Since I was a little girl, I’ve always had a desire to help people. My passion for helping others grew when I started working as a lead teacher at an after-school program where I had the opportunity to work with a child who had autism. Working with him was rewarding, and it fueled my passion to become an occupational therapy assistant. I wanted to continue working with kids while also being able to help make a difference in their lives.
Starting college can be both nerve-wracking and exciting. Below are some things you can expect on the first day of your program and some tips for managing it all.
1. Keep an open mind about general education courses
When I first started the OTA program, I had to complete some general studies courses. While some people might find this frustrating, it’s been a great experience for me. Even though I am only halfway through my general courses, I’ve learned a lot about how to be a professional in my academic and professional life. I have also learned how to use many of the tools and resources provided at Herzing University.
2. Be prepared for classes
As I started this program, I was ready to learn new things, meet new people, and see new places! Sadly, due to the coronavirus crisis, things have taken a bit of a different route. For many students, including myself, classes have been converted to online lectures and zoom discussions for the safety of both students and faculty.
3. Learn to balance your schedule
Your first year of college can bring both feelings of nervousness and excitement. I was nervous about trying to balance the workload of my classes, my full-time job and my personal life. I learned to balance my schedule by using a planner and identifying times when I’m most productive so that I could get everything done on time. I still have some of those anxieties but overall, I am excited about the future!
4. Be patient with yourself
One of the most important things I’ve learned during my general education classes is to be patient, especially with yourself and even more so during stressful situations. I am the type of person who wants to complete all of my assignments at one time or I feel like I will never get them done. Again, learning how to balance my schedule has helped with this. I now understand that it is okay to take time to complete projects and assignments.
5. Ask questions
Whether you’re enrolling in the OTA or another program, it’s important to talk with your advisors about what your class schedule and workload will look like. They can help you determine how many hours you could realistically work and answer other questions about managing it all. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s okay to not have all the answers, and our advisors and instructors are there to help! If things ever feel out of control, ask for help and remember to persevere!
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2020. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.