Pursuing a Passion for Occupational Therapy – Paige Lawrence

An Honors Scholar with majors in psychology and mathematics, Paige Lawrence, ’21, has learned the importance of community while at Meredith— a realization that inspired her to work with retirement homes to study fall prevention. After graduation, she will continue her studies at East Carolina University in the Master of  Occupational Therapy program.

 “At Meredith, I have come to realize my love for people and being surrounded by a community. Coming into college, I knew my enjoyment of being with others and doing group activities or team sports, but now I recognize my need for social interaction. Being involved in clubs, all of the Meredith traditions, and seeking out involvement on campus are just a few of the moments that have led me to this discovery. I gain my energy from being with others. 

Beginning my sophomore year, I joined the team of students working on the Falls Prevention Grant, funded by the AARP. Our purpose was to assess homes of elderly individuals and identify fall hazards, and if the residents were eligible, teach them a low-impact exercise routine to improve their balance. The intervention was designed to help lower risk for falling and prolong the independence of the elderly. 

Through this research experience, I was able to write my thesis on the predictors of determining if an individual would likely be successful with the intervention, and present this research at the Five Points Senior Center for Active Adults. I explained our research and our findings, then assisted the audience in practicing to identify fall hazards. 

This experience empowered me to expound upon my strengths, specifically restorative and discipline. By being restorative minded, I am consistently looking out for ways to resolve problems and analyzing different avenues for deciding on a solution. Having a disciplined attitude, I stayed organized throughout the entire research process and found progress through maintaining a routine. These are just a couple of the ways I have built upon my strengths at Meredith.

The faculty at Meredith have been incomparable and have shaped my college experience to be some of the best years of my life. They have aided me in gaining knowledge in a wealth of subjects to become a more well-rounded individual. The faculty have been a constant encouragement for me through the challenging, but enriching, opportunities and have pushed me beyond my comfort zone to grow in ways I did not imagine for myself. I am a more confident woman and have the courage to seek after whatever my heart desires. Without a doubt, the faculty at Meredith changed my entire life.

No one specific challenge during my college experience stands out above the rest, except for enduring the worldwide pandemic during my senior year. While this is a challenge that everyone has had to overcome in one way or another, I believe it has forced me to grow into a more resilient and optimistic individual. Not being able to experience my senior year to the fullest, after being involved in everything since I stepped foot onto campus, was hard for me to accept. 

Losing my expectations and learning to find joy in the everyday, little moments, took lots of practice and dedication. Nightly dinners with roommates, walking outside, and listening to my favorite music have become some of my most memorable moments of senior year. I have learned to make the most of what I have been dealt and keep my head high, despite the circumstances.”