How his Childhood Influenced his Career

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Updated: Aug 18, 2023
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From a young age, growing up in a single-parent household, I learned that life wasn’t going to be easy. If I wanted to become someone significant, college was the path to success, a fact my mom made abundantly clear. It was tough watching my mom work two jobs and put in long hours to give me everything she could and support me through college. The struggles and sacrifices could have broken me, but instead, they instilled a strength that continues to grow with every challenge I face.

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Although my world hasn’t been ideal, I’m grateful for the inspiration it has provided, triggering my aspirations and determination. Moreover, my childhood fostered a desire for helping those in need reach their independent goals. Perhaps my family’s tradition of good deeds, kindness, and altruistic beliefs shaped me into the woman I am today. These values have been my guiding principles throughout life, so when I encountered a career path in Occupational Therapy in college — a field that aligns with my beliefs, personality, and abilities — I knew that was my calling.

I completed my bachelor’s degree in Science Rehabilitation at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. I chose Rehab because it resonated with my passion for helping individuals regain their strength through therapy. In my senior year of college, I discovered I was pregnant with my first child. Despite this, I continued attending college right up until I gave birth. Balancing full-time motherhood and college coursework was an incredible challenge, but also a highly rewarding experience. During this time, I started volunteering at Cavazos Elementary School in the Special Education Department. I assisted nine students, ranging from kindergarteners to 5th graders, who suffered from mild to severe intellectual disabilities and developmental delays. This opportunity allowed me to interact with children with special needs and understand their unique learning abilities. It was evident that each student had their own way of learning; therefore, I would adapt my teaching approach to help them comprehend their school material. Regrettably, many bright and innovative students lacked faith in their abilities. This experience taught me the value of life and introduced me to the most incredible young people. Helping them improve academically and socially in their pursuit of success was truly fulfilling. On December 16, 2016, I beat the odds and became the first person in my family to graduate from college. I earned a 3.86 GPA and graduated Magna Cum Laude. Being the first in my family to graduate from college was a significant achievement not only for me but also for my extended family.

However, my path has always been to graduate college in the career path of Occupational Therapy. These past months, my interest was confirmed when I gained experience volunteering with elderly people at a nursing home and helping the OT and OTA during their therapy sessions. I became familiar with the various pieces of specialist therapy equipment used in treating patients with problems such as paralysis, stroke, arthritis, balance/coordination issues, amputations, and both cognitive and physical health concerns. This experience taught me how Occupational Therapists use exercises, equipment, and their own knowledge to help patients regain strength mentally, physically, and emotionally so that can lead as normal a life as possible and return to their everyday living at home. While observing, I saw many patients discouraged by their situations. Despite my personal hardships, I managed to look beyond and see the good in every situation. As a future OT, I want to help patients regain their strength through therapy and encourage positive reinforcement to help motivate patients to reach their highest potential and pursue their goals in life.

On the afternoons, I volunteered at a pediatric clinic where I gained hands-on experience working with children ranging from ages 6 months to 21 years-old. Most of the children had developmental delays and learning disabilities. I gained valuable insight into how the OT and OTA worked with each child individually, combining strategies such as developmental activities (washing hands, brushing teeth, combing hair, getting dressed), physical activities (stringing beads, playing games, doing puzzles) to help a child develop coordination and body awareness, and adaptive strategies. I learned how to complete risk assessments, including setting short-term and long-term goals for the children. For example, short-term goals are achievements set for children to achieve in 12 months, while long-term goals refer to the most meaningful outcomes they are expected to achieve in 2-5 years. I was highly impressed by how the Occupational Therapists helped children with disabilities develop goals and lead fulfilling lives, regardless of their backgrounds. Indeed, the rewarding experience of volunteering with children has ignited my interest in working at a pediatric setting as an Occupational Therapist one day.

As a future OT, I aim to help patients return to activities of daily living and find the strength to resume their lives. I want to show adults and children that anything is possible; regardless of their situations, they can overcome anything. I will look at each patient as a whole person, addressing their physical, emotional, social, and psychological needs in order to create personalized care plans. This path has not only improved my communication skills but also enabled me to interact with diverse cultures and disabled individuals, confirming that this career path is the right one for me. One day, I hope to help patients reach their highest potential in life and achieve their personal goals.

These past years have taught me the most meaningful lessons I could ever imagine. Life has thrown so many challenges at me – challenges that have taught me lessons and instilled gratitude for life itself. I know I’m ready for new challenges. My undergraduate experience, both academically and personally, has provided insight into my own self-knowledge and personal development that has prepared me for graduate school. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn and face the challenges of the career path as an Occupational Therapist.

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How His Childhood Influenced His Career. (2022, Aug 23). Retrieved from