I don’t know how many times I Googled “I failed my Level II Fieldwork” or “Didn’t pass OT fieldwork” and “Am I going to fail fieldwork?” and any other variation you can think of during the course of both my Level II Fieldwork semesters.
And I know I wasn’t alone.
Ask any of your classmates and they will be able to relate.
Needless to say, I was completely worked up about the stories I’d heard about “evil CIs” and getting kicked out of OT programs even after completing the entire curriculum prior to fieldwork.
Did I know anyone personally that got kicked out?
No, of course not.
I did hear about one person in another program that was dismissed after three (three!) semesters of flaking out and consistently not showing up. But this I can even understand since these behaviors are not typical.
Important Tip: Show up for your fieldwork!
You and Your School Want The Same Thing
My friends and I spent a long and stressful three months constantly getting worked up thinking things like “My CI doesn’t like me, I can tell! She’s totally going to fail me!” A little secret that CIs know that you don’t is that:
Your OT program does not want to fail you.
This is what schools are assuming prospective students want: a tough OT program that prepares them well for the real world (which means a credible program in employer’s eyes) AND they want a program that has a high pass rate which ensures you won’t fail.
Your program wants their pass rate to look as good as possible, while simultaneously scaring students with the threat of failure.
This way they can build up their program’s reputation as being difficult (which is synonymous with credible), but still be a program that you are able to pass.
It’s OK – This Is What Learning Feels Like
You’ll probably hear horror stories of CI’s that are burned out OTs on power trips that get pleasure out of torturing you.
But this is not the case.
I felt like one of my CI’s was SO hard on me and I couldn’t get why I was always crying evenings and anxious to come in in the mornings, thinking it was the worst point of my life, etc., etc., but now, guess what:
Those experiences are INVALUABLE to me now.
She helped transformed me into the OT I am today and made me so much more confident starting out as entry level.
I can’t stress enough how important these hard-ass CI’s are, even if they do constantly make you doubt your passing and make you feel incompetent.
Trust me, you are going to pass and you are competent.
The Odds Are In Your Favor
Data doesn’t always make me feel better, but you may just find this stat comforting.
According to a 2013-2014 study conducted by AOTA, on average 97% of Masters degree students passed their Level II Fieldwork (pg. 16). Our of 10,817 people, only 311 failed.
So in a class of 35 people, only 1 person will fail on average. Most often, people withdraw voluntarily because of unforseen personal or family circumstances.
This of course will vary widely from school to school, but the point is you are way more likely to pass than fail. Just remember, you’re not special when it comes to statistics. And this means you have a 97% (or better) chance of passing!
You Are Going To Be Fine
If on the rare chance you have been failed, your program can and should allow you to redo fieldwork with a different CI, and you will learn so much from the experience and even get a chance to learn from a different viewpoint/different clinician.
If you are thinking about making a choice to drop out because you can’t take it any more, I can tell you first hand that it is worth it to stick it out in the long run. Making $45/hr is better than $10/hr.
Sometimes cliche soundbites like “You can do it” and “Don’t give up” are the best and only advice needed in this situation.
Always ask for help and know that the odds are in your favor.