What was your motivation to study a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy?
After my first year of study at UQ in the School of Human Movement Studies I realised that it wasn’t the right career choice for me. So in second semester I began to look into what other health degrees UQ had. I did a bit of work experience with an occupational therapist in an early intervention centre when I was in high school and had really enjoyed it.

With Occupational Therapy you can work in so many different fields and that really appealed to me. Within the two years I’ve been studying I’ve already covered subjects ranging from neuro-anatomy, psychiatry to population health and communication.

Why did you choose UQ to complete your studies?
Occupational Therapy is a very specific degree and is only offered at a few universities around Australia. While the degree was offered at another university closer to my hometown, it was pretty hard to ignore the excellent reputation of UQ. The UQ Occupational Therapy program has been firmly established here for a number of years. There are so many resources and services for me to utilise here. The teaching staff are internationally recognised and are leading experts in their respected fields. The campus at St Lucia is beautiful and relaxing, which makes coming to study very easy and enjoyable.

What pathway did you follow to reach where you are now?
When I finished year 12, like most students I wasn’t really certain about what career I wanted to do, but I knew that university was the place for me. At school I’d always enjoyed Physical Education, Health and Science so in 2009 I enrolled in a Bachelor of Human Movement Studies. Mid way through the year I realised that it wasn’t quite the right place for me. So after talking with family, friends and looking at what else UQ had to offer I decided to change to a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy in 2010.

I am very happy with my decision to change degrees as now I can see myself working as an occupational therapist, but I don’t regret that first year of study. I learnt so much about life as a university student during that year; made some really great friends and I even received some study credits towards my new degree.

What areas do you most enjoy about studying the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy?
After 2 years my favourite subjects have been neuro-anatomy and paediatrics and I think I’d really like to pursue a career in either of those specific fields. In both of those courses I had learned so much especially about how the brain works and development it’s fascinating. I also really like the sense of community within OT. It’s different to other degrees like arts and business because generally we are all in the same subjects and classes so you get to know who everyone is and you have a really strong support network.

Would you recommend UQ to year 12 students considering doing a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy?
I would certainly recommend studying a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at UQ. A lot of people have never heard of an occupational therapist or aren’t sure of what an occupational therapist does. After reading about the degree and everything UQ has to offer, you soon discover the vast range of opportunities available to you in this career.

What do you enjoy doing on the weekends?
Usually on the weekends I work one day to earn some extra money and catch up on a bit of uni work from the week, so try my best to stay on top of things. Living in Brisbane is great because there is always something on, so I like to go and watch a band play with some of my friends or see a show when I can.

What inspires you?
We often have guest speakers come into lectures or tutorials that have had an occupational therapist work with them. They always have positive things to say and how much the quality of their lives has been restored so its great to hear first had how much of an impact this career has on peoples lives. I know some friends who are the year ahead of me and tell about their experiences during clinical placement, it’s really great to put the things you learn in the first two years into practice. So that always inspires me to keep going and gives me something to look forward to.

What frustrates you?
There is always little things that frustrate me like when you have lots of assignments all due in the same week or when you can’t see how some modules of work relate to your degree specifically. At the end of the day they are minor and if you keep on top of things, have an open mind and realise that were being told this information so that we are fully prepared for when we graduate and are health professionals.

Where do you hope to be in 10 years time?
In 10 years time I’d like to have completed some postgraduate studies to help further my career. As well as be working in a health team within the field of either Paediatrics or Brain Injury Rehabilitation.

Melissa Merryweather
Bachelor of Occupational Therapy