I am now officially into my final semester as a doctoral student in the Nova Southeastern University occupational therapy program. For the past three years I have traveled to south Florida three times a year for the launching and wrapping of classes. In between, I have lived my life on the computer, completing my reading and research, responding to the posts of my colleagues, and participating in long distance chats with other OTs from Spokane to Puerto Rico. I would be remiss if I did not mention the writing - the innumerable research papers that have taken me on a journey from the genesis of occupational therapy all the way to consideration of virtual contexts and how they can be used as occupational therapy tools. Those papers have spawned one article submitted for publication, another article perpetually waiting to be submitted, one presentation at a national conference, and one presentation at a state conference. Not bad.
I don't have too much that is profound to say about it all at this time. The last class still has to be completed and will include a field trip to Washington, DC to lobby our public officials about relevant health policies relating to OT. Then there is also the capstone research project to complete which was supposed to be done by now but life and scheduling seemed to get in the way. I thought I was done with my proposal and the IRB process but small technical and format issues with my proposal still need tweaking. So I thought I would be traveling back home WITHOUT my proposal but I need to place my consent forms on NSU letterhead and make some minor format changes to my forms before it can be resubmitted. The data collection itself will not be too difficult, and I will be happy to move away from planning, formatting, and literature review.
Then there is the larger issue of whether or not I will continue on to the PhD program. Our profession is still a little confused about the clinical doctorate and the OTD credential (which will be hopefully bestowed on me in short order). I have no need for the OTD, and even less need for the PhD. I suppose that if I ever return to teaching the research degree will be helpful. I have contributions to make either way so it is something that I really need to think about. Right now, I am a little tired. I have walked a journey, and realized I am here. There is another summit ahead of me, and I need to decide if it will be worth the climb. Wonderful people are cheering me on, and I appreciate their support in more ways than I can ever express.
The philosophical question that I am left with tonight is this: what does one do with accumulated knowledge? In some ways I hope that I feed it back into the machine, and it results in things like ABC Therapeutics. There still seems to be larger things to do. It seems like a responsibility.
In true Forest Gump fashion, that's all I have to say about that.