Q & A with Medical University of South Carolina Occupational Therapy (OT) Student Skylar Herman

Skylar Herman is a first-year Occupational Therapy (OT) student at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). She graduated from UMD with a degree in Biological Sciences in 2021 and worked as a rehabilitation tech at a physical therapy office prior to beginning OT school.

Why Occupational Therapy?

Skylar Herman
Skylar Herman

I decided on OT because I like how holistic and client-centered the treatment is. Occupational Therapy focuses on what is meaningful to the patient and helps them get back to activities that give them meaning. I also like OT because you get to be a big part of your client's journey to recovery. OT is very hands-on.

What extracurricular activities do you think best prepared you for OT school? 

The most important extracurriculars, besides working with an occupational therapist at the hand therapy clinic, were my time working with kids at summer camp and at the CARing mentoring program at UMD. Both gave me opportunities for leadership experience that encouraged me to learn and grow. Interacting with my staff and the kids helped me find unique ways to problem-solve and encouraged compassion.

What are the challenges you face in OT school?

The main challenges for me in OT school have been the transition to a new place and a new type of learning. The good thing is that the material is more interconnected and builds on itself.

What drew you to your particular school? 

I really liked MUSC because it has a science focus, a good reputation for fieldwork, and a student-run clinic. On top of that, the faculty seemed super supportive, caring, and open to student concerns. The staff is my favorite part of the program.

What hobbies do you have outside of school and how do you balance them?

Outside of school, I enjoy biking and climbing. I manage this by going to do these activities right after class ends. It gives my mind a break and allows my body to move so that I feel refreshed when I get home and need to study.

What advice would you give your younger self? 

I would tell my younger self to be confident in my abilities. It can be overwhelming when applying to professional school, but I have realized that UMD did a great job preparing me for education beyond undergrad. I would also tell myself that it's okay not to have it all figured out. It is okay to question whether you are picking the right field--it is a big, overwhelming decision. In the end, you will have thought through it a lot and will make the right decision.

What’s the most interesting interview question you have been asked? 

I was asked what podcasts/books I was listening to/reading and how they were helping me learn. This question was focused on wanting students to be life-long learners.