Faces of U of T Medicine: Christian Blake
Christian Blake is an MSc student in the Department of Occupational Science and and Occupational Therapy at the Faculty of Medicine and will be convocating on November 9, 2016. An accessibility and inclusion advocate, he is the current Editor of the Toronto-based website AccessTO, which highlights accessible bars, restaurants, cafes and venues around the GTA.
Christian is one of the many U of T students who will cross the stage at Convocation Hall to receive their degrees during ceremonies this November. Share your convocation memories with us using the hashtag #UofTGrad16.
How has your time at U of T prepared you to become an occupational therapist?
I think the combination of classroom and fieldwork gives students a strong foundation in becoming an occupational therapist. The program also provides you with the opportunity to connect with a variety of clinicians, groups, and organizations that may align with your interests.
What will you remember most about your time in the program?
The thing that stands out the most to me is the fieldwork placements. The classroom learning sets you up with a foundation of knowledge but it’s on fieldwork that you really get to try out what you know and be a proper OT. In our program, for our fourth and final fieldwork we can choose to do a “role-emerging” placement. These placements are in services or facilities where there currently is no OT working but where there is a gap or need that could be filled with some OT expertise. It’s a neat opportunity to push the boundaries of the profession in new and exciting directions. The Department does offer some pre-arranged role-emerging placements but I chose to set up my own at the Royal Ontario Museum in their Audience department.
What advice do you have for incoming students?
Follow what you’re passionate about. I truly believe that if you get creative you can apply OT to any field. I worked at the ROM for years teaching their children’s programs and have always loved museums, but with a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology I figured that work in culture would probably not be in my future. But OT surprised me when we had a few classes on group, population, and organizational enablement. I figured museums are organizations with groups and populations who they probably want to enable, so maybe there’s still a chance for me to make something happen. There may be times when you feel like OT is so broad that it’s overwhelming but that breadth also gives you lots of space to find what works for you, so whether that’s clinical, or a less traditional role, don’t be afraid to explore what it can offer.
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