After an action-packed year serving as a student ambassador for this wonderful Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, I am excited to say that today is my last day! I came into the office this morning happily exhausted from spending the past five days in San Diego at the AOTA Annual Conference. Over 200 individuals from USC OT traveled to the conference to learn, network, and celebrate our wonderful profession. It was an impressive turnout, contributing to this being the 2nd largest AOTA conference in history! There was so much to see and do that at many times it felt overwhelming. The sheer number of educational sessions provided something for everyone in every practice area. The networking opportunities were fantastic, and the addresses were inspiring. The keynote speaker this year was Aaron Ralston, the adventurer who amputated his own arm to free himself from entrapment in a remote canyon in Utah. He was introduced by his OT, who spoke about her treatment of this unique case. When Mr. Ralston came to the stage, he said that he truly loved occupational therapy and unveiled a USC OT pin which he wore throughout his speech! It was very special to be present for our own Dr. Florence Clark’s farewell address as AOTA President, and to feel the pride of hundreds of Trojans at the USC Alumni Party.
Although I am continuing on at USC to pursue a doctoral degree, I still feel that this moment is an enormous milestone. This is my last week of classes, and I have a major project due in each one. Finishing up these tasks will keep me very busy this week. Then, this weekend I will immerse myself fully in studying for our comprehensive exam, which covers the foundational coursework from the entire program. After Monday’s comprehensive exam, I will gear up for my last final examination on Thursday and our Division’s end of the year celebration on Friday. I have spearheaded the planning of this celebration, which will take place on a privately chartered boat in Long Beach. After the boat celebration, I will spend a long weekend away in beautiful Ojai with special friends I have made in the program that are moving away right after graduation. I will return from Ojai just in time for my family to arrive from Northern California. I graduate with my wonderful class on Friday, May 17th, and start fieldwork thw following Monday.
It has been wonderful holding this position over the past year, and I feel grateful for all the wonderful people I have met and the opportunities I have been given. To everyone that has read this blog, thank you for your support!
Your student ambassador Amber signing off!