Lindsey E. Hess, OTD Class of 2009
I have often heard that the biggest decisions in life are the easiest to make because when you find the right answer, you “just know”. This was the case for me and Belmont. I vividly remember the day I first set foot in the Occupational Therapy Department at Belmont University. It was a chilly October day and I had driven from my college town of Charlottesville, Virginia to see if Belmont was the right place for my graduate level education. As soon as my feet hit the concrete outside of the OT building I exclaimed, “This is it. This is where I’m meant to be!” Among the reasons I chose Belmont is that it offers a clinical doctorate degree, which is a characteristic that sets it apart from many other schools. Another reason I “just knew” that Belmont was right for me was its small size and belief in Christian values. Lastly, I chose Belmont because of its state-of-the-art facility, the Inman Center. This building, coupled with the fact that it is located in Nashville, made me certain that I would receive a top-notch education in an exceptionally enriched environment.
Looking back, I now realize why attending Belmont and deciding to become an OT was an easy decision. God had a plan for me to become an OT long before I even knew what college I would attend. In high school, I peer tutored for an elementary school student in a special education classroom and I also taught Special Olympics tennis. From these early experiences, I learned that I had a special place in my heart for people who had to face adversity due to illness or disability. In college, I decided to pursue a teaching career in Special Education, but I quickly found myself dissatisfied and feeling a bit like I hadn’t really tapped into what God wanted for me to do with my life. That was when I found OT. I began doing OT observation hours at an elementary school and at a school for children with autism. Then I completed observation hours in a hand clinic as well as in a nursing home. I discovered that OT is a multifaceted and extremely versatile field – I could work in a school system, nursing home, hospital, outpatient rehabilitation clinic, or even start my own practice. I realized that the possibilities in OT were endless! Most importantly, I discovered that through OT I could alter people’s lives for the better. I would get the privilege of looking past a label of disability or illness and seeing a person. Furthermore, as an OT practitioner I would be able to bring fulfillment to other individuals’ lives. What job could possibly be more satisfying?
Now here I am, nearing the completion of my third semester of OT school at Belmont and I could not be happier with how my life has turned out thus far. Starting in high school and continuing through college, God placed experiences in my life that were tailor-made for the reason of leading me towards a career in occupational therapy. Now five years later, I have found the place in which my life’s purpose will be brought to fruition. At Belmont, I know I am being challenged both spiritually and intellectually by my professors as well as by my peers. I am learning so much about OT and even more about what I want to accomplish with my life. My dream is to be a pediatric OT and maybe even start my own therapy clinic! Although I am uncertain about much of my future in OT, I know God is using Belmont to chisel and mold me into a woman of skill, compassion, and service. I am certain that I will graduate from Belmont fully equipped to honor God by serving those who are in need of an OT – and I hope I honor Him well.