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Pursuing passion and empowering others in occupational therapy and elite cycling

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Meet Darcie, a driven and ambitious fourth-year occupational therapy student pursuing Honours at Curtin. Despite her busy schedule, Darcie is also a competitive cyclist, a passion she balances with the Elite Athlete Program. Last year, she competed in a race in Germany and this year she will be racing in Italy, supported by the program.

Darcie’s journey to occupational therapy wasn’t straightforward. She had initially considered architecture and sports teaching. Still, she found occupational therapy offered the broadest range of opportunities, allowing her to specialise and potentially pursue a teaching career later on.

“I wanted a degree that’s creative and is working with people. And occupational therapy is such a broad topic. It’s such a broad study area, and there are so many pathways you can go down.”

Darcie considers occupational therapy a fulfilling profession that embodies her values and loves how she is able to assist others through her degree. She discovered that the extensive field of study grants her the opportunity to express her creativity and engage with individuals in a meaningful manner. She feels a strong affinity towards those who also pursue OT as their chosen path and values that OT allows her to help people do things they need to do in their everyday lives. She has already completed her first placement at Charles Gardner Hospital in the hand and upper limb clinic and has two two-month block placements to go.

When it comes to balance and lifestyle, she says balancing academics, sport and work has been a learning curve. She advises new students not to be too hard on themselves, to ask for help when needed and not to compare themselves with others, as everyone’s limit for stress and workload is different. Darcie also expressed the importance of taking time and not rushing through a degree to absorb what one learns. She says balance and self-care is valuable for all students embarking on their paths.

“Don’t be too hard on yourself. Personal care is also so important. And, if you’re struggling, it’s okay to ask for help and there will be people to support you.”

Darcie developed a passion for professional cycling after experiencing disappointment in not making the national soccer team. Exploring track cycling as an alternative, she embarked on a rigorous training journey and quickly developed a deep affection for road cycling. Darcie is particularly motivated by the progress of women’s sports. Her aspiration is to make a meaningful impact on women’s sports and witness more women achieving success in this realm.

Darcie learned about Curtin Elite Athlete Program through word of mouth. She knew that she needed the program’s support to complete her degree. The program’s gym membership and support during her travels for national events have been invaluable.

“It was very cool! Meeting like-minded people that are doing the same thing as you, so it means that you don’t feel so alone at all.”

Darcie enjoys helping others and finding fulfilment through her course, and she embraces the broad opportunities that occupational therapy offers. Darcie actively strives to break barriers and create positive change by passionately aiming to impact women’s sports and promote greater success for women.

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