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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Charlotte Clarke BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, Year 2

Charlotte Clarke's Photo

Hi, I’m Charlotte Clarke and I’m studying BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy at the University of Southampton.

I have never felt so happy and passionate about something before. The lecturers are all so experienced and many still work in the field, which gives a very relevant and current perspective on Occupational Therapy

Why did you choose to come and study at Southampton?

I chose Southampton because of its vibrant positivity when attending the open day. I fell in love with the campus and the course instantly. All the staff on the open day welcomed me with smiles on their faces. They took time to talk to me and listen to my story.

Hearing their stories made me feel a new level of passion for Occupational Therapy. The course itself drew me in, not only because of its high ranking in the UK, but because of its interesting modules and incredible reviews. The idea of role emerging placements really caught my eye for creativity and made me so excited for the opportunities ahead.

Can you tell us what led you to pursue Occupational Therapy?

I found Occupational Therapy via two different routes. Firstly, I worked in social care and found that it wasn’t really for me. I wanted to take on a more practical and hands on approach to my career and I wasn’t getting this satisfaction where I was. I started to sit near OT’s in the office, which then made me realise that the work they were doing, was the perfect description of what I wanted to do. From this, I actively asked questions and arranged shadow visits, which I absolutely loved!

I now take part in more joint working with OT’s which has been an amazing experience. Secondly, I knew of someone who sadly was going through a very hard time with an eating disorder. They told me that if it wasn’t for their OT, they would have really struggled without them. This warmed my heart and made my passion and interest grow instantly.

What is it like studying here?

I have completely fallen in love with the course. I have never felt so happy and passionate about something before. The lecturers are all so experienced and many still work in the field, which gives a very relevant and current perspective on Occupational Therapy. We have connected with other students across different disciplines in modules such as Health Sciences and Introduction to Professional Practice which has given a great depth and insight into interdisciplinary learning and prepares us for future practice. We have completed Community Projects in one of the modules where we go to a charity and learn more about a particular client group, which was incredibly interesting and insightful.

Living in Southampton is great. In your first year, if you live in halls, you get a free bus pass which really does help you navigate around the city. The campus is beautiful with amazing facilities, especially within the Health Sciences building.

How did you find the facilities on your course – is there anything that stands out to you?

The facilities on campus are excellent. Specifically, to Occupational Therapy, there is an amazing ‘flat’ in the Health Sciences building that we can use to practice skills and have practical teaching in. The amazing attention to detail in the flat is incredible and makes you feel as if you are in somebody’s home. Also, there is a sensory room that has been more recently developed, which is fantastic and something I look forward to experiencing more of.

Can you tell us about your experiences on placement so far? Why are they important? How did your placements to compare to each other?

I have not yet experienced my first placement however I am due to move to the Isle of Wight for 5 weeks to carry out mine. I am so excited and we have had extensive preparation sessions to support and guide us as well as practical workshops both online and in person to prepare us for working in the field.

Were there any modules you particularly enjoyed?

I love all of the modules for different reasons, but Principles of Occupational Therapy was my favourite module. This module really consolidated my reasoning for wanting to become an Occupational Therapist. You learn the fundamental elements of practice in this module. The teaching is is done in a fun and exciting way which makes it very engaging and interesting. Often in group sessions we will work together to complete tasks and run some fun activities. This module really goes into depth as to why OT is so important and how something so simple for you, may have so much of an impact for someone else. I have really gained a lot from this module, including an increased passion for the profession.

What are you most proud of from your time at Southampton so far?

The thing I am most proud of is getting into to Southampton and then on top of this becoming one of the Student Representatives. I never imagined I’d come so far in such a short space of time. I was so set on wanting to come to Southampton, and when that wish came true, I cannot explain the feelings I experienced. Then when I became Rep, it was the icing on the cake for me. Since being here, I have thrown myself into every opportunity that arose, and it has got me where I am today.

Have you undertaken any extracurricular activities? How have they enhanced your experience?

I am the Social Secretary of the Occupational Society. I am so excited to have this opportunity, as it will give me a great chance of networking and meeting other OT’s at Southampton University, as well as connecting with others across the country. I am a student ambassador and have helped with online virtual events and enjoyed it so much.

What are your plans for the future?

I have always been set on working in the Mental Health sector, however I am open minded to experience different areas of work through my placements. My dream would be to work with adolescents with mental health conditions, such as eating disorders, depression/anxiety, substance misuse etc. I find this area of work of interest to me and would feel a sense of reward trying to support these young individuals. This course however has taught me to keep an open mind. Once I complete my placements, I could find another field I am particularly interested in, so it is very important for me to not just focus on one thing and consider every opportunity that comes my way.


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