Alexandra Arpajian – UNCG Community & Therapeutic Recreation

Alexandra Arpajian – UNCG Community & Therapeutic Recreation


Hi I am Alexandra Arpajian. I’m a second-year graduate student in the community and therapeutic recreation department here at UNCG I’m originally from Pennsylvania But I lived in Greensboro for six years now, so it’s kind of home now and I have my undergraduate degree in music performance from the University of Delaware The drum to me is a really accessible instrument. I use the drum because anybody can hit a drum They don’t have to be musically inclined. They don’t have to have a rhythm. I will help them with all those things and I just think there’s some primal connection to the drum and when I use it with clients It really helps to achieve a lot of different outcomes and goals that we might have in Therapeutic recreation whether it’s learning social skills and learning how to take turns communicate problem-solve express yourself in a healthy way I just think the drum does wonders to hit all these different goals that we might have and it’s very versatile You don’t need to have a fancy Remo drum. You could have a bucket you could have your hands and your body There’s lots of different ways to adapt and modify this instrument What I love about our department is the fact that everybody works together to support each other and wants the best outcomes for all students not just on the graduate level but also undergraduate students So some of the goals that I have when I’m working with individuals with cancer is really processing So we’ll use the drum and a couple techniques that I’ll have is we’ll have a thing called drum talk where I’ll pose a question on the drum roll pose a statement a very open-ended question and it might be something like: ‘cancer is’ and then the person across from wherever that individual is posing the question on the drum will either drum back a response or the drum and talk and posing one simple question whether it’s with 8 to 12 people that one simple question can spur a 40 minute conversation of therapy and processing and listening and in that moment people are problem-solving people are supporting one another and I get to step back as the recreation therapist and watch people care and watch people be empathetic with one another and I think that’s something we need more in the world and it’s wonderful to be able to foster that and then after they leave my door after an hour they’re getting coffee together and they’re helping each other out and there’s some mentoring among the population, which is really nice When I came in I thought ‘Oh being a GA or a TA I’m gonna do whatever assignment that the professor asked me to do because that’s what I’m there to do I’m getting paid to do work for them’. But the first week the very first week of being on campus They wanted to get to know me and say well, what are your goals? What are your professional goals? What do you want to want to accomplish in these two years and I just thought wow, like you’re not just giving me mindless work to do you’re actually invested in my future and I never would have achieved half the things I’ve done in this program if it wasn’t for the wonderful mentors that I have and they’re Investing in my interests and wanting me to succeed

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