Prospective students are often nervous about the fact that USC’s program is relatively larger than other OT programs. Each class has about 120-130 students, so students might be worried about getting “lost in the shuffle.” However the great thing about the program is that students are divided into three cohorts, with about 40-45 students in each one. Your cohort is the group of people you’ll be taking most of your classes with, so class sizes remain more intimate. For lab sections, your cohort is divided in half, so there will only be 20-25 students in each lab, so you can get more hands on experience.
You’ll become pretty close with your cohort, since you take most of your classes with one another. Some cohorts will plan outings together and share resources with one another. Some of the fun things we’ve done as a cohort: go out to dinner, happy hour, hiking, attend a Dodgers game, and celebrate the holidays with a white elephant party!
This past week was our last class together as a cohort. For our last semester, we will all be taking elective courses of our choosing, so everyone will be split up into different classes. In rememberance of my awesome cohort, here are some photos of Cohort A!
Our first year together
Our last class together
For my last lab in the adult rehabilitation course, my classmates and I had the opportunity to cook using adaptive equipment. Not only was this lab delicious, but it was also educational!
Sometimes, individuals can have difficulty completing cooking and feeding tasks after an injury. However, this does not mean they are not capable of cooking or feeding. Adaptive equipment gives individuals the opportunity to cook and feed independently.
In this picture, my classmates, Vanessa and Jamie, are using a rocker knife to cut mushrooms. Rocker knifes are especially effective for individuals that only have use of one arm. Rocker knifes use a rocking motion instead of a back-and-forth motion so that they are able to cut with one hand!
In this picture, my classmates Shannon, Annie, and Amy are stirring pancake batter in a bowl holder. This device anchors the bowl so that someone with limited strength, in-coordination, or is only able to use one arm can meal prep in a bowl!
Even little things you may not notice can help individuals with a disability cook or feed. Our white countertops are not only stylish, but also have a purpose. People with low vision can have difficulty detecting items; so having a surface that provides high contrast and no patterns is helpful. Even the height of the counter is important. Having a counter that is at waist level is useful for people that use a wheelchair so they can work at an appropriate height.
All of these devices and modifications are just the tip of the iceberg. Having a disability does not mean you cannot do something, and as occupational therapists, we should support independence for our clients!
Currently, I am taking OT 537: Occupation-Centered Programs for the Community! Specifically, this class is about finding a need within the community and developing a program to address it. With this purpose, you become familiar with the process of planning and evaluating a program, proposal writing, and addressing a prevalent health need. With an understanding and love for meaningful occupation, what better way to apply this knowledge and passion than to build and cultivate a program design! My classmate, Lauren, and I both have a strong interest in health promotion and wellness!
With this interest, we decided to research and develop a program within the workplace to address busy professionals with or at risk for developing hypertension. Our purpose was to educate and collaborate with this population in how to self-manage their health needs, incorporate healthy lifestyle habits into their daily routines, and engage in purposeful, occupation-based activities.
In addition, if you would like to learn more about the other courses offered within in the entry-level Master’s program, I highly encourage you to do so
A lot of times, prospective students ask me what it’s like to be in such a large class. Comparatively, USC has one of the largest programs in the country. Does everyone just go home after school? Will I really make lasting friendships here? Will I really be friends with everyone?
To that I say, we are all one big, happy Trojan family.
With Thanksgiving in the books and the holiday season fast approaching, I wanted to share a glimpse of what being part of the Trojan family looks like.
This week, our entire class came together to throw a huge OT holiday potluck. Large gatherings like this are not out of the ordinary. We all love to be in each other’s company and while Thanksgiving just past, I can honestly say for this year, I am thankful for all the friendships I’ve made with my peers and professors.
With finals week quickly approaching, stress levels have been running a little higher than usual. But as OTs, we have a few tricks up our sleeves to stay relaxed. Here’s a list of some of my stress-free strategies:
- Make a schedule. Fit in time for your work and play and rest and sleep, in the words of Adolf Meyer.
- Study with friends. As long as you stay focused most of the time, collaborating with classmates is a great way to review for finals. Explaining the material to someone else will help you remember it more than simply reading the facts by yourself. A few momentary distractions make the process more fun anyway.
- Don’t forget about exercise! Taking a study break to fit in a workout video or a quick jog can. You can even stay in shape without leaving your desk.
- Light a scented candle to create the perfect study environment. Or splurge for some essential oils for the ultimate aromatherapy experience.
- Treat yourself with a hot cup of tea (or coffee, if you need that caffeine fix). It will get you excited about the cozy relaxation awaiting you over winter break.
- Change up your study spot. Escape the walls of your room and try out a hidden café or tranquil library or delightful park.
- Call home. Sometimes, I just need to talk to Mom or Dad. Talk to that person who helps you stay calm, gives you a reason to laugh, and boosts your confidence no matter what chaos you may be facing.