Student Ambassador Blog | Bryan
Dec 1, 2017, by Bryan
I thought this post might be useful for anyone considering applying/attending USC who lives outside the LA area! I currently live in Redondo Beach and driving to campus is definitely taxing. It takes a little over an hour each way and there are plenty of cohort members who commute all the way from the OC! For those who are looking for some alternative and cheaper forms of transportation/parking, here are a few.
1. Metrolink Trains. A number of my cohort members take this train from Fullerton/Irvine/OC area and it is a great option! The train has seats to sit on and study or sleep and also travels straight to Union Station, from which you can board a USC shuttle to take you to Health Science Campus. The downside with these trains is that the departure times are pretty limited so you will probably have to wake up pretty early and leave campus by specific times.
2. Metro Bus. I personally take the silver line 910/950 which goes straight from Gardena area/91 fwy entrance in the South Bay all the way to LA+USC Hospital which is close to the Health Science Campus! The commute consists of just one bus and takes about 1hr~ to get to HSC. A major benefit is that the Tap Card bus pass (which works for all other Metro lines as well!) is 107$/semester. You can purchase a Tap Card online through USC and pick up the sticker on HSC campus.
If you do end up driving and are looking for other potential parking options, there is metered parking available on campus that expire in 4 hour intervals (1$/hr) as well as free parking available on Valley Street right next to campus, across the train tracks. If you search “Lincoln Park” into your maps app, you can find free street parking around that area. Finding street parking along Valley gets tough, however, so definitely give yourself some time to find a spot and walk to class.
Hope this makes your commuting lives a little easier!
Nov 21, 2017, by Bryan
More than the food, football, and even times with family, I love Thanksgiving because it forces me for at least one day to stop complaining (“Omg Adult Rehabilitation is so tiring…”) and try to focus on expressing gratitude. So, here are a few things I am thankful for in relation to OT and my time here at USC:
1. Cohort B. Wow, it is an understatement to say that all my classmates at OT school, especially my cohort, are some of the best people I have had the opportunity to work with. I am especially grateful for cohort B because with the grind of the semester, they definitely see the worst of me. Whenever I am tired or grumpy or just over having to write short term and long term goals for ADLs, my cohort members consistently great me with a smile or ask me how I am doing. It has been a very unique and uplifting experience to feel so cared for throughout the rigors of balancing graduate school and life.
2. Eric Cohen Student Health Center Free Coffee. I was honestly thinking about making this #1. Free coffee from Eric Cohen Student Health Center is the lifeblood of this program for me.
3. Fieldwork educators and experiences. I have been really lucky with some great fieldwork placements throughout the program (inpatient rehabilitation facility for adult rehabilitation, pediatrics acute inpatient rehabilitation, and clubhouse setting for adults with developmental disabilities). At all three sites I had great clinical instructors/supervisors who challenged me as a clinician and helped me grow in applying what I learned in class into practice. I grew in the skills of building interpersonal relationships and establishing rapport with clients and their families. I learned how to study and come prepared to fieldwork the next day only to have all my plans thrown out the window and need to adapt to an entirely new situation and circumstances.
4. Student Ambassadors. Last but not least, it has been a great privilege to be part of the Student Ambassador team this year. I honestly thought the position would be a really tough time commitment throughout the semester, but I am surprised how fun it has been giving tours and information sessions as well as presentations to prospective students. I realized how much I enjoy getting to know other people and seeing their own discovery of OT grow. It has also been so fun working with my fellow Ambassadors! It is difficult to see friends in different cohorts, so I am grateful we get to work together.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Nov 13, 2017, by Bryan
Maybe it is a mixture of interacting with older patients at fieldwork, dinner with my grandma for my birthday, or slowly realizing that OT school will be over in another semester, but I have been reflecting a lot on where I am going.
I know, a scary topic for us all.
From early on, my career goals were clear: find a job that provides financial stability. It is interesting how much of this mentality has shaped me today, and while I am really grateful for it, the older I get, the more I realize the importance of doing what I love. I remember receiving a card when I graduated undergrad from my cousin who was busy working on Wall Street. He is also the son of immigrant parents so can attest to a similar lived experience. I opened the card and immediately looked for the cash gift I expected. Nothing. What the heck. Should I even read the card? I was torn!
Upon reading the contents, however, I was even more surprised to reread advice I never really seemed to take seriously: follow what you are passionate about because that is what you will work hardest to be the best at. From that point forward came the discovery of purposeful paths, whether that meant running into a dead end, detour signs, or trudging through the side-brush to find another road entirely.
What am I most passionate about?
While the A+ answer might be Occupational Therapy(!), I think my greatest passion is to get to know people and help wherever I can. My career trajectory till now captures my own efforts to crystallize this very meta passion into a 9-5. I ran the 100000000m sprinting marathon of pre-med coursework believing that doctoring was the one and truest synonym for “helping others”. I utilized the beauty of storytelling to assist people find and purchase services or products that they might really need through marketing. My heart was the same all along and OT seemed like a perfect fit for it going forward.
I guess the question for you is what are you most passionate about? Does OT help you fulfill those passions? And if it does not, that is totally okay, there is so much purpose in exploring.
Oct 20, 2017, by Bryan
This semester feels like the culmination of my graduate school study skills. Speeding towards my own head-on collision with our midterm next week, I wanted to take a minute and share a few tips for getting the most out of the Adult Rehabilitation immersion course (though most of these can be applied to any course in our program).
1.Talk to faculty. Whoever you receive as your instructor for the Adult Rehabilitation Immersion is a well of knowledge and wisdom. Talk to them and ask them to explain their reasoning and thought processes (i.e. ask Jane for more stories!). It is so helpful to paint a broader picture of how varied the specific injury or diagnoses might present itself in practice and the intervention/treatment ideas for each case scenario.
2.Pay attention in lecture. While this sounds like common sense, lecture proved to be particularly important for me not necessarily in order to be exposed to the material for class, but to better understand how to use the information in our reading to treat patients. Building upon tip #1, the greatest thing about lecture is learning the faculty’s clinical reasoning and what observations they might expect from the patient when they hear the diagnosis of a C7 full spinal cord injury or stage 2 edema on the upper extremity. Understanding the information is just part of our job as clinicians, we must also know how to choose appropriate and attainable goals as well as treatment plan the “just right challenge” for our clients based upon a chart review and evaluation. Listening and asking the simple question, “what would you do and why would you do that?” helps prepare our own reasoning skills as students and future clinicians.
3.Study consistently. I was less-than-half-probably-zero-percent-joking in my title because most of my time is actually devoted to threading through the dense material for the immersion. Amidst a jam-packed schedule, it has been an important habit to spend some time each day reviewing hip precautions and how to perform sensation testing because it takes a lot of practice and exposure to wrestle through and understand the “why” behind these procedures and information.
4.Practice at fieldwork. This tip totally depends on where you are placed! I am currently at an inpatient rehabilitation unit and I have the opportunity to see most of what we talk about in class during my fieldwork day. But regardless of setting, make sure to ask questions and take initiative in practicing treatment planning and task analysis of ADLs with your CI and patients. I think something to keep in mind is to remember that you will be working with these same patients in Level 2 FW and post-graduation, so continuously be working on bedside manner and interpersonal communication.
I hope these tips help put some perspective on this immersion! Being dropped into all the information that comes with it. Study hard and enjoy the process!
Sep 28, 2017, by Bryan
I never liked kids. Maybe it was growing up as an only child, or not liking loud noises or when things get too messy (sensory sensitivities…), I always distanced myself from having to interact with a child more than a quick smile or wave.
With that said, this past summer I spent my 12 weeks getting to know and treating children ages 4-11 at Stepping Stones Therapy Network, a pediatrics clinic in Seattle, WA. I took advantage of the out-of-area fieldwork request and took the opportunity to work in one of my favorite cities.
While I am planning to elaborate more on the process of securing an out-of-area level 2 placement and tips throughout the process in a future post, I wanted to share a few ways in which I grew as a clinician, student, and person after completing my Level 2 FW.
1.I was so prepared! I cannot stress this enough. If you put in the work throughout the semester to learn the material and listen to faculty’s tips and tricks from their own practice, you will be ready for all that comes with Level 2 FW. The hardest part about Level 2 was not the clinical reasoning needed to observe and assess a client from the multitude of OT models of practice (Sensory Integration, Biomechanical, etc.), rather the ins and outs of learning how the clinic operates and becoming more proficient with administering and scoring assessments. One of the major encouragements my clinical instructors gave me was regarding my documentation skills which I directly attributed to the fact that I was taught the OT lens in class through the case studies we discussed and from faculty’s own stories and reflections.
2. The learning does not stop. Even though I had no examinations or quizzes to study for, I spent each evening looking up treatment ideas for my clients the next day, documenting on the clients I saw that day, watching YouTube videos of BOT 2 administration for my evaluation later that week, reviewing Handwriting Without Tears, all the while trying to learn the names of Ninjago characters to better connect with the kids. Fieldwork is definitely full time!
3. I learned to have a BLAST on the weekends! The good thing about fieldwork is that you do not have to feel the dull (sometimes sharp) pressure of an upcoming exam that impedes your ability to just hang out and chill. I went on a lot of fun hikes and really explored Seattle which only helped me focus and perform better when I was at fieldwork during the week! I loved having a routine throughout the week: working, gym, meal prep, treatment planning, reading, and enjoying the city and friends I had during the weekends.
4. Make it a priority to build a relationship with your clinical instructors and coworkers. I guess this point was easy for me this summer because I was truly blessed with amazing CIs and coworkers who were not only skilled OTs, but also mindful instructors, carefully pacing my growth as a student and clinician. I wanted to be intentional with asking them about treatment ideas and career advice moving forward. What steps should I take to go into inpatient pediatrics? What do you like about working at a peds clinic? What certifications should I pursue?
Seattle summer weather is unreal…