Having just completed her Occupational Therapy studies at York St John university and looking forward to graduation in November, YSJOT student Kimberley Dutton has kindly written about her experiences on the programme, living in York and plans for the future.
What did you do prior to studying at YSJ?
I began my first job as community care assistant when I was 18 for about a year before moving to a nursing home where I worked for five years. I also did lots of volunteer work as a community first responder.
Any favourite memories of your time at YSJ?
Too many to choose from! From making cups of teas in first year, singing Christmas carols in the Minster in second year, and having a bake-off in my dissertation group in the final year, it’s been an eventful three years! And of course finishing with the OT ball, a brilliant night celebrating all our achievements.
What has been your most enjoyable year at YSJ?
Third year has definitely been the best year for me. Dissertation, placement, helping organise the OT ball, celebrating handing in dissertation with beer and pizza, helping out at the YSJOT 40th Anniversary BBQ, attending the RCOT annual conference (and passing university!) have been some of the highlights.
The final year has certainly been challenging but in a good way; made me be more creative, think more critical and outside of the box. What I’ve really enjoyed is the group work; mixing and working with other students that we hadn’t had the chance to work with before. Considering we’re a large cohort of I think about 80/90, we’ve all gotten to know each other quite well and mixed in various social activities to suit everyone. Somehow we even managed to squeeze at least a quarter of the cohort into one house to have a giant Christmas dinner. Everyone bought crackers, cooked something festive and wore Christmas jumpers to get in the spirit!
What do you think the OT programme excelled at?
Getting the students interested in research. I’ve been very fortunate this year to be involved in a great SCoRe project as part of my dissertation- ‘The value and meaning of a drop-in centre for asylum seekers and refugees’. It was a great experience being part of a research team and collecting and analysing real evidence. It really highlighted how important research and evidence based practice is needed for our profession, and something I would like to do again in the future. Never did I ever think I would want to get involved in research!
A few weeks ago I got to witness 3 members of the research team disseminate our findings at the RCOT annual conference in Birmingham. they did a fantastic job and really gave justice to the asylum seekers and refugees we worked with. It was also great to listen to fellow students and lecturers present their research.
Outside of the programme what are your interests?
This year I set myself a new challenge to get running. It started in January with another OT student to take our minds off of deadlines and dissertations. It definitely keeps me mentally and physically fit, it helps that York is a beautiful city to run around! Last week I completed the Humber Bridge half marathon which was fantastic and a big achievement for me.
Any plans for the future?
Tomorrow I am flying to South Africa for 6 weeks to volunteer with children, before moving down to Essex to begin my first job as an Occupational therapist!