“If you want to build a ship do not drum up men to gather wood and stand over them giving orders. No, instead teach them to yearn for the vast endless sea.” Antoine de St. Exupery
It’s just one month since I’ve graduated, and I am STILL flush with excitement. It’s really the excitement of having completed a long journey; the entire process of entering Loma Linda’s OTD programme, living through it and graduating on the other side! The two and a half years flew by! It was a most amazing, challenging and profoundly enriching life experience both personally and professionally.
As an international occupational therapist based in Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean the online format was perfect for me. The Intensive Research Weekend at the end of Year 1 was a wonderful chance to get to meet classmates and faculty face to face. But really, the constant stream of in-depth online discussions had already facilitated us all getting to know each other so we had already started developed friendships and a class spirit!
I will hasten to add that it was also a time of intense focus and sacrifice in order to meet the demands of the program and of my most diligent cohort. But I would not have had it any other way. I learned skills and found access to new depths of resources essential to who I want to be and what I hope to achieve as an occupational therapist with an advanced degree.
Time management and just basic self-care skills are not under-rated!! Sleep, eating well, and moving the body regularly are all good things to turn into routines! These are actually some of the secondary but important insights and skills that I learned over these years. These and the other professional skills and knowledge that I acquired have already been put to good use in my current professional life.
I attended LLU’s OTD program on a scholarship from the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC). As part of my scholarship obligation I now hold the exciting responsibility to lead the establishment of the proposed Master of Science degree program in Occupational Therapy at USC. This program, slated to start in September 2016, is going to be the first master’s in the Caribbean and I am forever humbled and grateful to have had the opportunity to prepare for this role through my studies at LLU. It was so wonderfully pragmatic that my OTD studies could be tailored towards my professional objectives beyond graduation. My capstone project and research were specifically focused on developing an occupation-centered OT curriculum that would meet international standards as well as be relevant to the occupational needs of Caribbean society.
The OTD program, the skilled and caring faculty, staff and my classmates and LLU will forever hold a special place in my heart. It’s opened up so many new vistas for me and what I can do to serve my country that I’m confident to be embarking on another exciting journey.
From the Caribbean to Loma Linda with love!
Class of 2015 LLU OTD graduate