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 | Jessica P

Jessica P

Preparing for Level I Fieldwork

, by Jessica P

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At USC, our Level I Fieldwork is tied in with the 3 different immersion courses: Adult Physical Rehabilitation, Mental Health, and Pediatrics.

But wait…what is fieldwork? As Caroline explained here before, our Level I Fieldwork is a site that students go to once a week throughout the semester and one full week about halfway through the semester. We get experience in 3 different practice areas at a variety of sites across the Los Angeles area.

Whether it is your first Level I Fieldwork or your third, starting Fieldwork at a new site can be exciting and nerve-wracking. Here are my tips for preparing for Level I Fieldwork:

1. Dress the part. On your first day, make sure you dress accordingly with the site’s dress code. Some sites may ask you wear scrubs and your white coat, while others may require business casual. I always error on the side of more formal because it is better to be more dressed up than down!

2. Come prepared. Bring copies of all the documents you may need to start, such as your HIPAA certification. Make sure to bring pen and paper as well to take notes throughout the day.

3. Keep your eyes open. The goal of Level I Fieldwork is to get exposure to OT in different settings, apply what we are learning in classes to practice, and to develop understanding of the needs of the patients. Whether your fieldwork site allows you to be hands-on with patients or not, there is always something you can learn by observing therapeutic interactions.

4. Ask questions. Fieldwork experiences can sometimes be very different from what we see and hear in our classes. Ask your clinical instructor questions about why they did what they did, it will help you to understand their clinical reasoning. If you have questions while you are with a patient, write them down to ask later.

5. Know your learning style. Before our fieldwork, students at USC are asked to complete a learning style inventory. It is important to know how you best learn and share this with your clinical instructor.

6. Use your resources. Throughout all of our fieldwork experiences, we have an entire fieldwork team, along with faculty to support us. They are always available if you have questions, need advice, or just want to discuss how fieldwork has been going.

Remember, Level I Fieldwork is all about the learning experience. There is no better way to solidify what we learn in the classroom, than to see it out in the field!

Jessica P

Hello, it’s me again!

, by Jessica P

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It has been quite some time since I last blogged as the summer student ambassador, but I am thrilled to begin blogging again and sharing my occupational therapy journey. The past year has been a whirlwind, starting the master’s curriculum and graduating with my bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy this May. I have previously talked about my experience falling in love with OT and why I chose USC, but after immersing myself in the master’s program I feel even more passionate and lucky to be able to pursue the profession I love.

Last fall, I began my OT grad school journey with the mental health immersion and I loved being exposed to areas of OT I had never seen before, such as in forensic mental health. At times, I felt overwhelmed by exams, quizzes, and projects but this summer I was able to reconnect with the reason why I am pursuing OT: to help others.

This past summer, I completed my Level II Fieldwork at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL. When deciding where I wanted to do my fieldwork, I chose to go out of area to explore a new city for the summer. At Rush, I worked on four different inpatient psychiatric units – child/adolescent, general adult, mood disorders, and geropsych. Throughout my Level II Fieldwork, I realized how prepared I was to be an entry-level practitioner from everything I had learned in my classes and previous fieldwork experiences. Since I was able to work with clients across the lifespan, I learned how to rapidly shift the different therapeutic modes I was using based on the client and situation.

Over the twelve weeks, I gradually gained more independence and eventually was carrying a full caseload where I evaluated 3 patients daily and ran 2 groups. In addition to assessments, treatment plans, individual interventions, group interventions, and progress notes, I was also able to pursue research on OT’s role in medication management in this setting. I loved being able to apply evidence-based practice and see the progress in my clients. Coming back after my fieldwork experience, I feel more prepared and energized to take on my second year!

Jessica P

Signing Off for the Summer

, by Jessica P

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This summer working as a student ambassador has been one of my most memorable experiences at USC so far. From giving tours to prospective students to going to Meet USC events to speak to high school students, I have been busy spreading OT love everywhere.

I am even more confident now than I was three months ago that I am pursuing the perfect profession for me. The past few months I have learned more about the diversity within OT and all of the opportunities we have as occupational therapy students. Now when someone asks me, “What is OT?” - I always have an answer, and I could probably go on talking about OT for hours.

Next Monday I start the master’s portion of my academic career, beginning with the mental health practice immersion. I can’t wait to push myself even further to begin shaping myself as the occupational therapist I know USC will help me become. Being apart of the OT family at USC has opened doors to so many things and I know it will continue to do so for a lifetime.

I hope that everyone has a great fall semester and fight on!!

Jessica P

Welcome Class of 2021!

, by Jessica P

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This week has been an exciting one for our new Bachelor to Master’s Occupational Therapy freshman. We are so happy to welcome 11 new Trojans into the family.

ot convocation 2017

OT students at USC Convocation

bsma class of 2021

BS-MA Class of 2021 with their amazing academic advisor, Joanne Park

class of 2021 fighting on

Class of 2021 (and master’s class of 2022) fighting on!


Jessica P

USC Village is Finally Open!

, by Jessica P

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As trojans, the USC Village is something we have all been waiting not so patiently for. Located on University Park Campus (UPC), the project has been a long wait for students. With a few stores already open and the grand opening on August 17, 2017, it is an exciting time to head back to school. The village boasts 5 new residential colleges and numerous restaurants and stores.

usc village 2017

Here is a list of some of the new eateries and amenities:

Trader Joe’s

target usc village

The Baked Bear

baked bear usc village


bbcm usc village

District H by Hannah An
Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop
Rance’s Chicago Pizza
Rock & Reilly’s
Sunlife Organics

sunlife organics usc village

Trejo’s Tacos

usc village photo 2017

Bank of America
CorePower Yoga
Solé Bicycles
Nail Garden
URB-E Mobility Hub
Village Cobbler

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