From the age of 15, I knew I wanted to be a student at the University of Sunderland. I am a young female diagnosed with ASC (Autistic Spectrum Condition) and I have struggled throughout my academic life to fit in and engage in learning due to not being socially included, being subjective to bullying and taunting from students and my educational needs being dismissed. When I began to look at universities that I wanted to attend, the University of Sunderland had recognition and praise for being an inclusive and supportive provision, with fantastic facilities alongside social, emotional and academic support. When I spoke with people about universities, the University of Sunderland was always recommended due to their set of rehabilitation facilities, multi-media workshops, and their fully functional independent living environment.
I chose to study BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy because when I was 14 years old, I became wheelchair bound due to a condition where my mobility fluctuates with no warning, and I can lose the ability to fully weight-bear. Due to this condition, I had an Occupational Therapist who was involved in my care to ensure I was still able to engage in what I wanted and needed to do in my daily life. The support I received from my Occupational Therapist was non-comparable and they allowed me to regain my independence again, which improved my quality of life. Without the Occupational Therapist I had, I wouldn’t have been able to attend school, go out with friends, move around my home and complete any activities of daily living.
Because of the support I received from the Occupational Therapist, I began to take an interest in the career, and I wanted to be able to support someone who was going through the same as what I had been through. After leaving school with only 1 GCSE, I decided to attend college and re-sit my GCSE’S and study Health and Social Care with my career prospect being an Occupational Therapist. I achieved my Level 3 qualification and applied for university, and now I am halfway through my 2nd year at the University of Sunderland!
My favorite part of the course is attending our practice placements. I love to put the theory I learn onsite into practice and visibly see my skills develop over the course in a real-life environment. Meeting patients and building a rapport with them and being able to be a part of their recovery either in hospital or out in the community brings me so much pride and always reinforces the want to go into the career I am studying for. The university has provided us with some excellent placement opportunities, allowing us to get the most experience out of our placements to facilitate the best learning opportunities and experiences ready for when we begin working in practice. The patients you come across on placement are also a big part of our learning journey and their heartfelt appreciation for your support always drives the enthusiasm and the passion we have for Occupational Therapy!
If I could give any advice to prospective students looking to study at the University of Sunderland it would be to come to study here! Not only will you be graduating in something you’re passionate about, but you will leave with amazing experiences, memories and great friendships! The Occupational Therapy lecturing team are so friendly and supportive and will go above and beyond to ensure you are getting the most out of your learning throughout your studies! So even when things seem a little daunting, you can always rely on the academic team to support and guide you no matter how big or small the problem is.
Once I am qualified as an Occupational Therapist, I want to work with children and young people who have ASC or learning disabilities to offer them the same support and make a difference in their lives as I received when I was younger."
Published 28 April 2023