Lauren: Highlights from the first semester

Hi it’s Lauren here. Just thought I’d tell you about a couple of things that stood out for me during my first semester and give you a few tips which may help others along the way.

In her previous blog, Jenni mentioned the emerging role placements that us lucky OT’s have been offered this year. I too applied for one of these roles and, along with another student, managed to secure a place within a mental health brief interventions service in Southampton.

It’s going to be a huge challenge, as the role is not yet fully established, but part of our role as students is to do just that. I imagine that the team dynamics and working environment will be unlike anything I have experienced to date and there may be less support than I have been used to. As a third year student though, the bar is raised for all final D placements so, to an extent, this feeling is expected. Never-the-less I envisage a lot of independent working, reflection and trust in my own decision making, which is still pretty scary stuff.

Being somewhat of a risk taker at heart I knew that an emerging role was something I just had to experience. Not to mention the fact it can add huge value to a CV which as we all know is crucial in today’s competitive job market. So my motto is ‘what better way to learn to swim than to be thrown in at the deep end!’ I’ll let you know how it goes.

Speaking of jobs… we recently took part in employability week which included presentations from healthcare professionals and service users, a careers fair and workshops. This was really useful as it gave us chance to meet potential employers and gain some insight into what working life might be like for newly qualified graduates.

Also, I feel that hearing service users’ opinions of their own experiences with professionals and the system helped me to really see things from their perspective. It’s not often that this kind of feedback is available so I would suggest grabbing these opportunities with both hands.

Regarding the careers fair it’s worth getting there early, as it’s open to all professions and gets extremely busy, especially if you have lots of questions to ask potential employers. At the end of the week you will be able to attend workshops, as many or as little, as you can squeeze into a day. But BOOK EARLY because they fill up quickly. I chose ‘CV and personal statement writing’ and ‘Interview skills’ which seemed most relevant to me. If you already have a CV there is nothing stopping you from handing it to employers during careers fair. Remember though, no more than TWO PAGES long!

So there you have my highlights and tips.  Hope you’ve enjoyed reading. I’ll catch you again in 2014. Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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