I had never realised that a master’s degree would be this challenging, the last few months have been filled with lectures and assignments. Although I am doing well and have passed all my assessments so far, the pressure remains and it has knocked my confidence from time to time. Admittedly, there have been moments where I have questioned whether my time spent in the library is worth it.
These feelings are fleeting, however, as I am often reminded of why I am doing this. Recently, a very special session at the University renewed my interest and strengthened my motivation to carry on. A services user came to one of my classes to share her experience from when she had a major accident, explaining how an occupational therapist (my lecturer) was working with her throughout her journey of recovery. I was shocked to hear the challenges that this service user was facing, not only how demanding the physiotherapy and medical treatments were, but how this individual had to adapt to changes in their future. Though collaboration with an occupational therapist and her own support network, however, she was able to adapt to these changes and return to doing things that really matter to her. At that point I said to myself ‘Hold on Matt, it will be your turn to help someone like her one day’.
I find stories like this individual’s truly inspiring, and they help me to keeping going. Another thing that I find really helpful and stress-relieving is baking. The day that this session took place was also my friend’s birthday, and when I went in to uni I gave her the cake that I had made to celebrate. The smile on my friend’s face when she saw the cake was very similar to the smile on the service user’s face when she was talking about her encounter with the occupational therapist, this gave me the joy that I so desperately needed.
When I bake, I get the pleasure of seeing how something I made can put a smile on other people’s faces. I love how individual ingredients, such as flour and baking powder, can taste disgusting on their own, but when you combine them together with the rest of the ingredients suddenly you have something delicious for everyone to enjoy. Baking is a way for me to connect with others, and it is that connection with others that helps to make me happy. I like running as well, but people tend to avoid that topic with me.
You see this picture of the suitcase in the snow? You might wonder what’s in it? Well, this suitcase contains some of the baking tools that I use all the time. The reason I am telling you this is despite the fact I fell flat on my bottom three times while I was carrying the suitcase on snow and ice, I pushed on because I needed to make that cake. For me, baking is a meaningful occupation that takes my mind off my work and helps me to focus on my own mental wellbeing. For you, it might be something completely different.
Find your suitcase, take out the stuff inside and do something with it!