Class Year: 2017
Shadowing Visit Site: Koomar Center
Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?
For my job shadowing, I visited Erin Flynn, an Occupational Therapist, in Newton, MA. I arrived at the Koomar Center early in the morning and started my day by touring the facility, sitting in on a meeting, and helping Erin create a Twitter for the Center. It was really interesting to see the more administrative side of such an interactive profession. After lunch, I shadowed Erin, as she administered therapy to five different children. The children presented a variety of developmental delays and disorders and some had been coming to the Koomar Center for years. Right away, I was impressed with how the therapy seemed much more like playtime than work. The children directed much of the activity, and the therapists worked to facilitate movements and actions directed towards specific goals. The kids got to play in giant swings, swim through ball pits, crawl through tunnels, and scooter through the halls. I even got to jump on the trampoline with a few of the kids. It was so great to see how much the kids enjoyed receiving therapy, and it was especially rewarding to see how different sensory interventions soothed them. After each session, we debriefed the parents on the children’s progress during the day. I loved seeing how excited the parents became when Erin reported even a small improvement with the child’s behavior. It was clear to see why being an occupational therapist is regarded as such a rewarding profession.
How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?
This experience really helped me become more confident in pursuing a path in occupational therapy. Before shadowing, I had been interested in the field, but had little first hand experience with this intervention. After this experience, I found it easy to imagine myself becoming passionate about administering occupational therapy to children. I definitely will continue to pursue the prerequisites required for graduate school at Holy Cross, and now plan to look into graduate programs.
What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?
Erin reminded me that it is fine to be unsure of your future and to not have a clear path for your profession. It was helpful to hear from a variety of staff at the Koomar Center that they toyed with different professions before choosing occupational therapy, and that there are many different ways to achieve a desired position in any field.
Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?
I would, without a doubt, recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students. Holy Cross provides an excellent service to students and in my opinion, more people should take advantage of the opportunity. The AJSP is an easy way to get connected to alumni and really get a more refined view of what a day in a life of a profession really entails. This was overall a great experience!