As a third year OT student at Touro College in Manhattan, I have heard, seen, and elaborated on our profession’s slogan, “living life to its fullest,” countless times throughout my educational journey thus far. For me, “living life to its fullest” represents engagement in fruitful, life-changing experiences that facilitate personal growth and exert a positive influence on others. With this quote capturing the essence of OT, I felt it my privilege to honor it by experiencing what life had to offer (educationally and personally) at the 2016 AOTA Conference in Chicago, IL, from April 7th to April 10th. Not only was it my first time frequenting a professional conference, but it also coincided with the 99th OT month since the profession’s founding, and I was able to experience this life-changing event with one of my best friends and classmates, Gabriela Masotti.
Together, we came, we saw, and we conquered new and enriching experiences. The first two educational sessions that we attended were presented by two of our own fantastic Touro College professors, Shifra Leiser and Frank Kronenberg, who presented on Gentle Enhancement® within the HANDLE® approach, and the African philosophy Ubuntu, or “doing well together,” respectively. Each of them has personally impacted my development as a person and a student tremendously. Gabriela and I also explored the conference’s expo, where we networked with hundreds of OT-related exhibitors, collecting fun supplies and observing some of the most up-to-date therapeutic technology.
Additionally, we witnessed a story of recovery and resilience through the voices of Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, a married couple whose lives were forever changed after the Boston Marathon Bombings. As blast trauma amputees, they stated that OTs’ expertise, support, and adaptations facilitated the revitalization of their independence, lives, and profound love for one another, beautiful gifts that they will never forget. Their strength and perseverance throughout their long recovery process will forever remind me to continue practicing what is preached within our profession: “Living life to its fullest.”
Happy OT Month, everyone! Let us continue to participate in new and exciting experiences that will not only enhance society’s understanding of OT, but also enable our own growth and maximization of life. Cheers!
Contributed by: Bari Diamond, OTS