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 | Evan

Evan

PLAY

, by Evan

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School is really the focus of my family at the moment.  As I begin the last year of my master’s program my son is beginning his first year of preschool.  We both get dressed in the morning, have some cereal together, and make our way to class.  What we do there, however, is a little bit different.  While I spend most of my day engaged in lively discussion with professors and collaboration with student colleagues, his main occupation at school is play - and this is just as it should be.  Fred Rogers once said “play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning.  But for children, play is serious learning.  Play is really the work of childhood.”  To my knowledge Mr. Rogers wasn’t an OT, but with this statement he sure sounds like one!  I love the sentiment, and am filled with gratitude when I consider what the occupation of play still brings to my life even though my own childhood is firmly in the rearview mirror.  Whether playing with trains on the floor when I get home from work, “racing” to see who can put their shoes on faster, or playing the “quiet game” at church, I relish the opportunity to be pulled into the moment by my son’s insatiable appetite for play and am often impressed with how functional it can be for us both.  Dr. Kingsley, my pediatric immersion professor, always encouraged us to frame therapeutic interventions into the context of play and now it’s easy for me to understand why.  How cool to be in OT school learning things that are not just important for my future career, but also contribute to my being a mindful, deliberate, patient, and informed parent.

Evan

Why OT?

, by Evan

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Timothy Leary said, “if you don’t like what you’re doing, you can always pick up your needle and move to a new groove,” and when I was 29 years old I took this message to heart.  My first career was fulfilling in a lot of ways, but lacked a component of service that I had come to realize was important to my own emotional health.  So there I was, passionate about helping people and interested in research, but unsure how exactly I fit into the greater landscape of healthcare.  I began to actively volunteer in a variety of settings and was finally introduced to OT.  I’ll never forget it, because it felt like at last there was a word for what I wanted to do!

OT’s primary concern is quality of life, and I fell in love with the holistic and patient-centered approach of our discipline.  I find that OTs are uniquely qualified to address both mental and physical health in a broad variety of settings with patients/clients across the lifespan, and I love being part of it.  I am honored to study in the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and am filled with eagerness to apply that knowledge during real world patient encounters both in fieldwork and beyond.

Today is our first day back at school after 3 months summer fieldwork.  It feels so good to catch up with my student colleagues but I find myself thinking about my patients and clinical instructors I had gotten to know so well this summer.  What are they up to??  How are they doing??  No way for me to know right now sitting in class . . . but I do know this: I think the fact I’m thinking about them is evidence that I’ve found the right groove for me.