It’s hard for me to believe but I often hear how hard it is currently to get into OT programs; that there can be 1,000 or more applicants for a class of 30 students. When I applied to occupational therapy programs in five states and got on the waiting lists for two of them I thought I was doing pretty well, considering my meager track record in school. In 1975 OT was a fairly unknown program amongst my peers and I had no clue what to expect when I sent off my applications.
Within the first week of the program I realized how smart my classmates were and how competitive the classes were going to be. There was no mandate to cut any of us to reduce class size (twenty) but the quizzes and exams were brutal. Despite the pressure to do well I loved what we were learning—how the body is put together and works. It was pure delight to see how we are wonderfully made.
Several of the students lived together and studied together so I was not surprised when Jen approached me about joining up to review notes. She said she was having a hard time and could use a study buddy. So, we got together several times a week and she mainly wanted me to explain the material to her. A win-win, right?
Well, no. I thought reviewing the material with Jen would be a good reinforcer for me and we’d both do well on the quizzes and tests. Half true. She got A’s and I got C’s, D’s and F’s. How could I make such poor grades when I loved the subject and studied all the time? I went to my professor and asked.
He told me to memorize everything. Understanding was great but I needed to memorize. I did what he said, pulled up my grades and passed the course with a “C.” I stopped studying with Jen, too. She wasn’t manipulative, she just needed reassurance. Even without me she continued to get “A’s.”
Is there anyone in your life you’re helping who doesn’t need it? It’s nice to be needed but can the person become independent if you help them less, then even less, then hardly at all?
|One of these cherubs is an OT 2B|
The job of parents is to push their kids out of the nest. The job of kids is to drive parents so crazy they can push them out of the nest. The job of friends is to help each other in bad times and enjoy each other as equals the rest of the time. The job of husbands and wives is to love and care for one another but still promote independence and competence in the other person.
To develop skills in another person so they can stand on their own two feet, without you, is to value and love them. Sometimes I need to busy myself somewhere else while the person I love flops about in the bottom of the boat. To give them time to figure things out, for themselves.