Lori Walsh, Bachelor of Recreation (Co-op), 2011
Hometown: St. Catherine's, St. Mary's Bay
My experience with HKR
I absolutely loved being a part of the HKR program! The school has an energetic and friendly atmosphere where students and staff work together to create the best possible learning environment. Having smaller class sizes is an advantage as it allows you to get to know your professors who are extremely helpful both academically and personally. Sharing experiences such as camping, kayaking, rock climbing, and canoeing in addition to academic work certainly brings your class together and makes going to school that much better. HKR provides you not only with a fun filled university experience but also with a strong academic background to set you on your way to future careers.
My work terms
I completed three of my required work terms at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) where I was a specialist assistant in the rehabilitation services department. During my three work terms I oversaw the CNIB Snoezelen room which is a multisensory environment for children and adults with various disabilities. I also organized a summer intervention program for children with visual impairments and implemented a family summer camp. At CNIB I gained valuable experience in rehabilitation.
My co-op experience
If it wasn't for the HKR co-op program I definitely would not be where I am to today. With encouragement and support I was able to complete three of my work terms at the CNIB. The co-op program gave me the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills and most of all the hands on experience that I would have never gained in the classroom. I would highly recommend the co-op program to anyone entering HKR. Work terms give you the chance to see what different types of options are available to you and may even help you find exactly what you've been looking for.
I decided that I wanted to become an occupational therapist after my first work term at CNIB. Overseeing the Snoezelen room I was able to work with different OT's and see how they helped their clients develop fine motor skills, achieve goals and maximize their independence. Seeing the impact of this profession on a person's ability to overcome barriers is what made me want to work towards becoming an OT.
How my HKR degree helped me with my goals
Having a HKR degree gave me the foundation I needed to be accepted into the OT program. I was able to achieve the required courses in anatomy and physiology as well as gain knowledge in growth and development, research methods, and adapted physical activity. Focusing on therapeutic recreation gave me the appreciation for rehabilitation, a strong background in client assessment, and insight into holistic approaches to treatment that will benefit me in practice as an OT. Overall having a recreation degree I think will only further my success as an OT as I have come to value the importance of community, team work and public service.
Since graduation I have been working full time at the CNIB. I will be running the summer intervention program until I leave to go to Dalhousie University to do my M.Sc. in occupational therapy in September.