MSc Occupational Therapy student, Kate Sammon, talks about her time at Edinburgh Napier and her experience of returning to study after two decades
What was your background in before studying this course?
I originally completed my bachelors in Geography and have since work various roles in Marketing Communications and Events. I’ve also worked as an Occupational Therapy Assistant and I’m a Mum to three children.
What encouraged you to study at postgraduate level?
I wanted to enable progression with Occupational Therapy career as a therapist.
Why did you choose to study here at Edinburgh Napier?
I live in Edinburgh with my family and so was looking to complete my studies close to where I live.
Edinburgh Napier have had a flexible attitude towards my undergraduate degree being completed over 20 years ago and the academic team were very encouraging and welcoming throughout the admissions process.
As well as this, Napier offer an innovative style of course with opportunities to study with other professions.
What are your favourite parts of the course and there any highlights?
I have enjoyed practical aspects of this course – in most lecturers or seminars there have been some interactive or practical aspects. I particularly enjoyed the Humans as Occupational Being modules with gardening, museum visits, and baking!
Whilst the course is academic, the content and assignments allow for real world application, discussion, creativity and for the student to take learning in unique directions. The number of students on the course is relatively small, this has meant staff getting to know students well which has been a good feature.
I have enjoyed the use of specialist guest speakers: Edinburgh Napier staff from other disciplines, from a variety of outside organisations and service users. I have enjoyed all my placements so far – I have had a good range of experiences and opportunities – Emerging placement at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Community Occupational Therapy, Acute Mental Health, and A&E.
Any challenges so far?
At first figuring out how to answer assignment questions – getting all the information in to address learning intentions with good writing style in the number of words was a challenge. This has been a very worthwhile challenge. Trusting in the process when doing assignments and realising you probably only use a small amount of the material you research actually in your submissions. Finding a process which works for you – it may well be different for different people.
How did you find the transition between Undergraduate to Postgraduate courses?
Well it’s been quite a long transition – having completed my undergraduate in 1995, coming back to studying has been very different! Having such a large gap does make this a little difficult to answer though as not only have times changed but so have I!
For my undergraduate, I was submitting hand-written work and accessing all books and journals in hard copy in the university library. On the whole once becoming familiar with skills of searching and selecting relevant information and research the transition has been ok. I have been really pleased how well I have done academically and would encourage others with large transition gaps to consider themselves potentially just as able as those recently graduating – returning after a long time can be a bit intimidating. Listening to advice from tutors, thinking strategically about assessments, organising timings for different stages of your work, trusting in the process, reading and applying yourself can help with this transition.
Would you recommend the course? If so, why?
Yes – a very supportive, enthusiastic, experienced team of staff. The course makes you think for yourself and to become more confident in your ideas.
What advice would you give to anyone considering this course?
Be prepared to work hard for 2 years to get the most out of the course. Think about your other commitments – work, family etc. to make sure you can get a suitable balance for you. You’ll probably need to make some sacrifices.