Perks of being a Club Vice-President

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Hi all.

I’ve been busy lately! It’s my final week of my first subject for uni this year. This week I learnt that presentations are boring when it’s just listening to everyone summarise article appraisals! 😛

Today I’m doing something much more fun. It’s my uni’s O-Week, you see, and as I’m the Vice-President of the choir I’ve been planning for the big event: Clubs and Societies’ Festival, the day where all the clubs and societies at uni get to show off and try to attract members. I’m excited! It should be fun. I like meeting new people and singing is my jam, so let’s get into it. 😀

Another perk is being able to have advance knowledge of what my choir, LaTUCS, will be doing this year. We’ve got some pretty cool ideas in the pipeline.

Being V-P has been really good so far. It (and my other role on the MIV Committee) have been teaching me a lot about: how meetings work; delegation and collaboration; and event organisation, among other things. I love singing. Choir is such a great way to relax and have fun with friends, to meet new people who share interests with you and generally have a good time.

I imagine I’ll be quite tired by the end of today though…See you on the other side!

You’ve Given Your Heart to a Dog to Tear

The line above comes from Kipling, who wrote a poem about dog ownership. I thought about this poem after being sent a link to an article about why dog ownership is a good thing. Go on, read it. 🙂

Where I live now, my windows face the road. There’s a grassy lawn between the road and my building and people use it all the time as a shortcut. Especially when they’re walking their dogs. It makes me think of the family dog.

Here’s a stylised picture of him I created the other day (from a base photo). It’ll be nice to see him tonight.

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Scrambled Egg Breakfast 

The other day I had an early-morning plasma donation appointment booked at my local Red Cross donation centre. That went well. Watching muted breakfast TV and listening to FM breakfast radio on Valentine’s Day, while the donation is on, leads to seeing/hearing some interesting things though – and reinforces why I don’t watch them usually.

I decided that I’d have eggs for breakfast to give me a good start. Below is the result. 🙂 I cracked two eggs into a microwave-safe bowl, added chopped tomato,  coriander and milk, then gave it a couple of minutes in the microwave. I paused it halfway to stir it. I also put a couple of bread slices in the toaster and added some lettuce at the end. Yum!

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Australian Healthcare is Endangered

See these articles by thatladydoctor and drmarlenepierce. Australia has a very good healthcare system that enables healthcare for all through the use of bulk-billing and so on. But in the age of privatisation, that’s under threat. Also under threat is the value of General Practitioners and the time it takes to treat a person properly. Apparently it’s a women’s problem too!

I think they raise valid points. As a woman, I like to see a female doctor – it just makes me more comfortable. I also value being listened to (who doesn’t?) and not just treated. That takes time. Also, I don’t get sick that often and I know what to do for little things (i.e. rest, keep up fluids, use over-the-counter pharmaceuticals like cough lozenges for a sore throat or ibuprofen for a bad headache/cramps…) When I do go to the doctor’s, unless it’s for something like a uni-mandated health form, it’ll be because I need someone who is knowledgeable about something that’s been worrying me. Also they should be non-judgemental – my body, my choice and all that.

Also, as I said when sharing the first article on Facebook the other day, as an OT I’m going to be working with GPs and other health professionals to ensure my clients are cared for in the best possible way. You know what helps that? Giving health professionals the respect they/we deserve – which includes proper pay and support through not gutting systems like Medicare.

 

 

WT&TT: Jo Talks Books: Should There Be Sex Scenes in YA? (reblogged)

Interesting. I’d agree – the key is balance. It shouldn’t be avoided but neither should it be unnecessarily pushed. As the comments discuss, I think an important theme surrounding sex in YA (and all fiction) should be consent, even more than the question of sex scenes. Teens should feel able to explore their own sexualities, relationships and identities in a comfortable manner. They should also be able to talk about these things with adults in a non-judgemental way. I’d love it if more YA explored those things.

Some authors do tackle these topics – for example, Tamora Pierce. Check her out.

THey everyone! I hope you’ve been having a good week, mine has been relatively quiet, just settling back into Uni for my Spring Semester, enjoying the calm before the inevitable storm of assig…

Source: Jo Talks Books: Should There Be Sex Scenes in YA?

Emotional Learning

This post gets a bit lengthy because my tired brain (when writing it last night) surprised me by turning it from a uni-focused post to something a bit deeper. Firstly though – you know how on Saturday I talked about MIV? Well, the first of the 11 bullsheets has dropped. Go over here to check it out: http://us15.campaign-archive2.com/?u=76fbc0d21b849c256d862b386&id=afde62249d&e=460cb7de0c and subscribe to MIV2018‘s mailing list to keep up-to-date! (You can follow on Facebook and Twitter too!)

Now, onwards…

In class the other day, our facilitator talked about how we use ourselves as therapists to help our clients/ patients.

She talked about how an OT’s enthusiasm can provide hope by being a spark of light in someone else’s darkness – their confusion and hurt at being unable to quite get to where they want to go. We’re not doing this in a patronising way, but in a way that guides the client to see their own way. We do not enforce or coerce but empathise, collaborate with, encourage, instruct, advocate for and problem-solve with the client to instill hope and achieve our joint goals. We are not “doing to” but “working with” them. In occupational therapy, the client is the centre, after all. We enable the client to move forwards towards a future of their choosing, or one that is as close to that as possible.

The facilitator reminded us that all that we’re all different personalities, with different life experiences, and so we’ll all be different therapists, even though the class is studying the same theory. The person with a naturally bright/bubbly personality might approach a client and their situation from a slightly different angle than the approach adopted by someone who is naturally a calm, softly-spoken listener.  The best way we can practice occupational therapy is to always strive to be the best we can be.

We’d just done some role-plays of different client-therapist situations and I could see what our facilitator meant. During the role-plays, there were plenty of moments when I thought, as an observer, “Oh, I would’ve done that differently”. The facilitator’s words brought home to me the fact that I don’t have to be any sort of OT except who I am and want to be.

I’m naturally someone who empathises easily with others (even when I’m annoyed at them, depending on the person 😛 ). I also happen to be a bit of a talker. One skill I’m working on honing is learning when to “shut up and listen” and be guided by my intuition/ gut feeling. The times I’ve done that – listened to hear and not just respond, then reacted with empathy to the person’s situation – have resulted in really powerful moments for me. Moments of human connection at its best. That’s just with friends and not in the role of therapist yet, but it’s something I know I can bring into practice.

I first realised this properly last year, but I’d had insight into the feeling before then, from high school onwards, or even before that maybe? I seem to be one of those people who gets told personal things. Learning how to respond to those things is where I’ve learnt the “shut up and listen, then follow your gut” response. I like being able to have words to comfort – but when someone’s just told you something that’s visibly upsetting or frustrating, words can wait. Often words fail in those times. They need a listening ear (to get it off their chest) and then physical support, like the offer of a hug and the understanding that emotional expression is acceptable.

That brings me to another point. Human society is weird about emotions. Expressing them in public can be seen as a bit shameful – especially if it’s expressions like tears of sadness, or loud joyous laughter – except in tightly regulated situations, like at a sporting match, public performance or public memorial. I think one reason why outbursts of public mourning have become so prevalent relatively recently (though it’s been “a thing” for a few years now), aside from social media connecting people, is that it’s an acknowledgement of public emotion. It’s an acknowledgement that emotions are okay.

This is a really important thing, because there’s still so much stigma around the visibly of public – and even private – emotional expression. Like the outdated idea that men aren’t supposed to be emotional – it’s being challenged but I still see the shadow of the idea manifest in how some people, particularly men, are uncomfortable if someone starts crying in front of them. They want to “fix the problem”, a.k.a. the tears and the tears’ cause, but they sometimes don’t get that the tears have to be expressed in order for the situation to resolve. Then there’s the other end of the stereotype – the idea that women are “over-emotional”. This is, I believe, where some of the whole “special snowflake SJWs” stems from. When women become passionate, frustrated, angry, upset – others can’t deal with that. They tell us to calm down, say that we don’t make sense because we’re using our emotions, and so on. *shakes head* Not cool, people. Stop it.

Sometimes, we can’t help but get emotional, including tears. We don’t want to be told to just “calm down” – acknowledge our emotions and the reasons behind them first, please. Or you can piss off.

Some people – women AND men – are more emotionally sensitive than others. I call it being more “attuned to the emotional quality of a room”. We’re the sort of people who might get a little agitated by conflict – and therefore find it a little tricky when we have to stand up for ourselves and others. But stand up, we do, because our emotions tell us when something smells of bulls**t. We probably cry more easily than others too. We’re also the sort of people who get “over-excited” by things and accidentally embarrass other less-emotionally sensitive people by reacting just a bit too obviously to something. When that happens, we may well be told to bottle up those feelings because others can’t deal with the pure expression of ourselves. It’s a bit much for people. That can cause us/me to feel guilty about things. Is it our fault for being a bit different – or is it really the fault of society, shaping others to see our differences as abnormal? (Rhetorical question.)

I used to call myself an extrovert, though it didn’t sit quite right with me. While I do like to talk and enjoy the social environment, I also find it easy to spend hours at a time engrossed in a good book. A couple of years ago, I took one of those online quizzes about personality. I’d had to do some for a psychology subject I was taking, the Five-Factor Theorem ones. They’re interesting, but not as easy perhaps to understand as one I took for fun around the same time, a Myers-Briggs personality test. The one that splits people into Extroversion/Introversion; Intuition/Sensing; Feeling/Thinking; Judging/Perceiving groups. It’s just one test of course, which can be influenced by different factors (including your mood on the day of the test, wishful thinking/self-selection bias and things like that).

But the test showed me a few things. While I was definitely an Extrovert, it said that was a moderate preference. Of the four groups, the only one that had a distinct difference was Feeling over Thinking. That got me thinking and I realised that it did make sense in a lot of ways. Now, it’s a skill I want to cultivate further as I think it will be helpful in my future practice – I just have make sure my Extraversion takes a step back.

Just the awareness of this is helping, I think.

Choral Festival Planning (MIV!)

Hi all. As I’ve mentioned before, I sing in my uni choir, meaning I’m part of the Australian Intervarsity Choral Societies Association. Now that Perth Intervarsity Festival is over, things become a bit more local for me and others. For me, that means preparing my uni choir for O-Week and hopefully some new members to sing with in the busy year ahead. I’m excited about other things too though, because next year in January, the annual intervarsity Choral Festival (IV) is in Melbourne, my city. I’m on the committee, co-organising social stuff with a friend.

It’s interesting, having an insight into behind-the-scenes stuff. Including secret things that I can’t say yet because there are timelines for release, haha. 😉 What I can say is that as of today (the 11th of February), the Festival is 11 months away!

One thing we’re focusing on at the moment are grants, so we can make this IV the best it can be. I say we, but most of the work for the grants (and it is a lot of effort) is actually being done by a couple of good friends. I just have to signal-boost when I need to. With that in mind, could all of you click on the link below? It’ll take you a few seconds and is really easy. Just click, say “connect now”, scroll through the list to find Melbourne Intervarsity Choral Festival 2018 and click “support”. It’s that simple. If you want to know more, then click “View Details”.

http://www.carlislehomes.com.au/grants#_=_

Thanks!

Promotion has officially begun. It’s the ’69th IV in an Australian summer, so the theme (particularly for social and promotional stuff) spins around that – a bit of a hipster/ hippy vibe. Including things like this:

If you’re interested in learning more about the Festival, or AICSA (see if there’s a uni choir or two near you!), there are links below. Sign up to keep up-to-date! I’ll keep you posted, too.

Melbourne Intervarsity Choral Festival (MIV) 2018 Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MIV2018/
And website: http://www.miv.org.au/

AICSA website: https://www.aicsa.org.au/
And website link about choirs (with handy map): https://www.aicsa.org.au/index.php/about-us/our-choirs/