A whole new adventure...

An expression of my thoughts and feelings on my OT journey, both personal and professsional.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Thinking about student life from the mind of an OT student.

Thinking about student life & OT lead me back to one of my seminars on Occupational imbalance. All OT theory is based on the Dynamic systems theory, in that change (with time) is possible, and this is complex and non-linear, and it is multi-dimensional and self organizing.

 This can be explained by 'The Three Way Link' (Wilcock, 1995).
Imbalance of occupations (may) lead to deprivation (not having the resources or choices available to you), and in turn this may lead to Alienation ( the deprivation of opportunity or exclusion). Therefore Occupational justice is important; this is the equal opportunity to engage in activities. What may cause Imbalance, alienation, deprivation and injustice? Poverty (or financial strain); illness; (lack of) education; choices; environment (physical and social); resources; perception; health; culture and incongruence between needs and services.

 Anxiety, Boredom and Flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990)
(captions added van Gorp, 2006).
Closely related is the concept of 'flow'. This is a match between challenge and skill (Czikzsentmihalyi, 1993), the more challenge one accepts, the more skills that will develop; the more skills one posses, the more challenge that will be required.

Both of these ideas can be used to illustrate the life of a student. The occupation is a student, this means that there is high pressure with work loads, lack of income, lack of choice, a change in environment, exposure to a different culture, and a change of routine, to name a few factors. This may impact on the health of a student; a poor diet may impact on this, or the pressure of university life etc impacting on the mental health and well being of a student, students are more likely to suffer mental illness than other young people, (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2003).  With all of this in mind the student needs to survive, this may be meeting deadlines, balancing work and recreation, maintaining relationships, or staying healthy etc. Meanwhile they will be aiming to be 'in flow', that is achieving the right balance between skill and challenge, as is illustrated in the arrows on the image above.

So next time someone tells me ''the life of a student is easy'', I may ask them if they believe they are achieving occupational balance and flow, because, right now, I certainly am not!!

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