Exploring what she loves through Work Learn
With just one year before finishing my undergrad, I was still uncertain about what I wanted to do.
I knew from my past volunteering experiences that I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare but did not know what I wanted to pursue specifically within this broad field. Looking to make some money and have some tangible work experience under my belt, I eagerly applied for a Work Learn position as an Administrative Assistant at ICORD, a UBC spinal cord injury (SCI) research lab that houses some of the world's leading SCI research groups.
Throughout my Work Learn position, I was exposed to many career paths I had never considered or even heard of. One in particular stood out to me: Occupational Therapy. Occupational therapists work with people across their lifespan following an illness, injury, or disability (such as a stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, mental illness, learning disability, and many more) in a variety of settings, like schools, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers. They work with these individuals to help them heal physically and mentally and become independent in doing the activities that they need and want to do.
To my surprise, occupational therapy not only tied back to some of my past volunteer experiences, but also connected with my passion for working with people to help improve their strength and capabilities following a major accident or health crisis. In addition, because of my Work Learn position at ICORD, I had already been exposed to many relevant ideas and issues related to occupational therapy!
My supervisor, coworkers, and the researchers at ICORD were extremely supportive of my goal, and often offered advice and guidance freely. In particular, I had the opportunity to speak with and learn from some of the ICORD researchers who were in the rehabilitation field. After talking to them and doing more research on this niche area of occupational therapy, I realized that I wanted to pursue occupational therapy as a career. I was fortunate to be accepted the following year after gaining this clarity on my career and am now a mere nine months away from graduating from UBC's Master of Occupational Therapy program.
Developing Skills for the Future
Currently, I am still a part of ICORD as a Social Media Project Assistant. I love the autonomy I have in creating content for our social media platforms through writing news articles and researching summaries for our public audience. Through this position, I have learned how to engage members in health research and have developed effective communication, collaboration skills and a better understanding of the community.
If not for the knowledge I gained from my Work Learn position and the overwhelming support I received from my colleagues at ICORD, I doubt I would have felt so compelled towards pursuing occupational therapy. My Work Learn position made it possible to combine my strengths and interests, allowing me to develop skills that I will now be using in my future as an occupational therapist.