Top Ten Ways to Impress your Occupational Therapy Professors
10. Have the attitude that any occupational therapist/student caught having patients stack cones (which is NOT occupation-based!) will be immediately slaughtered. Period. (weallknowtherearegoodexcusesforthissometimes
9. Be able to rattle off areas of occupation, performance skills, and client factors, without blinking an eye. (It’s all about the OTPF, baby!)
8. Worship the concept of being client-centered and holistic and occupation-based. Burn occupation candles on your altar and sacrifice small goats in its honor.
7. Realize that when in doubt, answer “Occupational Profile” (it’s a top-down process!) and you will probably be right.
6. Be a member of your state’s OT association as well as AOTA. Know the main leaders of these two associations, and go to the annual conferences. (NETWORK NETWORK! NETWORK!) Also get the enhanced student membership that allows you to get the magazine OT Practice. Read it and write in if you have anything to say. They might publish you, I swear. My blog link got in there! That means pigs are flying around in a frozen Hell, so you might as well try too.
5. Know the famed names Case-Smith (pediatric occupational therapy textbook), Willard & Spackman (OT Bible textbook), Trombley (Physical Dysfunction textbook), Carol Kranowitz (The Out-of-Sync Child), Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecturer (huge honor, awarded speaker gets to speak at AOTA Conference each year), and Ora Ruggles (OT Pioneer).
4. Tell the following joke when discussing the patella or pisiform bone: What did the anatomy professor say to the closed passageway? OPEN SESAMOID. Okay this is actually a way to get your professor to groan and hate your guts (have a “visceral” reaction), but it’s totally my favorite joke and I am so proud of it so I had to put it somewhere.
3. Save absolutely EVERYTHING you do, including good e-mails you send/receive. You might have professional development evaluations (PDEs) at some point and it would be great if you could whip out a ton of evidence showing how amazing and professional you are, showing lots of initiative, actively networking, and exhibiting a strong OT identity.
2. Refresh your memory every month or so on major muscles, major frames of references, ROM, goniometry, and other things you spent a lot of time on. Most people (including me) forget everything they learn. Try to retain your knowledge. This will also impress fieldwork supervisors, on both Level I and Level II fieldworks.
1. Don’t whine about having so many group projects, and don’t be the Type-A project manager every time. Show you are a versatile team player who can lead or follow, depending on what is needed. And remember that a good leader makes leaders, not followers.
0. Don’t be narrow-minded with your career focus. Professors can’t stand knowing you have come into the program with the intention of ONLY going into pediatrics or some other narrow specialty. You might fall in love with something else. Just let yourself be open to the possibilities. (And if you can eventually align yourself with a smaller specialty like vestibular or low vision, the occupational therapy world could totally be your OysTer.)
-1. Don’t do the steps above all at once! Otherwise, everyone, including the professors, will think you are a know-it-all-genius-freak. That’s not good.
I sincerely hope that after reading this list you all feel ready to go out and impress your new occupational therapy professors!