OT: Week 3, Semester 1

Whilst chatting in our groups in my Health & Occupation class, a fellow student reported that she’s starting on prac next week. She revealed one of her placements is at P Clinic and proclaimed, “I don’t even know what it is.” “It’s a mental health clinic,” I informed her. My friend has been admitted there a number of times, and though that’s not where I was an inpatient in December 2010, the first psychiatrist I saw practised in the consulting rooms adjoining P Clinic.

This got me thinking. How extremely awkward would it be if I came crossed paths with a fellow OT student, with them on prac and me as a psychiatric patient? I didn’t come across any OT students in the psych ward last year, but that’s because I was there during Uni holidays, just days before Christmas. During Uni semesters however is a different story. Oh well, I doubt my chances of being admitted to a psychiatric hospital again are very large anyway. And I could always just avoid the OT activities. Because let’s face it, pinning sequins to foam baubles is an activity I could do without…and incidentally I did engage in that particular craft in class when I was in um, Year 4. I’d like to think my cognitive abilities have improved a little bit since then.

Speaking of being an OT student, I don’t think I’m cut out to be a health professional. Which is nothing new. But I just don’t know how I’m going to get through this four year degree. Readings, assignments, tests, exams, study, learning, writing, memorizing… Which requires attention, motivation, time, energy, concentration, ARGH. Furthermore, I can’t imagine ever becoming professional enough to BE a professional.

Oh yeah, and three weeks into the semester, socially inept me has not made many friends at all. This week; two out of two lectures I sat alone, two out of two labs I did sit with people, but only because the desks were arranged in groups, and only one tutorial did I actually have a friend to sit with. Oh, and between classes in my breaks I’m also all by my lonesome. Which is making the Uni experience really enjoyable.

Part of the problem is that I don’t feel I have anything interesting to add to the conversation, and I don’t think I have all that much in common with the people in my classes. You love going to music concerts? Cool…I’ve never been to any. But it’s partly my fault too. I’ve not been making all that much effort, it’s my third time being a first year Uni student and I’m a little bit over it. Then there’s the social insecurities. I can’t help thinking that they don’t want me there, I’m imposing on them, they think I’m a boring person who has nothing to say, etc etc. And so I find myself avoiding the situation altogether and keeping to myself much of the time.

6 thoughts on “OT: Week 3, Semester 1

  1. Sweetie,

    Haven’t said much recently, but I’ve just been on a course about social anxiety disorder, and the way you talk about how you haven’t socialised and how you think other people think about you… I know you don’t need more labels to add to the one’s you already have, but it really made me wonder whether you might have a touch of this at least.

    Maybe ask your shrink about this – could be one of the reasons why you self-harm…


  2. I know how hard it is on the friend home front. My first two years of University the only friends I had were one girl that I went to college with the prior year (college & university are two very different things here) who introduced me to her friend. Her friend and I stuck together because he knew no one else sand she was scared of our english prof. Other than this I didn’t ‘make’ my own friends until year three.

    I wish I had some suggestions, but I don’t. I tried to gather friends but honeslty? Got smacked in the face a couple of times and gave up. Maybe I was trying to hard. What I do know, is that without that first year friend, I wouldn’t have made it. It’s so easy to get lost in the crowd at university and to keep yourself grounded, a friend really helps.

    Do they have any study groups or anything that you could connect with?

  3. I’ve heard a number of stories now of people running into people professionally they’ve been patients of & vice versa- aside from the brief moment of trying to ‘place the face’ it all turns out pretty well (that’s the point of being professional!). And as for becoming professional, most people are faking (or so wrapped up in process they can drop their anxieties – a quick story- I used to work in EPA and someone asked the sewerage guy “when you were a little boy did you ever imagine one day you’d become the nation’s expert in shit?” and of course, he never expected to do that, it just happened). You’re a *nice* person so when you get to that point that’s what will count!

    Err, this might not help much, but most people are too bothered about themselves to be that worried about other people (particularly in first year). I’ve deleted a few lines here because I don’t want to make this about me! There *will* be some avenue of interaction at uni that you can (grow to) feel comfortable with. A student club, or a support group or something. I know that these days even on- campus courses are often delivered by webinar, etc, and have forums maybe that can be a starting point?

    This isn’t a criticism, but you do need some help (from the study angle). Student services are set up precisely for this, and they *want* to do it (it’s likely they’re getting extra resource if you’re ticking the disabled box, so they need to justify it, aside from nice people actually being concerned). I know people have suggested it before so not sure what you’ve found out about it. If you think you need help to do it, let us know and we’ll form a strategy & cheer squad!

  4. Oooops. Sorry! I didn’t mean to ‘like’ this post. I was trying to comment but my iPhone has a life of its own or an inept user.

    So, uni.. I hear what you’re saying. Things are tough.. I’m also wondering about how you can get to know people in smaller groups. I really struggled for the first term of university. I didn’t start enjoying university until I had a couple of good friends who I got to know on a 1:1 basis and we gradually built up a network from there. For example, I was a student rep and met quite a few people that way. Are there many opportunities for you to get involved with university life both within your course and on a broader level too?

  5. Uni is so difficult. You’re right– it does involve attention, motivation, time, energy, and concentration. Definitely not easy! But if being an OT is what you want to do, then it’s worth it to stick it out. I like to think of uni as an investment– we give our time and energy and happiness away now to get something better in the future that we can use for the rest of our lives. Of course, it’s really hard to remember that when you’re in the midst of a depressive, suicidal episode. It’s really hard to keep a healthy perspective.

    Wishing you well,

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