Student Spotlight: Lindsay Pearl
Hi everyone! My name is Lindsay Pearl and I am a senior in the Bachelor of Health Science on the Pre-Occupational Therapy track. I am also getting a second degree in Psychology on the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience track.
My first exposure to occupational therapy was in a pediatric outpatient clinic, where I spent years and years watching my younger brother go through OT, PT, and Speech Therapy. He has a rare autoimmune disorder called Opsoclonus-Myoclonus Syndrome, or OMS. When he was diagnosed as a toddler, I had no idea what this all meant; all I could understand was that my little brother had to relearn how to walk and talk again. Watching him spend his entire childhood going through therapies helped me see firsthand just how impactful these therapists can be. It was rewarding as a sibling to watch him progress into the independently-functioning teenager he is today.
I knew coming into UF that I wanted to be able to help others in the same way that my brother’s many therapists helped him. I chose occupational therapy knowing only the pediatric side of it, but these past three years have truly strengthened my desire and passion for occupational therapy and all that it encompasses.
I have spent my time here being involved in many organizations outside of the classroom to learn as much as I can to supplement my coursework. One of my biggest passions is social justice, and I have grown my passion through Multicultural and Diversity Affairs, attending and eventually leading workshops on all aspects of diversity and inclusion. I hope to incorporate all that I have learned about different cultures and their potential needs to my future career as an OT, making sure my patients feel comfortable and understood.
Outside of MCDA, I have worked at GatorWell for over two years now. I enjoy my day-to-day interactions with students and take pleasure in being able to share with them the pieces of health and wellness information I have learned from our professional staff members. Being a part of a health promotion team has given me a much greater appreciation for public health and how impactful it can be in the health field.
One of my favorite involvements at UF is definitely SOTA, the Student Occupational Therapy Association. This year, I am the Vice President, but I have also been an active member since I was a freshman. I was introduced to it by my LEAP mentor, and haven’t looked back ever since. As a part of the executive board this year, I work with ten other wonderful Pre-OT students to put on events to help other Pre-OT and MOT students make connections and discover or further develop their love for occupational therapy. Through SOTA, I have participated as a buddy in the Night to Shine Prom every year, a prom for teenagers and adults with disabilities, who may not have been able to attend their own proms. I have also been a Family Pal at Hand Camp, a weekend camp put on by Hands to Love for children with congenital upper limb differences and their families. I hold these two events very close to my heart and look forward to volunteering at them again this year. Events like these strengthen my desire to help others reach their individual goals and achieve all that they can without limits or barriers.
I love to travel and explore, and spent my summer studying abroad in Madrid. Meeting new people with different cultures and ways of life as well as seeing more of the natural world inspires me to keep traveling and learning from others. Right now, I am enjoying furthering my love for the brain in my Nervous Systems and Disorders class and applying to graduate schools. I am excited for the rest of this academic year, as well as whatever is waiting for me after graduation.