What is Occupational Therapy? The student perspective

Published 2 June 2022
woman stands to one side of shelf with exercise balls

There are many misconceptions about Occupational Therapy and Tara Fritz is on a mission to debunk a few of them. The 4th-year Southern Cross Occupational Therapy student features on the latest episode of the SCU Buzz podcast to talk all things OT and share her study experience.

When Tara’s not studying at the Gold Coast campus or working as a casual Occupational Therapy Assistant, you’ll find her helping out as a Southern Cross Study Buddi mentor or being vice president for the University's Occupational Therapy Student Association (OTSA).

Here’s a sneak peek of the conversation between Tara and SCU Buzz host Lauren:

Q: What is Occupational Therapy?

T: Essentially, the way I like to explain it to people is that occupational therapy is just helping people live their best life, regardless of their situation or circumstance.

So primarily helping people regain independence in their lives after an injury, an illness, a psychosocial disability, mental health conditions, or anything that might present as a barrier to just doing the things you need to do each day.

Q: What kind of career outcomes could you gain from studying occupational therapy?

T: Occupational therapy is so broad, which is one of the things I love about it. You might work as an OT in a hospital, an acute rehab ward, as a school-based OT, in aged care, you might specialise in paediatrics, or neurological rehab - there's a lot of career possibilities after graduation!

Q: Tell us a little bit about what studying occupational therapy has been like at Southern Cross.

T:  I have really enjoyed it. It is quite a confronting first year of the degree because you do big units, especially anatomy. But I've always found that the lecturers have been more than helpful. I've never felt afraid to reach out if I was struggling, and there are so many different support systems in place, so I have had a really great experience. One of the main reasons I actually chose Southern Cross's OT program was because of how hands-on it seemed compared to some of the other universities.

Q: What advice do you have for students thinking about becoming an occupational therapist and wanting to study at Southern Cross University?

T: I got on YouTube and actually watched a few videos about the day in the life of an OT. I also reached out to a friend I went to high school with who works as an OT to get an idea if this was something that I want to dedicate the next four years of my life to.

In regards to studying at Southern Cross, jump online and have a look at all the different facilities and services that are on offer. See if you can do a campus tour, reach out to anyone that might study, you’ve got to put yourself out there and it's only going to benefit you more in the long run.

Q: What would you like to see for the future of occupational therapy?

T: I think one of the big things for the OT profession moving forward that I would love to see is just more advocacy, more transparency, and education around who we are and what we actually do, because it's such a beneficial profession and I feel like a lot of people don't really know what it's all about.

Interested in studying OT? Find out more.

Media contact: Content team, content@scu.edu.au