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 |

Melissa

Let’s Talk Extracurriculars!

, by Melissa

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A question we’re often asked is, “Can I work while I’m in the program?” And our answer to that is always that it depends! What we can handle varies person to person, therefore what you decide to take on while you’re in the program will depend on your preferences. That being said, our program is considered to be full-time and is enough to keep most people pretty busy!

If you do want to get involved, however, there are plenty of great opportunities to get involved on campus! Jessica, my fellow student ambassador, recently touched upon some of the professional and volunteering options you have. The organizations and clubs are diverse in what they address, and I feel like there is something for everyone out there. In addition to those options, you can also apply for a paid job within the division! The beauty of student worker positions is that they are relatively flexible, and everyone at USC is cognizant of the fact that we’re students! In addition to my student ambassador position, I’m also a student worker on one of the many research projects happening here at USC, called the Sensory Adapted Dental Environment 2 (SADE-2). I have learned so much in this position in my short time in the program, and I feel like I have a much better grasp on what a career in research entails.

Overall, my number one piece of advice for students that are wondering whether to get a job or participate in clubs/organizations is to make sure to have balance. This is something that everyone strives for and is difficult to achieve while in graduate school. Ultimately, only you know yourself best, and only you know how much you can handle, so just make sure you listen to your body! And most importantly, remember to enjoy the ride.

Evan

HSC Master Plan and Beautification Project

, by Evan

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If you’re like me, you can’t walk past a construction site without wondering what’s going up.  Here at HSC (USC Health Science Campus) there’s a lot to wonder about!  We are fortunate to be in school at a time when the university and is significantly investing in infrastructure, so I thought I’d take a moment to share with you a little about some of the projects we students walk by on a daily basis.

Street Beautification Project – in process; intended to make the campus more publicly accessible and pedestrian friendly.  Improvements include wider sidewalks for a safer environment and more usable public space, new vegetation including drought tolerant flora and 200 new trees, and undergrounding of overhead utilities.

Norris Healthcare Consultation Center – 114,000 square foot clinical building housing USC Institute of Urology, an infusion center treating both cancer and non-cancer patients, a women’s specialty care and breast imaging center, the Transplant Institute and the Outpatient Surgery Center.  Just opened in January 2018!

Hyatt House – A new 200 bed hotel with extended stay suites!  Facilities will include ground floor retail with a sit down restaurant.  Its convenient location right next to the San Pablo Parking structure and Curry Residential Complex will make it an ideal place for OT Families to stay when in town for the white coat ceremony.

And this is just the beginning.  If you’d like to learn more about the HSC master plan feel free to check it out here, and keep in mind this isn’t even inclusive of all the work being done to county owned buildings at LAC-USC hospital right next door!  LAC-USC master plan can be viewed here.  It’s an exciting time to be a student at USC.

Joyce

Having a Seat at the Table

, by Joyce

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One of the unique opportunities at USC is the Student Run Clinic, a completely student organized interdisciplinary clinic that occurs twice a month. We strive to bring about quality care for the underserved population of Los Angeles. The protocol and environment is set up for student to learn to:
- Utilize occupational therapy lens for a holistic approach to patient care
- Collaborate with disciplines from medicine, pharmacy, and physician assistant
- Advocate for the profession of occupational therapy

As the SRC Co-Executive Chair, I have the opportunity to represent the occupational therapy profession at the table. Coordinating patient care across four disciplines can get quite messy with the layers of communication and hierarchy. In order to create a smoother flow of communication, the executive board has been created where 2 students from each discipline comes together, and we brain storm ideas to maintain the occurrence of clinics and enhance the experience of them, for both the patients and the students.  Every month, we meet to discuss any issues that may have to be problem-solved. Within this past year alone, we have tackled many obstacles including patient care, research, communication, and funding.

In partnership with my co-chair peer, I can advocate for the profession of occupational therapy. Having a seat at the table is more than being physically present. When working with the underserved, it is important to be aware of the multiple compounding factors that puts them at risk for future health concerns. While patients are at our clinic, we want them to receive the best quality care in the most efficient way. While the executive board is constantly working towards making that happen, as students, I can use my occupational therapy lens, to bring forth the narrative of the patient population. OTs have the ability and skills to dig into their routines, roles, and access, specific to this population. In this manner, we are advocating for patients using our OT lens.

Most importantly, I am given the space and time to create friendships with students from these various professions! Through our friendships, we are engaging in meaningful conversations that teach one another about our professions. I truly believe that these relationships will continue beyond our time in school and well into our clinical practice years as we learn to lean on each other for collaboration and support.

Jessica P

Get Involved

, by Jessica P

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Here at USC in addition to our amazing coursework and electives, we have so many opportunities to get involved. Many of our students are involved in professional and volunteer-based organizations. Figuring out what organizations may interest you can sometimes be overwhelming, so here is a summary of the organizations our OT students are so passionate about:

DiversOT is a student organization that is aimed at increasing cultural awareness of OT students, faculty and staff through sharing culture, traditions and experiences of diverse groups within the Chan Division.

Engage is the OT House’s community outreach program which fosters relationships between USC graduate students and our surrounding community. OT students volunteer by designing and participating in recreational activities for at-risk elementary school children.

Integrative Health Association (IHA) aims to provide opportunities for students to learn about methods and evidence in Integrative Health, the integration of complementary, alternative and conventional healing methods.

Occupational Therapy and Science Council (OTSC) consists of every student in the Chan Division and has an executive board of members who work diligently to represent all interests of the student body. They create opportunities for our students to engage in philanthropic learning opportunities, to attend talks surround practice areas of interest for professional development, as well as create a sense of community amongst the Chan Division.

This image shows members of OTSC volunteering.

Members of OTSC volunteering

OTs for OuTreach builds and strengthens the sense of community for LGBTQ students and allies by providing opportunities for social engagement and professional development. OTs for OuTreach members volunteer through developing programs and implementing engaging activities for diverse, marginalized and underserved populations. This organization has previously worked with the USC LGBT Resource Center, the Los Angeles LGBT Youth Center, and the Los Angeles County Central Juvenile Hall.

Pi Theta Epsilon (PTE) is the national honor society for occupational therapy students and alumni. PTE at USC sponsors various events throughout the year to promote student scholarship, showcase student and faculty research and engage in interdisciplinary work.

The Pre-OT Club is open to all USC undergraduate students who are interested in learning more about the field of occupational therapy. The Pre-OT club hosts events such as visits to OT practice sites, opportunities to shadow practicing clinicians, networking opportunities, and advisement for the application process for the Entry-Level Master’s program.

This image shows members at a Pre-OT club meeting

Pre-OT Club members participating in a Q&A session with assistant director of admissions Amber Bennett

The USC Student-Run Clinic (SRC) delivers quality patient care to the underserved people of Los Angeles and enhances health professional education through an inter-professional, team-based approach to health care. Students from four professions (occupational therapy, medicine, pharmacy, and physician assistants) work together to assess, diagnose and optimize the patient’s health and lifestyle to suit their individualized needs.

Goeun

Time to be an International Student

, by Goeun

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I started the Post Professional Master’s program in August, but I came here in LA about one year ago (I was learning English in the USC International Academy). It’s been a while since I came here, but I remember how it was excited when you are admitted to USC, but at the same time, nervous and worried about leaving my own country, and become an international student. So, I’d like to give you some of my tips that can be helpful. Before I begin, I recommend you to be familiar with the USC Office of International Services and the USC Office of Graduate Admission websites as well as our Chan Division of Occupational Science an Occupational Therapy website as there are lots of information for international students.

1. Finding the best housing
First of all, we have OT house where our students can live together. Also, there are several options you can choose based on your preference, and the first thing you can think of is “University housing or not?” If you decide to live through university housing, check out the USC housing website to find appropriate housing for you. If you plan to live through non-university, you can find your housing with the USC Daily Trojan website or other outside resources. Also, there are options where you can live if you arrive earlier, the USC Office of International Services has some options for early arrivers.

In my own experience, I lived in university housing for 11 months, then I moved to non-university housing recently. What I liked about university housing most was accessibility to campus. I lived close to the International Academy, so I could walk to school. When it comes to non-university housing, I live in Korea town, so I need to take a metro and school shuttle to go to school, but I like living here because I can go to Korean restaurants or markets which I go often. Finding a housing is not an easy process, and it is slightly different depends on where you live.

2. What should I pack?
It is hard to say what to pack or not because it is totally up to you. But considering about living in LA, there are some things that you need to know. The weather in LA is mostly sunny and mild, so you may not wear winter clothes often although it’s quite cold at night (for me). Also, never forget to bring all your documents that are important (e.g. academic documents, I-20, health and immunization records).

3. Living in LA
Some of my classmates from the Post-Professional Master’s Program told me that one of the reasons they chose USC was the location, which I agree since there are so many things to explore. Yes, our school is located in LA, which means you can have a variety of experiences that you’ve never done in your own country. We have USC event calendar which you can see all the events. Also, you can simply find more information on other websites and explore what you want.

4. English
What I felt when I got my IELTS score was that I got enough score, so no need to study harder! However, if you are living in a non-English speaking country, and not used to using English, I do highly recommend you to keep using and practicing English because when it comes to language, even if you got a very high score on exam, when you stop using it, it will become harder to use it as before. Also, you need to adapt to school, lectures as well as new cultures, environments, and if you are comfortable using English, you’ll adapt faster.

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