Reaching a career goal has its challenges, but Go-Getters know how to face these challenges head on. Occupational Therapy (OT) alum, Elias Fraija ‘21, was determined to fight for his passion. Through perseverance and resilience, he made it happen.
After beginning his career as an audio/visual technician working at Apple; Elias realized he wanted to pursue a career that allowed him to connect with people while combining his interests for health, wellness, and technology. He decided that a career in occupational therapy was going to be a perfect fit.
Elias had previously earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. When he applied at other schools for an occupational therapy master’s program, he was told he did not have the required prerequisites to get accepted. He was determined to make it happen, so he began earning observation hours and taking courses to complete those missing requirements. He continued applying with disappointing results, but he persisted every year.
He noticed that Pace was launching a new OT program and was recruiting its first cohort of students. “I saw it as a sign to take another chance and apply to the program. I felt that all those rejections led me to this opportunity, and it was meant to be my future,” he said. While the many disappointments may have discouraged someone else, it only made him more determined.
Elias’ cohort had the unique experience of being the pioneers of the Pace OT program, in addition to surmounting the obstacles brought on by COVID-19 and adjusting to remote learning. “Pace and the pandemic taught me how to think outside the box. Understand how something is typically done and find a way to be creative and achieve results,” said Elias. His studies in psychology provided a foundation that allowed him better navigate interactions with patients and his technology experience helped him to quickly learn and understand virtual assistant technologies.
“Pace and the pandemic taught me how to think outside the box. Understand how something is typically done and find a way to be creative and achieve results.”
As Elias continues to gain experience in the field, his resolve to find a program that fits his career goals has been rewarding. He is employed at an outpatient clinic, New York Hand Therapy (NYHT) in Park Slope, with a new goal to become a certified hand therapist. He thanks Pace and NYHT for the education, mentorship, and guidance throughout his journey. “Pace taught me to accept new challenges, be an evidence-based practitioner, and that learning never stops as a healthcare provider,” he said. Elias faced his challenges and as a Go-Getter, he continues to conquer them!