So as I spend my time on the internet researching occupational therapy instead of writing my animal behavior paper, I am seeing a huge push to join AOTA for students.
Sidenote: I told one of the moms of a child I work with in an occupational therapy setting that my favorite class was animal behavior. She was like you should be a vet, even though 5 minutes ago I told her I was going to school for occupational therapy. Humans are animals too. It is not my fault that my undergraduate institution does not offer occupational therapy classes. It really doesn't. I still have to take a pre-req this summer. She is the ultimate helicopter parent. She annoys all the volunteers and aggravates the OT.
Back to scheduled programming. Part of push is because it helps with networking and seminars. In the bigger picture though is the idea that the public does not fully understand what occupational therapy is. Hopefully, the organization can gather people together to publicize what occupational therapy is and advocate for proper laws and procedures. For a student though, the main reasons are networking and having another resource of great information. What I am really debating is when I should join the professional organizations. Membership lasts a year and costs $75. My state's student membership cost $25 per a year. Both of those costs seem reasonable to me for what I hope to get out. I just can't decide if I should join over the summer or wait until I start taking classes. I guess it is not that big of a deal either way.
On a similar note, should I start to subscribe to professional journals? It costs $114 for the seven issues that come out in a year. My main concern is that the material may be to far over my head as a student. On the other hand, you don't learn anything if you do not push yourself. My undergraduate program really promotes using scientific journals to further one's learning, so I am actually fairly proficient in reading scientific journals. I think I will take the plunge, but I will probably wait until I move into my housing by school.
I really think it is important to stay on top of the top technology and research that is being used in the field. Especially in occupational therapy, since the field is seeing soaring growth. One of my questions that I asked the schools was how they integrated new technology. That question really seemed to impress. I'll try to update on how these investments go in a few months.