The 8 People You Meet in OT School


The 8 People You Meet in OT School

After two years of being in class with the same 21 people every day, I think I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on my classmates’ strengths, weaknesses, and personalities. Some are more laid-back, and some are more high-strung. Some try to find the positive in every situation, and others have a more pessimistic point of view, but everybody excels in different ways and has something unique to offer!


Anyone who’s been in OT school before can probably tell you about the classic personality types you’ll encounter as an OT student, but if you don’t have anybody to ask, read on to find out what you have to look forward to!

1. The Tech Titan

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Signature Saying: “Hold on, I have a message.”

Identifying Features:

  • Doesn’t look up from computer screen for entirety of two hour class
  • In an exclusive, “Facebook official” relationship with his/her smartphone
  • Always has 25 tabs open, none of which are related to the task at hand


You know this person – the one whose face is permanently lit by a soft blue glow. The one who doesn’t know how to make eye contact with anything that doesn’t have a power button. The one you can’t sit beside in class for fear of laughing out loud during one of the Youtube videos he’s watching. Some people come to class to learn, but this person apparently didn’t come to class to do anything other than “check in” from a different location. Maybe if you send him an email about how hard the professor is glaring at him, you can get him to look up!



2. The Know It All

Signature Saying: “That’s not how I learned it.”

Identifying Features:

  • Hand never goes down for entirety of two hour class period
  • Had one Level I fieldwork placement and is now an expert in all things OT
  • Doesn’t plan on studying for the boards because the test is, like everything else in his life, “too easy”

There’s no point trying to argue with this person about anything OT – he’s been everywhere and seen everything, and there’s nothing left to learn. After his first fieldwork, he came back bragging about how the staff begged him to stay and how he could hardly find time in the day to answer all of their questions. He laughs quietly to himself whenever anybody else volunteers an answer in class, and follows up all his classmates’ comments with, “Actually…”


3. The Storyteller

Signature Saying: “Did I tell you about the time…”

Identifying Features:

  • Has a story for every situation…even ones s/he has never experienced
  • Entire class knows their life history forwards and backwards
  • When s/he raises a hand in class, the group collectively sighs and rolls eyes

Class is only four minutes in, and somehow she’s already ready to go with a story to tell! This person can read a room like a blind cave fish, and has no idea that her classmates are not interested in hearing about her job at Autism Camp AGAIN. But don’t worry, if you fall asleep in the middle of her monologue, it’ll STILL be going on when you wake up – and you won’t have missed a thing!



4. The Negative Nancy

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Signature Saying: “That was a terrible idea.”

Identifying Features:

  • Didn’t like any of the six fieldwork placements s/he had
  • Constantly considering dropping out of OT school to get “a real job”
  • Only opens mouth to complain about someone or something; spends rest of time thinking of things to complain about

No matter what happens, Debbie Downer has always got something bad to say about it. Your SOTA raised $200? This person will be sure to let you know that last year’s fundraiser made twice as much. Are you excited about your next fieldwork placement? Just wait until you hear her horror story from the same site. If you ever want to be happy again, do yourself a favor and avoid this person and her negative vibe like the plague.



5. The Nervous Nellie

Signature Saying: “I know I’m going to fail this assignment.”

 Identifying Features:

  • Convinced that s/he is going to fail every assignment
  • Spends most of his/her time talking about how s/he is going to fail every assignment
  • Stays up nights wondering when grades will be posted and if s/he failed the last assignment

As soon as the professor hands out the syllabus, this person breaks into a cold sweat. She begins calling and texting her friends and family members to let them know that she will be living in the library for the next few months and that they shouldn’t worry. Even if you weren’t worried about an assignment before, this person’s constant concern will have you ready to quit school by the end of the week, convinced that you haven’t done anything right. The only way to shut this person up is to turn whatever is in her water bottle into wine…


6. The Straight-A Student

Signature Saying: “I’m sorry professor, but the correct answer is…”

Identifying Features:

  • Knows every muscle, nerve, bone, organ, structure, and function of the body
  • Currently working on a new OT textbook that includes his/her infinite wisdom
  • Spends so much time in the faculty offices that s/he was given an honorary degree

You’re not even sure why this person is in your class, since he already has four graduate degrees, a publishing contract, and a faculty position lined up. He highlights, underlines, AND annotates every chapter, and has two textbooks for “school” and “home.” Still, it’s great to have him in your project group, since he doesn’t think anybody else is capable and insists on doing it all himself! You may be laughing at this nerd now, but you won’t be when he’s signing your paycheck in a few years…



7. The Lazy Susan

Signature Saying: “Hey, can I borrow your notes?”

Identifying Features:

  • Regularly comes to class late…if s/he comes at all
  • Does the bare minimum for individual and group projects, if s/he remembers to do them
  • Relies on classmates to find out when classes are, where they are, and what they’re about every day

Senioritis is an everyday struggle for this complacent classmate. Whenever this person does make it to class, she spends most of the lecture crafting the perfect email to send out to the class requesting notes from the last four lectures she missed. All group projects have to take place within 15 minutes of where she lives, because driving to do homework “just isn’t her thing.” Her favorite phrase is “page limit,” you’ll never catch her at a conference or non-mandatory event, and she’s just counting down the days until graduation when she can finally take that vacation she’s been planning since the start of the semester.



8. The Extracurricular Expert

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Signature Saying: “Let me check my calendar.”

Identifying Features:

  • Involved in OT events at the local, state, national, and intergalactic levels
  • Practices inaugural AOTA presidency speech during class breaks
  • Has no plans to apply for OT positions after graduation – s/he is too busy doing other things

It’s a mystery to everybody how this person has any time for class when she spends 23 hours a day organizing, participating in, and scheduling activities. She has a hand in every pot, and there isn’t an OT/A on this planet she hasn’t met. Not only is she the president of six different on-campus organizations, but she’s also got her hat in the ring for the AOTA presidency as well. You definitely don’t want to piss this person off, since she probably knows every employer you’re interested in working for!

If you’ve changed your mind about going to OT school after reading this post, just know that things get better! You work hard, graduate, leave school…and then spend the rest of your life working with everyone on this list. 🙂


Just kidding! (Sort of).

Have you met any of these people in your OT program? Which one are you?


6 thoughts on “The 8 People You Meet in OT School

  1. Tera April 25, 2016 / 8:59 am

    The Tech Titan, sadly too common. I never understood why someone would pay thousands for a class and then not pay attention. The nervous Nellie was another trait common in several of my classmates. I avoided them before any huge project/presentation because the negative energy would drag me down.

    • lej1123 April 27, 2016 / 11:55 pm

      So true! I don’t get it either. Not that I’ve never checked my email in class, but I do try to avoid being distracted and DISTRACTING to others when using my laptop in class!

    • lej1123 May 19, 2016 / 4:02 pm

      Haha! Maybe I’ll have to write one about the people you work with as a therapist! 😀

  2. frenchiefoo32 May 20, 2016 / 1:52 am

    You forgot last minute Annie who is late for everything and starts assignments 2 days before deadlines and somehow scrapes through and drama queen Carole who is usually at the centre of any argument and everyone dreads working on group projects with as there will usually be pistols at dawn and tears by tea time 😂

  3. Disappointed OT with 25 years of clinical experience May 29, 2016 / 9:39 pm

    This is a sad blog to post on a OT website, shame on you.

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