A spotlight on life after graduation...
Featuring: Carly Edward

After waving goodbye to Abertay last summer, BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science graduate Carly has been touching base with us every few months with an update on what life has been like for her since graduation.

Posed photo of Abertay Alumni Carly Edward

12 months after graduation, Carly is an MSc Occupational Therapy student at Glasgow Caledonian University. 

"When I graduated, I thought it would only feel like it was a couple of months until I started my postgraduate course but in reality, the six months felt much longer, and I wasn't prepared for the loss of my student identity. When I eventually got to start my next chapter of postgraduate study, it was much more exciting than I thought it would be because it felt like my life was back on track. Like most people, COVID-19 has been a rather unexpected challenge. My postgraduate course has now been taught online for longer than I have been on campus, and I have unfortunately had my placement postponed. That being said, I have successfully passed my first semester!

I should be a qualified Occupational Therapist in 2022, so I am just working towards that career goal and taking on as many learning opportunities as possible. I think next time I graduate I will be more prepared, and that it will be an easier transition as I will be going from a student into a professional career, all going well!" 


For those who know what they would like to do in the future: Research all the different ways in which you can reach your goal. If you are not successful following the first route, learn from it and make the changes until you get there. If you have one of those days where you feel the glass is half empty and you’re never going to get to the place you want to be, try not to overwhelm yourself with thoughts of failure to reach the finish line because you are capable. Focus on the task at hand and you will reach your goals!

For those who are not sure of where they see themselves in the future: Firstly, do not worry! Try to apply for things in areas which spark interest, because you can always say no if you don’t feel like it’s right for you, or you might say yes and you never know where that opportunity might take you... so what have you got to lose!

June 2019

A few weeks before graduation, Carly was holding a conditional offer to study MSc Occupational Therapy at Glasgow Caledonian University in Glasgow.  

What are your long-term career aspirations?

To become an Occupational Therapist and to eventually become an expert within the area which I specialise in.

How will your next steps contribute towards these aspirations?

Following Graduation, I will be able to provide the required evidence for my conditional offer to Glasgow Caledonian University to study pre-reg Occupational Therapy MSc. The course starts in January 2020 so I will be continuing to work as a Support Worker within Gowrie Care to help fund my masters in the meantime.

What approach did you take to researching your career path and industry?

The career placement module within my course really helped me out with this as part of the course work was to research my chosen career and investigate the opportunities and barriers associated with this.

How are you feeling about everything?

I am incredibly excited, although it doesn’t feel real yet. I am convinced I should have at least another year left at Abertay!

October 2019

Carly had accepted the place on her postgraduate programme, and was working as a Support Worker before her programme started. 

To your understanding, what does an Occupational Therapist do?

To be an Occupational Therapist is to assist individuals with physical, cognitive or emotional impairments to live as independently as possible. This would help them to continue working or start to work, carry out daily living tasks or participate within their chosen hobbies. My understanding is that Occupational Therapists achieve this through providing equipment such as walking aids, and by suggesting alternative methods for individuals to complete tasks.

You’ve continued working with Hillcrest Futures as a Support Worker to help fund your postgraduate studies. What does this role entail, and do you foresee this experience to come in useful during your future career?

My role is to support individuals within supported accommodation to live as independently as possible. I work with individuals with a range of conditions including Downs Syndrome and Fragile X Syndrome. I support individuals with cooking, household tasks, personal care, social outings and medication. I feel like this is extremely useful experience for my future career as I will likely work to support individuals with learning disabilities in the future. I'll have an in depth understanding of their needs which will help me one day to create realistic and effective care plans. 

What are you expectations of studying at postgraduate level?

I feel like it will be very demanding and be very time consuming, but at present that doesn’t really bother me because I feel like I am going to love this course. I'm hoping that the passion will see me through what I anticipate to be a constant string of deadlines.

March 2020

Carly had started her course at Glasgow Caledonian University and was absolutely loving it!

After all of the excitement waiting to start my masters, I am now studying Occupational Therapy! The course is everything I could have hoped for. I have been learning the background theory to occupational therapy and learning lots about a range of health conditions which I have found to be extremely interesting. The commuting to Glasgow was a worry of mine as I am not a very good morning person, but I have been coping well with the early starts to get lectures for nine in the morning and to my surprise, I have actually been using the time on the trains to get some reading done and not to just catch up on sleep! I am currently planning my assignments which are due in April/May and I'm waiting to get my results back to see if my critical writing is up to the expectations of Masters level.
My course mates are very lovely. It is a very different experience from my undergraduate as I have gone from a heavily male dominant sports course to a female dominant course. I did join a gym as I said was planning to do and I have really enjoyed going to the gym classes.  I am still working as a Support Worker with Hillcrest Futures and am managing to balance work and university.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given relating to your career?

"Do things you find to be interesting, because then you’ll put loads of effort in without even realising."

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