My name is Julie Nguyen and I am a senior studying kinesiology at Temple University hoping to complete the equivalency approach to become a Recreational Therapist. I have always known that I wanted to be in the health and rehabilitation field so when I heard about Therapeutic Recreation from a friend, I decided to research more about it. My interest in Therapeutic Recreation peaked during the summer of 2016 when I took an Adventure Programming course and participated in various activities such as rope courses. It was an eye opening experience for me, as it was my first Therapeutic Recreation course. This particular class helped me grasp what the Recreational Therapist profession was all about because I was involved in the activities and even ended up leading my own activity for the class. This tested my leadership abilities and helped me familiarized myself with Recreational Therapy. I was able to discover how exciting and equally beneficial recreational activities were. During the summer course, I was able to lead activities for the class, build teamwork, and engage in critically thinking to solve problems. I was amazed at how simple activities could be used as a deeper concept like building teamwork, hand-eye coordination, and many more. After that summer, I knew that I wanted to become a Recreational Therapist through the equivalency approach. In the equivalency approach I can graduate with my degree in kinesiology, take at least six courses in Therapeutic Recreation, and do a year of full time paid work under a certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist in order to sit for the NCTRC exam. I decided that this was the best option for me since switching my major would delay my graduation time and have a more significant financial impact toward the cost of my college education. Currently, I am excited for the new journey that I am pursuing in Therapeutic Recreation.
Professionally, I hope to work with individuals with neurological disorders such as those with brain injuries. I believe that Therapeutic Recreation can offer a wide range of interventions that can improve physical, mental, and social development of individuals in this population. This is important because it helps individuals achieve a healthy leisure lifestyle using safe, productive ways to spend their time in order to make life more fulfilling and rewarding. Essentially, my dream job is to work in an outpatient treatment facility that helps improve individuals’ functional impairments. Most importantly, I hope to make a difference in this population and assist individuals with structuring their leisure time in order to maintain or improve their quality of life.
Through my education and my volunteer experiences in Therapeutic Recreation, I am building more knowledge and skills to transfer to the treatment plans of future individuals that I will be working with. Soon, I am going to be volunteering at MossRehab in the brain injury center, which will offer more insight on different types of therapy that are used on individuals. I am also developing my skills as a Recreational Therapist by applying my lecture based knowledge and hands on experience on individual’s treatment goals. I plan to gain more experience in neurological health across different age groups in order to expand my knowledge on the treatment plans for specific individuals. Overall, I believe that my experiences and thorough understanding in neurological health will be beneficial as a CTRS in any neurological health environment.