Essay by Lindsey Taylor

Lindsey Taylor, of Brea, CA, won the 2017 $1,000 Orange County Mensa Scholarship.

The patient seemed to have a thousand yard stare as he sat in front of the table. As I readied the equipment for his next therapy session, I turned to the patient and gleefully exclaimed, “I finally figured out how to get your grandsons to let me drive your 68′ Camaro!” The patient started laughing as he told me, “Good luck with that one!” The rest of the session was spent talking about his car and grandsons – two topics I knew this patient loved to talk about. Discovering what makes an individual passionate while also bringing a smile to their face with excellent patient care are two qualities I love most about occupational therapy. The special feeling that I received from the patient’s laughter and smile reminded me of when I cared for my mother and brother when my mother was battling lung cancer. I am now able to touch the lives of others with the same compassion, empathy and humor that I had established when I was younger. These moments in my life not only define the person that I am today, but also motivate me to becoming the best occupational therapist and healthcare professional that I can be.

My clinical observations with geriatric patients at the VA empowered me with a foundation in what to expect as an occupational therapist working with the elderly and chronically ill. Moreover, I have worked with clients suffering from hand disabilities at a hand rehabilitation clinic, and worked with children that had developmental disabilities at the pediatric clinic called Easter Seals. Together, these relevant experiences have contributed to my understanding of both the rigors of occupational therapy, as well as the impact as to what this profession makes when providing healing to a variety of patient demographics. I’ve used these experiences to expose myself to various facets of occupational therapy, and the need for healthcare practitioners to improve the lives of others with various disabilities within the patient community.

Undoubtedly, as the first individual to pursue a graduate degree in my family, I am resolved to challenge myself both academically and clinically in order to become an occupational therapist. I will continue to use my life experiences with my mother to motivate me to push myself further. My excellent interpersonal skills will be utilized throughout the program to gain further insight into other aspects of this profession. Knowing that I can make a difference in the lives of others by discovering what activities are meaningful to each individual is what inspires me to succeed in this career that I feel passionate about.

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