Tuesday, October 14, 2014

She wanted something more in her life

Mindy Yeo (above, right) is currently a student pursuing her Diploma in Occupational Therapy at NYP. We got to know each other in 2013, when she interviewed me for a video assignment she was working on. This wonderful lady taught me a valuable lesson: never give up on seeking purpose in my life.

After resigning from her job of four years as an operations executive in the rehabilitation department of a hospital, she decided to become an Occupational Therapist (OT), which is a totally different field of work.

According to Mindy, she made that bold leap because she wanted to work with patients directly, instead of helping to manage the operations of the rehabilitation centre she worked at.

“My previous work as an operations executive was meaningful, as I know how it plays a part in the operations of an hospital, but I would like more direct work with patients,” she said. “When I saw how important healthcare is, I wanted to be part of the system to deliver care to those who need it.”

Mindy was first introduced to Occupational Therapy four years ago during her company induction. During that session, she understood the role of an OT better and became interested in the way OTs design innovative methods to assist patients in regaining independence in their lives. Other than that, she learnt that OTs play an important role in helping patients enjoy the activities which they value.

Two concerned colleagues heard about Mindy’s inclination in seeking a job which allowed her to interact with people, and her interest in social work and psychology. They told her to consider pursuing a career in Occupational Therapy.

Mindy’s younger sister also had a mid-career switch, and had decided to pursue a diploma in Occupational Therapy. When Mindy was deciding her next step after her resignation, her sister was already in her final year as a student. Looking at her sister, she felt empowered to pursue what she wanted, even if it meant facing some challenges.

“I found reassurance in the fact that someone else in the family has done it (had a mid-career switch). My sister gave me the final push,” said Mindy.

Furthermore, her sister took up the “Professional Conversion Program for Occupational Therapists”—a sponsorship for people who are planning a mid-career switch. The sponsorship involves a three-year bond, which means that her employment for the three subsequent years will be covered, alongside with her schooling expenses.

It has been one semester since Mindy took up this new undertaking and she admits to facing some challenges along the way.

“I was challenged to hit the books again, after about a decade of not studying,” she said.

Mindy admires young people who are not constrained by prejudices and bias. While studying, Mindy does feel that as age catches up with her,  she finds herself thinking that there are “fixed” ways of doing things, in comparison with her peers whom she views as being more creative and innovative.

It is obviously not easy to adapt to being a student again. I can see how much courage she has demonstrated in being daring enough to venture out of the comforts of her stable job to pursue what she thinks is her purpose for now. Mindy sees her OT pursuit as a “new adventure”.

“I don’t know if this is going to be my vocation for the rest of my life, but for the next six years, I am trying out this new adventure. It is too early to decide whether I am going to be an OT for the rest of my life,” she said.

Mindy has demonstrated what it means not to let any difficulty or fear stop us from living a full life! She is truly admirable.

By Matthew Tan Ser Yung, Diploma in Social Sciences (Social Work)

Matthew is 20 and pursuing his Diploma in Social Sciences (Social Work) at NYP. He may have suffered a traumatic brain injury in a judo competition and may have lost his hopes of becoming a judo champion, but he has found new passion and interest in writing. He is happy to share how he feels and thinks, and hopes to encourage his readers with his writing