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

Mari

Looking Back: 2nd Year → Graduation!

, by Mari

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2nd Year of OT school!

There is so much that I could talk about within the last few weeks, let alone, my whole second year! I can’t believe that’s it’s already time to graduate! Have you ever felt that you had so many things to do and just not enough time to do it all?! I imagine many people can relate. That’s how I felt for the last month of this past semester. Not only was I trying to keep up with my weekly school work, I was preparing to take our comprehensive exam at the end of the year and thinking about my summer fieldwork, which I will be going to Hawaii (my home) for. Just a few weeks ago, I was wondering how I would ever get it all done, and now, I will be graduating! The comp exam, which covers all our second year material and is required to pass in order to graduate, is finally done—what a relief! Although I was really nervous for it, as I am with any exam, I felt assured that I had learned all the material once before, so I should do well. To find out that I passed was the last thing before graduation! Tomorrow, we will be graduating as the USC OT Class of 2010!! We’re making history! Next for me is my last level II fieldwork, which will be on the outpatient service at a hospital in Hawaii where I’m from. I’m so excited to be moving home! It’s really weird because I’ve been in California for a while, but I think I’m about ready to move on to this next chapter in my life! Looking back on my second year, there are so many things that happened, it’s hard to capture it all in one blog. I will post a few pictures of some of my favorite memories!

In November, last fall, I had the opportunity to attend the AOTA Student Conclave, which was held in Baltimore. I travelled with Grace, a fellow OT student and along with going to to conference, visited friends, toured D.C., and lobbied on Capital Hill Day at Senator Boxer’s office (see picture below). It was a lot of fun and a good break before the semester finished. I enjoyed spending time with my classmates outside of class and getting connected with the OT community. It was a great experience and I highly recommend it if you get the opportunity to go to something like that!

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Another fun break toward the end of the fall semester was going to my very first and only USC football game! It was so much fun to hang out with friends and have the “real” USC experience! I was able to go to the USC v. UCLA game, and we won!! It was a great end to the semester, even though the football team didn’t do as great as they usually have done in the past! I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go to another USC football game, although USC does play UH (University of Hawaii) at Hawaii in their season opener next season! So, we’ll see!

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Throughout the whole second year, as you probably already know, I was a student ambassador for our department, along with Sarah, Michelle, Myka, and Gus. It was truly a great experience for me to work close with our recruitment office. We were all able to do grad fairs, information sessions, recruitment for our Occupational Science minor classes, tabling events at the main USC campus, and many more fun events to promote OT! Having the opportunity to do this has made me even more passionate about my profession! It gets me so excited to talk to others about what OTs do because of the great services that OTs can offer almost everyone! Besides work, it was a great time to get to know the other ambassadors and we have really become a lot closer through our experiences together!

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And finally, OT banquet! What a beautiful way to end the semester, year, and OT program—yummy food, great people, fun music and dancing!! Although not everyone in our class could attend, it was a fun night to get together and just relax after our comp exam! We only talked about the exam a little, but we were able to fully enjoy the night anyway, despite not knowing if we had passed yet!

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Thank you for reading our blogs! I know the ambassadors next year will do an amazing job to continue what we have been doing! I hope you’ve enjoyed it! =)

Sarah

OT PROM

, by Sarah

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Maintaining wellness results from a good balance of work, rest, and play so I’m getting a good amount of play before my last fieldwork starts!!!

OT Prom

Gustalvo

It all winds down…

, by Gustalvo

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So, I’ve passed my comprehensive exam (i.e. comps), I’ve recently come back from AOTA’s 90th National Conference in Florida, and I am looking forward to one more fieldwork this summer… I feel pretty satisfied with myself right now grin

These last couple of weeks have been intense with papers, exams, and comps. But I survived, and part of what has helped me is reading and playing music… I’ve been able to squeeze in some leisurely reading (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), play some gigs with my mariachi ensemble, and jam on my own. Speaking of playing gigs, the mariachi that I’m in, Mariachi Sur de California, recently played a few gig on 5 de Mayo one of which was really fun; Los Angeles Southwest College put on a 5 de Mayo event on their campus for local elementary school children. The band had never had a crowd that was so in to the music, just about everyone stood up; children clapped, people sang… it was the most gratified I’ve ever felt at a gig. Also, we played at a church for Mother’s Day; that too went very well. It feels good to be playing and engaging in one of my most favorite occupations.

I also like to record on my free time, but lately I haven’t been able to and so I just jam on my own and I keep practicing snippets of ideas that I come up with so that I can record them over the summer when I have some time.

I can’t wait to get to get this summer started; you could say that I’m about to embark on my dream fieldwork experience. I’m interested in going in to the field of mental health, preferably in community mental health settings, but I also am interested in phys-dys. So, long ago when I was picking out my top ten choices for this summer’s fieldwork I spoke with Jaynee, our Fieldwork Coordinator, about what I wanted and she really helped me out in finding locations to pick from; she brought up transitional living centers (TLC’s). I was excited about this for I had observed a TLC during one of my earlier rotations. A TLC basically helps individuals that have come out of inpatient acute rehab to reintegrate themselves back in to their communities. It involves facilitating how to get around, going grocery shopping, and helping them organize their day so that they may be independent among other things. To me it’s the perfect balance between the two worlds I want to combine, though mental health is and can be applied in any setting at any moment, I think the TLC will be a great fit for me!

OH! also, about a week ago I went to AOTA’s national conference in Orlando! It was a great experience. There was a workshop that caught my attention which I’m glad it did; “Engaging Marginalized Populations Through Qualitative Research”.  This was one of the the most up was one of the most interesting workshops I attended. It touched about understanding the experience of marginalized populations, and how these experiences influence their occupational choices and participation. There were three speakers each touching upon the experiences of the the undocumented in the US, people suffering from obesity, and women who have just come out of incarceration. Learning of how stigmas influences these populations occupational choices and participation was very eye opening to me and has further encouraged my desire to do research in the future. The Q&A afterward was very engaging as well. I think the main take home message was that as OT’s we need to advocate for populations that are suffering from occupational injustices**. That in addition to advocating for our profession we must also prioritize advocating for populations in need of occupational therapy and break the borders that currently create this schism between OT and underserved populations! It was a very exciting, uplifting, and refreshing workshop to say the least… and it was very unfortunate to see that so few people attended!

This conference was significant not only because it was my first, but also because Dr. Florence Clarck was inaugurated as AOTA’s president! Congratulations Dr. Clark!

Anyway, I’m “walking” this Friday and I’m very excited, but also a little stressed since my cap & gown have yet to arrive!!! But I’m sure all will be fine, as everything always does!!

**Occupational justice= the concept that, to develop and thrive, humans are beings that need and want to participate in occupations. So, when there’s an occupational injustice due to a disability or environment, the focus is to enable these populations/individuals to access opportunities and resouces so that they may develop and thrive.

Sarah

That was fast!

, by Sarah

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Only 3 more days to go!!! Happy belated Stress Management Day! To celebrate, we had a couple activities (aroma therapy, crafts, Japanese tea ceremony, breathing workshops and my favorite activity…snacking…on healthy snacks of course) on the main campus yesterday to help students de-stress before finals. If you’re on main campus next semester, make sure to check us out the week before finals! Good luck on finals everyone, and HAPPY OT MONTH!

A helpful study tip!

Myka

MS Walk

, by Myka

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I had a great time walking in the MS walk with other students and clients from my Optimal Living with MS class.

This semester, I’ve been taking a class with clients with Multiple Sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. Many of these people have difficulties doing what they want and need to do, and often have fatigue and weakness. This is a 12-week course run by the MS Society, and participants come to USC and work with OT students in the morning, and PT students in the afternoon. We led groups for them such as Roles and Identity, Meaningful Activities, Adaptive Equipment, Energy Conservation, Stress Management, and Time Management, among others. I led the group on Advocacy and Assertiveness, which was really fun! A neat part of the class was the opportunity to meet with PT students who are also taking the class, and get to talk to them about what OT does for this population.

We just finished the class, and all of the participants shared their feelings about the experience. Nearly all of them stated that they came to the class to receive physical therapy, and didn’t even know what occupational therapy was! However, over the course of the twelve weeks, they came to really appreciate the unique role of OT in their illness management and health optimization. We look further than the body—we look at the desires, wishes, and struggles of the individual. We look at the psychosocial aspect of living with MS and dealing with functional limitations and loss of meaningful roles and activities. I learned a lot from the participants as they shared the lived experience of MS and I understood that MS does not define these people. As the participant I worked with stated, “I have MS, MS doesn’t have me!”

I was able to attend the Los Angeles MS Walk last weekend at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. Most of the students in my class went, and one of our participants was there as well. It was a great experience to see so many people come together for a cause about which they were passionate. As I tried to raise money for the walk, I met more and more people whose families had been affected by the disease. The walk signified hope, not despair, as people celebrated together to raise money to research for a cure to MS.

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