I am a freshman at Temple University studying therapeutic recreation. Like many other freshman, I did not know what I was going to do with my life. First I wanted to be a nurse, then I thought I would be a teacher, until I finally ended up choosing therapeutic recreation as the perfect blend of a career. My grandmother is a nurse administrator for a major hospital and she knew that I was torn between nursing and teaching, but there was something missing with each individual occupation. While she was talking about some of the jobs at her hospital with me, she got to therapeutic recreation specialists and was convinced that this profession was perfect for me. She described how specialists help to improve their client’s health just like a nurse and teach them about their strengths just like a teacher. For me I thought it would be the perfect complement to my willingness to help others in need and my patient, encouraging nature to bring smiles to individuals that could use an emotional crutch as well. I like working with people, young and old, and feel that my enthusiasm for this profession will be a healing grace for my clients.
Professionally, I hope to work with the pediatric population. I believe therapeutic recreation can play a major role in bridging the barrier between therapy for an illness and purposeful recreation that improves quality of life. Therapeutic recreation can also help to increase social skills by getting clients involved in community groups and outings. It is important to promote healthy living at an early age to make their day fun filled and successful rather than illness concentrated. My dream job is to work as a certified therapeutic recreation specialist in a hospital setting. The hospital can be a frightening, sterile environment to a child, especially if that child is in the hospital for an extended time. I think my greatest accomplishments will come from working with children that feel alone and have too much time on their hands to worry about their diseases. I want to make the hospital an environment of security and comfort, so that the child can concentrate on relaxing and healing instead of hurting.
My experience in assistant coaching for minor league softball teams and babysitting for neighbors and high school teachers has helped me develop the skills needed to deliver positive reinforcement and facilitation with leisure activities that promote active lifestyles. Through my education and my volunteer experiences in therapeutic recreation, I plan to increase my knowledge and experience in the field. I also plan to develop skills as a therapist, particularly in learning to connect the activity to the client’s needs and goals and also to learn to focus more on individual strengths rather than weaknesses. I am planning to learn more about the pediatric population in order to understand how they cope with their illnesses and disabilities. While I hope to work in a hospital setting with children, I welcome any opportunity to better the life of an individual struggling with an illness or disability.