The intention of this post is to reassure you that no matter what life throws at you, you can’t give up on your dreams. We all have a story and here is mine to the finish line. It all started in 2011 when I returned to school to pursue RN with a strong passion to help others. During my 2nd semester, I met a gentleman in my psychology class, who told me about occupational therapy. I fell in love with the profession right away and knew that was my calling. In 2015, I applied to Springfield Technical Community College ( STCC ) in MA and was placed second place on the waiting list. Just four weeks before the start of the program, I was notified that a spot in the program was available!

First Curveball

Shortly after starting the program, things started to get very hard for me. My dad was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Despite these challenging times, I got through school and graduated on June 1, 2017. I decided to give myself 6 weeks to prepare for the NBCOT and sat for the board exam on July 13, 2017. The following day, on July 14, I had to say goodbye to my dad. 5 days after this heartbreaking event, I received my failing score, missing the mark by 10 points. I can still remember that day clearly because at that moment, I let all my emotions loose – from my dad’s passing and failing the boards to not knowing how soon I can retest because of low funds.

Second Curveball

Thankfully, my Dad had left us (his four daughters ) some money – not a lot, but enough to pay for the NBCOT board for the second attempt. Despite the life changing event I had just faced, I rescheduled the exam. Then, another curve ball was thrown my way- my stepdad of 16+ years passed away from heart failure on August 24. A few days later on August 29, I received my second failing score, missing the mark by 13 points.

Third Curveball

At this point, I knew I needed time to regroup, to mourn my losses, and save money for my third attempt. But before I even had a chance to mourn or grieve, I was faced with another challenge: my husband got diagnosed with mod/severe RA bilaterally feet/hand and was told that he would not be able to continue his 17 year career in the Air Force due to his health. These life altering moments placed great burden on our family, but I used whatever money I had saved aside to retest again for my third attempt. Unfortunately, I received my third failing score on May 31st, missing it by a mere 3 points. I was so mad. So frustrated. I was ready to put the boards behind me.

But even during these toughest moments, I refused to give up. As a future, OTA, I wanted to re-evaluate my study methods and become more creative in order to attain my dream. So I scheduled to retest again for the fourth time.



If there is one advice I’d like to give, it would be: do as many practice questions to practice tolerance with sitting and time management, as well as to increase your confidence in breaking down the questions. If I can do it without a tutor with English being my second language, you can do it too! Believe in yourself and get creative with your study methods. I used my native language, Spanish, to help me dissect some terms along with taking lots of notes.

Finally, never compare yourself with others. Don’t let fear hold you back from reaching your dreams. You got this. Determination will get you there.

GOD Bless you all!
Elizabeth Babin, COTA / L