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


Love at First Sight: Finding Occupational Therapy

, by Kaitlyn · email · Leave a comment

The most common question I am asked is how my path to pursue occupational therapy began. I have always found it extremely rewarding to hear the narratives of my peers because we all ended up being where we were meant to be: en route to become occupational therapists. Here is my own narrative.

When thinking about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I had the following criteria: I wanted to be in health care, I wanted to improve the well-being of people, and I wanted to be able to look back on my life and know that I dedicated my life to serving others in the best way that I could.

For my undergraduate studies, I attended the University of Southern California (my dream school since I was a young girl!) but was very much undeclared and undecided. It was not until I took a class under USC’s Occupational Science minor in my sophomore year that I even knew what occupational therapy was. I like to say that my encounter with OT250: Introduction to Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy is the closest I have ever been to “love at first sight.” I was extremely invested in the material that we were learning in that class. I loved the idea of improving people’s lives based on their own personal goals and seeing each person as a whole instead of in parts. To make things even better, I absolutely admired my professor, Dr. Kate Crowley, who I still keep in contact with to this day.

From that point on, the road to becoming an occupational therapist became clearer and clearer. I began to take more classes under the Occupational Science minor, volunteered and shadowed practicing occupational therapists at numerous hospitals and clinics, and worked at a camp organized by health practitioners for disabled and at-risk children. I learned and saw the power of OT in each experience and enjoyed every minute of it.

However, there was one particular session that I shadowed that really confirmed the decision to pursue OT for me. I was at a pediatric clinic and the OT I was shadowing was working on fine motor skills with a young girl. When I first met the young girl, she said her main goal was to be able to play “princess dress up” with her father and put on her favorite princess dress that happened to have a row of buttons along the back of the garment. After months of therapy, I watched that same young girl put that dress over her pre-existing outfit and button the buttons she once could not manipulate before. The dad simply turned and said to me, “I knew my princess was there all along.” It was in this moment and the culmination of all the other moments that I realized that OT was the one for me (like I said, it really was love at first sight!).

Occupational therapy is an amazing profession that I wholeheartedly believe in and I am so excited to be able to share my experiences with you here on this blog. I hope that you enjoy the ride with me and that maybe, just maybe, you’ll fall in love with OT just like I did too.

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