The Graduate Student

Augustana graduate Lauren Yares '16 is enrolled in an occupational therapy master's program.

NEXT STOP: THE REAL WORLD — 2016 GRADS SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES.

Meet biology and psychology major Lauren Yares ’16, a master’s of occupational therapy student at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Q. Tell us about your grad program.

A. The occupational therapy program at St. Kate’s is two years of classroom instruction and six months of fieldwork. The program includes four fieldwork rotations, two rotations lasting one week, and two rotations lasting three months.

Q. What’s an average day like?

A. My average day consists of four to five hours of class and classwork, such as homework, reading and projects.

Q. Tell us about the challenges and rewards.

A. The greatest challenge on a given day is the stress from my schoolwork. In the first semester, there is a steep learning curve as you must adjust to a new campus, cohort, curriculum, workload, and familiarize yourself with what is means to be an occupational therapist. The best reward is when I sit back and realize that I did it. I did well as an undergrad, got accepted into great graduate programs, and love the program that I chose to attend. I am going to be an occupational therapist. I belong here. I am going to make a difference in people’s lives while doing what I love. That makes all of the stress, sleepiness, and frustration seem insignificant.

Q. Looking ahead to after grad school, what’s your dream job?

A. I want to either work with young children in an early intervention program or work with persons with mental illness. There is a great variety in what occupational therapy looks like, depending on the setting. I am excited to begin my fieldwork rotations and be able to experience these different settings.

Q. How did AU prepare you for grad school?

A. Augustana supported and prepared me on every step of the journey to graduate school. My advisors and Augustana’s liberal arts curriculum helped me to find my passion in occupational therapy. In addition, my connections made through Augustana helped me get a job in the healthcare field, important fellowships, and many shadowing opportunities. These experiences helped make me a competitive candidate. Now that I am in the program, I see how Augustana’s strong academic programs helped me develop a drive to achieve, strong study habits and a solid knowledge base.