Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

Do you know what occupational therapy is? Because I didn’t, until the middle of my freshman year of college, when my brother was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and was referred for it. I had begun college intending to go to grad school for physical therapy. It wasn’t until this incidence that my interests began to change. I had thought like many others “Occupational therapy? My brother doesn’t need a job, why is he going there?” As a pre-professional student, I was curious to learn more about occupational therapy and asked to sit in on a couple of sessions. I learned that this beautiful career offers a truly holistic approach to therapy and attempts to understand all aspects of a person. The therapist attempted to understand my brother’s cognition, his physical characteristics, and his routine both at home and school. She looked at all aspects of his life to determine where there could be improvements and how she could help make his life easier. She wasn’t trying to treat his diagnosis, but rather help make accommodations for him and help him to live with it. After seeing first-hand, the improved quality of life this woman had given to my brother, I went on a long internet binge to really uncover what occupational therapy was. I thought this was too good to be true.

What I discovered was that occupational therapists can work in many settings and work with individuals throughout the lifespan. They help people with diagnoses in mental health, physical disabilities, cancer, obesity, and even the prison systems. Occupational therapists are like the chameleons of the medical field and I wanted to be one! A quote I came across while on the internet binge stated this, “A physical therapist will teach you to walk. An occupational therapist will help you put on your dancing shoes and dance the night away.” I am proud to say I am a student at an accredited university to earn my M.S. in Occupational Science and Therapy and have never been happier.

Alisha from Michigan
Grand Valley State University