is becoming increasingly unlikely.

Joy is from the South, and she has the honeyed accent to prove it. She’s smart as a flagellated whip and every cell of her body is filled with sass. She knows how to correctly assert the librarial power of her glasses/bun combo. But she’s an adorable blondie so the whole "mousey" part of the stereotype doesn’t apply.

"Remember the bun," she would assert, pointing at it while fixing us with a steely glare. Our eyes would widen in fear at the thought of ever doing something wrong, like forgetting the PMID number in our article requests. She was a crack-up, and everything is always exaggerated when a slow drawl is involved.

Overall I would say that I love my RMUoHP program for the post-professional OTD. I wasn’t sure what to think as I hadn’t met anyone who had done their program. I am relatively sure it is not as rigorous as a program run by some heavy hitter in the AOTA world, like Karen Jacobs (Boston I think?).

There are some pretty high-profile OT celebrities and I bet their programs are insanely challenging. I don’t know for sure though since I don’t know how to compare it. And different programs have slightly different lengths depending on how they structure it, ie how many credits a semester. Our program is plenty challenging in lots of ways, although academics are a strength for me, so doesn’t feel that horrible. The time it takes is the biggest issue.

I do know that if I were working full-time with a family, that this program would throw me over the edge. A LOT of the people in my cohort are in that boat, and I am so impressed they are surviving.

I have the energy capacity of a 90 year old, so I get tired just thinking about their lives right now. Anybody who can do a post-professional OTD while working full-time is a superhero in my eyes. So apparently there are a lot of superheroes out there.

I have pictures from the trip, but my blog is being weird. We had to increase some server stuff (don’t ask me the technical details, I just do the social parts!!) and now the pictures bounce. I have posted several things lately that I then had to go back and turn into drafts, because the pictures didn’t show up. 🙁 Grrr. It’s in progress.

The other major stressor I survived, was that less than a week later, I presented at state conference to over 200 OT Students. It’s Tonya’s fault (therapyfunzone.net) as I was her co-presenter. She is amazing too.

It’s funny that I can do what many others can’t, stress-wise, like present in front of hundreds, and work on a doctorate. Neither of those are THAT stressful to me. Yet what normal people do every day, like get up and go to work all day, and do basic and instrumental activities of daily life? Kills me. I freak out. I get overwhelmed. I panic. A lot of it at this point seems to be sleep-related, so we’re working on figuring that out.

Speaking of which, it’s nearly 2am. I’ll have to talk more about the presentation soon.

In conclusion. I survived two big events. They were major tests of my current stress tolerance, and I passed. 🙂 But I have to work on better tolerating the daily stressors. In more conclusion, I love my OTD program. Ask me again tomorrow though when I finish a few assignments. AHAHAHHA

The End.

Oct 20, 2014 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 3

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