Happy New Year!
I hope you had a wonderful holiday and a big shout out to those who have been working through the festive period.
With the arrival of the New Year, NSTP gets a year older. It’s been a very organic growth, it wasn’t planned, it’s just the way it happened. I wanted to make sure that I was doing my part as an activist within the disabled community.
This year I thought about how I could mark the occasion. I have written so many reflective blogs since finishing university so, this blog is going to be my official ‘Goodbye Student, Hello Occupational Therapist,’ to mark the occasion and allow me to move forward (oh yeah, I’ll mention that weird stage in-between, but I’ll not bore you again, I promise).
It only sunk in recently that I’m no longer a student. The festive period felt strange knowing that I didn’t have any deadlines to meet, and gradually it dawned on me that I am no longer studying.
I’ve spent 3-years blogging about my student experiences, and because I knew when placement was etc, the blogs I had written to on NTSP had always been inspired by this and influenced my student journey.
I know, my first year, was a bit hit and miss as I did some very random content in 2019, that even I wouldn’t read now. However, leaving uni has meant that in 2022 there won’t be any new placement stories for me to share.
I know for certain that my student journey would have looked so much different without Not So Terrible Palsy, and I’m so thankful that I had my blog and your comments and support.
I never thought, that writing a few thoughts down every few weeks would pave the way for my future career.
It’s taken me 3 whole years to lay the foundations for NSTP, as Margaret pointed out a few weeks ago. Little did I know, that every blog I have written (even the ones from 2019), has played a part in establishing what NSTP will look like in the future. Margaret and I have had many discussions about future posts for the blog, and long-term plans for the website, yet, even we did not imagine NSTP to be the way it is now. Even 6 months ago when we were planning posts, we would separate the disabled activist posts from the Occupational Therapy posts. Well we did try, and in fact, this was one of the first posts I wrote upon finishing uni, yet, if you read my recent posts you’ll see that didn’t happen.
We realise that they don’t need to be separate and in truth, are inextricably linked. Not So Terrible Palsy has graduated! It will still have the same headings and there will still be an exploration of a range of topics that I write about. Whatever the content of the blog, rest assured, I will still be drawing on both my knowledge as an Occupational Therapist and Disabled Activist.
Even as a student I was concerned about being a disabled activist in this profession, and whilst exploring the question of whether to disclose my disability I did not see the tools I had in front of me. My experience of disability is an invaluable tool in my practice and I’ve always said this. So yes, I am saying goodbye to the student; but my experiences will inevitably feed into shaping my NSTP blogs in the future, and what my disabled activism will look like within the profession as move forward into my first job.
I always thought that when qualified as an Occupational Therapist I’d have to leave my disabled activist routes behind due to obeying professional guidelines. Yet, my experiences since graduating have taught me that I couldn’t leave my routes behind even if I wanted to, particularly with my experience that I have documented around getting on the HCPC register.
AbleOTUK arrived at the perfect time for me and has taught me that participating in both roles is okay and is actually essential to challenge ableism within the profession. I never thought that post-graduation I’d be in regular contact with the Royal College of Occupational Therapists along with AbleOTUK, to improve accessibility within the profession. I thought that I’d be, the only disabled Occupational Therapist.
Reality check- I am not alone and there are plenty of us, who are stronger together!
I also never thought that I’d be heading into my first Occupational Therapy role, where I can also use my disabled activist hat… YES, I HAVE A JOB!
I’ve wanted to be an Occupational Therapist from around the age of 14 and studying it has made me realise how much this profession is the right profession for me. I’ve never been quiet about my disability and my passion for disability rights, nor do I want to be. Knowing, that I can use both perspectives every day in and outside work, is so important to me, and makes me feel content, knowing that I’ve found my place.
I’m am so excited to start my new job and for the future of Not So Terrible Palsy- I’m working on a few projects that I cannot wait to share. I know now, that I am always where I meant to be.
2022 is my time to say Goodbye Student and Hello Occupational Therapist, I did it! All your support over the last 3 years, has got me here.
So, thank you so much for reading, liking, sharing, commenting and getting in touch with me, I appreciate your support so much, and here’s to the next 3-years of Not So Terrible Palsy and my growing audience and support which I still can’t get my head around! THANK YOU!
Wishing you all the best for 2022,
PS. I think I’ve done far more soppy blogs than this, so I’m quite proud of myself! The mission for 2022- dial the soppiness down and continue to raise the eyebrow.