University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Redesigning Lives Globally
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Student Blog


Time Flies! →

Jan 21, 2015, by Kristy · email · Leave a comment

It seems as if I just started the program yesterday, but here we are in the final semester preparing for the comprehensive exam, graduation, fieldwork, and then the national board exam! Woah!  But before I get to all that, first I get to enjoy my final semester as a Master’s student by taking electives! This is one of the unique things that USC has to offer because this is our chance to “specialize” within a “generalist” degree.  What does that really mean?  We get to pick additional coursework to take based on our interested area of practice, so we could “specialize” in pediatrics, wellness, rehabilitation, etc.  One week in, I am very happy with the elective options I have chosen because it is really information that I want to know more about and find myself very engaged in the reading and can relate it to future practice. 

But one course I am taking is actually a course I more or less made up myself! We are given the opportunity to complete an Independent Study or Independent Directed Research.  I have mentioned in my previous blogs about a project I started last summer while I was in my Level II Fieldwork at a community based mental health wellness center.  During my time there, the site identified a need for a group intervention for adults with ADHD.  So I hit the ground running, researching different interventions that are currently out there and nothing seemed to fit just right, so I made my own.  Throughout the summer, I spent time writing, rewriting, researching, reading, and presenting all the material I had found, and by the end I had the first draft of a facilitator and participant manual for a group intervention for Adults with ADHD on time management and organization skills.  I would not have been so successful if it hadn’t been for the mentorship of the faculty at USC who guided me through the process and encouraged me to further develop the program during my fall course “Occupation-Centered Programs for the Community.” During this time, I revised the manual again and continued to research what was currently out there.  I even had the opportunity to attend a conference by the Allen Cognitive Network where they highlighted some current interventions in time management.  So this leads me to my independent study!  I will continue the development and revisions of the manuals as well as be presenting at the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC) Spring Symposium.  I am so excited to pursue this opportunity and feel so lucky to have a program and Division that supports me in my interests and academic pursuits!  Occupational therapy is a broad, diverse field that has many niches so there are constantly opportunities to pursue a passion of yours that you didn’t even know existed! Follow your passion smile


Giving Back, Looking Forward, Enjoying the Present →

Jan 19, 2015, by Jonathan · email · Leave a comment

Greetings everyone! Hope you all had an amazing holiday season and have gotten 2015 started on the right note! As for me,  my break went by super fast… but I guess that’s how you know it was time well spent! I did choose to stay local over the break, since I had a bunch of family and friends in town, but it was nice to just be home and relax/recharge in preparation for what will be my final semester in the master’s program!

With that said, I am feeling rejuvenated to finish off this last semester strong mainly because I got to engage in some of my favorite occupations over the break, such as hiking, running, playing music, and of course hanging with my friends and family. In addition, I also had the opportunity to experience some pretty amazing moments over break. My 9 month old nephew took his first steps! I like to think (emphasis on like to think) that I may have had something to do with his developmental milestone, since he was pretty much my practice subject for all that I was learning in the pediatrics immersion LOL I also had the opportunity to see Conan O’ Brien (who I happen to think is the funniest man on the planet) at one of his TV show tapings, courtesy of my friend Brian, who’s also in the program.

Lastly, one of the most heartfelt moments of the break was when I had the opportunity to deliver donated toys to some children who needed it the most. Every year during the holiday season, my sisters and I have a tradition of donating toys to the children of Los Angeles County USC hospital. This year, as the USC Occupational Therapy and Science Council Philanthropy Chair, I chose to open up this donation project to the faculty, staff, and my fellow students of the program. The donation project was also expanded to benefit the children of the VIP (Violence Intervention Program,) a wellness center down the street from our campus that provides support and advocacy services for children who are victims of abuse, neglect, domestic violence, sexual assault, and children who are placed in the foster-care system.  The response was nothing short of amazing! As I was putting the toys together, I could not help but be overcome with joy because my colleagues, teachers, and co-workers’ generosity served as a reminder of what the holiday season is truly about: spreading a positive impact to bring joy into the lives of others. All together, we collected over 100 toys that were donated to the well deserving children of the Violence Intervention Program, creating some priceless holiday memories for these families. Here’s a snapshot of the donations!

VIP Donations

Shoutout to the person who donated the doggy! Ha I kidd, that’s my dogggg.

As I embark on my final semester of the program, please tune in for more blog updates from my fellow ambassadors and I! There’s a lot to look forward to this semester, including electives, OT month, my leadership capstone externship in the Philippines, and of course, graduation! As for now though, I will enjoy the ride while I can, and I’ll be sure to document these experiences so that way you’re riding shotgun with me cool smile

Until next time,
- Jonathan


Spring Semester →

Jan 12, 2015, by Leila · email · Leave a comment

Today is the first day back to school after a much needed 4 week break! With a new year in place, my mind and body is refreshed and ready to conquer the last semester. This semester is different from the rest because we are able to choose electives! Part of our curriculum is that we are required to take 12 units of electives, but we aren’t able to do so until our last spring semester. Many of us look forward to this semester because we have the opportunity to select specialty practice/topic courses of our choice! Whether it’s building your motivational interviewing skills, gaining a better understanding of dysphagia through the lifespan, or delving deeper into Sensory Integration Theory, there are many classes to choose from. During this semester, you also have the opportunity to take other electives to gain more clinical experience, participate in a research project or take a class outside the OT division. It’s really a great opportunity for us as occupational therapy students to gain more knowledge and expertise on areas of our interest.

This semester also includes a Leadership Capstone class, where we learn how to be leaders in our profession! Like I mentioned in my last blog, this class includes a 2 week leadership externship where we go to different sites to learn and showcase our leadership skills. This is a personalized experience for each student and the opportunities out there are vast! Over the break, I finalized my decision to go to Costa Rica and will be joining 6 other students! A group of seven of us will be split into two groups where we will be placed in two projects: either volunteering at an orphanage or with a street children project. We will be leaving March 1st, which is fast approaching! I’m extremely excited about this opportunity and look forward to the experience. As you can see, the spring semester is quite the change from our previous semesters. Both exciting and challenging!

During my winter break I didn’t do much but enjoy the time off to relax and engage in my favorite occupations. smile Here is a collage of photos from my relaxing break!


Winter Break! →

Dec 17, 2014, by Leila · email · Leave a comment

Last week was our final week of the Fall Semester, and as exciting as it is to be one more semester closer to graduation it is also a little sad. As 2nd year students, we have now completed our final immersion in our cohorts. The Entry-Level Master’s program focuses on three different immersions: mental health, pediatrics, and adult physical rehabilitation. During our first summer semester we were split into cohorts (A, B or C). My final immersion was in pediatrics, which meant it was also my last class with cohort A-mazing. smile It has been a great experience getting to know the great individuals in my cohort and see them grow. I know our immersions and complementary classes have done a great job thus far in preparing us to become amazing occupational therapists.




Next semester will be our final semester of classes. We will have the opportunity to take electives of our choice, as well as participate in a Leadership Externship. All 2nd year students will complete the externship in their final semester as part of the Leadership Capstone course. The externship is a two-week experience where students have the opportunity to build on their leadership skills. Students are responsible for finding and coordinating these externships. The places that you can choose to go to are diverse! I’m planning to complete my externship in a Spanish speaking country- possibly Costa Rica or Peru! I’m beyond excited and I can’t wait to share with you all about this amazing opportunity. Until then I will be enjoying my four-week winter break!



We love our cohorts! →

Dec 17, 2014, by Claire · email · Leave a comment

Third semester of the Master’s program.. check! Only one more semester to go before commencement!

The first three semesters of the Entry-Level Master’s program focus on three different immersions: mental health, pediatrics, and adult physical rehabilitation. Our entire Master’s class rotated through these immersions in smaller groups, called cohorts (A, B, C).

This semester was our last rotation—adult rehabilitation (as you may have gathered from my previous posts). Last Friday, our last final also meant that it was our last time as a cohort. SEPARATION ANXIETIES.

Coming in as a Bachelor’s-to-Master’s student, I met everyone in the fall semester. I learned so much from everyone in my cohort and loved working with each person! Our cohort Facebook group included SOAP note samples, cute baby videos, and much more! From potlucks to group google docs, these people are seriously the best.

Here are some pictures from our Cohort B(est)! And feel free to check out some other cohort pictures here on OTSC’s Facebook page.

This was us in our first semester together, mental health immersion!

And this is us just last week, at our post-finals celebration!

PC: Caitlin Ito!

Cohort Buddies forever!

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