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 Blog


Capturing Memories

, by Alyssa · email · Leave a comment

As an occupational therapy student, life is surely eventful! I find that my days are always spent socializing with others, whether it’s in the classroom with my professors, grabbing a coffee with my OT friends, working in the office with the student ambassadors, or eating dinner with my family. One of my favorite occupations, in addition to spending time with others, is to capture fun memories by taking photos! I take photos because I like to smile and share these memories with others. Here is a video of some of my memories that have been captured thus far this fall semester! Fight on!


Happy World OT Day!

, by Alyssa · email · Leave a comment

Greetings! Hola! Bonjour! Ciao! 你好! Today we locally, nationally, and internationally celebrate our wonderful profession and all of the work that we do! Fight on!


Fuel Your Studies!

, by Alyssa · email · Leave a comment

As a Occupational therapy student, I am always on the go! Whether I am checking my email, reading an article, driving to school, or getting my daily exercise in, I find myself always occupied ☺ When I first started the master’s program, one of the challenges I came across was ensuring that I was eating healthy. With balancing a busy school schedule and workload, healthy eating can become less of priority.  Skipping meals, buying snacks from the vending machines, or eating on the go can become commonplace, especially since all of these can save you time! Healthy eating requires time, planning, and yes, some money. However, healthy eating is possible and should be a priority, especially if you would like to optimize your learning!

Here are some strategies I use that support my healthy eating:

1. Plan Ahead: Make a list of meals and snacks you would like to eat for the week. Make sure within this list, you have a good balance among your fruits, vegetables, proteins, and carbohydrates. Using your time management skills to plan the food supplies you need can help ensure that your meals are healthy!

2. Buy and Cook in Bulk: Grocery shopping at bulk stores, such as Costco, has ensured that I have enough food for the week and I am getting the bang for my buck!  Cooking in bulk means leftovers! Leftovers are great, especially when time is limited and do not want to cook as many meals during the week!

3. Bring your lunch and snacks to school: Yes, pack your snacks and lunch in your favorite lunch pail! Everyone does it ☺ your snacks and lunch doesn’t have to be boring! Pack some foods, such as Greek yogurt, fresh berries, vegetables and hummus, almonds, apples, and string cheese! Bringing your lunch and snacks to school help you avoid buying junk foods from the vending machine or stopping through a fast food drive through!

Remember, eating healthy can be fun! Use your creativity & do your online research to find what snacks/foods can best fit your daily routine!


Where can Occupational Therapists practice?!

, by Alyssa · email · Leave a comment

One of the greatest perks about becoming an occupational therapist is that you have a variety of options to choose from when deciding where to work! Occupational therapists can practice in a variety of settings, which include but are not limited to hospitals, rehabilitation centers, home health, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, private practice, school systems, private organizations, industry, and community organizations!  Occupational Therapy is a health profession that focuses on engaging individuals in meaningful occupations or activities. So… who are these “individuals”? And what makes an occupation “meaningful”?

During this past summer, I completed my level II fieldwork in the practice area of pediatrics at the non-profit, outpatient clinic Leaps and Bounds Pediatric Therapy in Norco, California. If you read Jessica’s prior post, she gives you plenty of detail of what a level II fieldwork is all about! During this fieldwork experience, I was able to apply the knowledge I learned from the classroom, develop my clinical reasoning skills, and get hands-on experience in treating children who are at risk for, or experience challenges, in participating in their everyday activities, such as playing with their favorite toys, that are typical and appropriate.

Isn’t he the cutest?!

One unique opportunity I received during my fieldwork experience was learning and implementing the treatment strategy of Hippotherapy on a ranch! I know what you’re thinking… she did therapy with hippos!? Well, not exactly! Hippotherapy is a treatment strategy that can be used by occupational therapists, as well as other health care providers, such as physical and speech therapists, to use the movement of the horse to improve their participation in everyday activities, whether this means to improve their posture to sit upright at a desk when writing or strengthen their core to bend and tie their shoes!

Of course, I had to find out what this sensory experience was all about!


My Path to OT!

, by Alyssa · email · Leave a comment

Dear Readers,

I am thrilled to be sharing my very first blog as a student ambassador! Ever since my undergraduate days, I have had big dreams to pursue a career in occupational therapy, especially at USC. I am thankful to have supportive family and friends who inspired me to strive and achieve these dreams, no matter how big or unreachable they may have seemed in the moment. Now that I am on the right path to pursue these dreams, there is not a day that goes by without reflecting on the reasons why I choose and love OT.

Do what you love, love what you do.

These words are simple, yet so powerful. I choose occupational therapy because I realized that what I was doing and feeling during one moment was something I wanted for a lifetime.

During my undergraduate days, I focused my senior research thesis on aquatic therapy intervention, which took place at an outpatient pediatrics clinic. It was here where I received my first hands-on experience with working with children with special needs to teach them water safety skills. Prior to this opportunity, I had little knowledge about how prevalent drowning really was, especially in the pediatric population. I still remember the moment where I met one of the kiddos during one of my first weeks. He was terrified to jump in the water, or even swim across the pool without a float noodle. After working with him for several weeks and providing him with fun activities to learn water safety skills, he faced his fear. I saw him take a huge leap of faith, with him trusting me to take a jump in the pool. He landed in my arms, with a huge smile and endless laughter of the huge splash he had made.

It was through this opportunity where I learned the role of an occupational therapist and how he or she facilitates experiences that are meaningful and fun, while also teaching and instilling the skills they need to live life! After this experience, I knew that I had no choice but to choose occupational therapy because I loved the feeling of making a difference by facilitating learning and growth in these children.

Occupational therapy is a health profession that continues to evolve and focuses on the meaningful occupations or activities that take place in our everyday lives. With this field, I find excitement in the idea that there are endless, unique opportunities and places to practice occupational therapy and help others participate in doing the things they love, especially helping them love what they do. Above all, I truly feel that USC’s occupational therapy program is preparing me to become the occupational therapist I want to be and to value the power of occupation in a patient’s development and in healing. Welcome to my blog! I look forward to sharing this upcoming year with you! Fight on!

P.S Here our some fun pictures of my first year in the program!

White coat ceremony

August, 2015: White Coat Ceremony!

End of semester

December 2015: Celebrating the end of our first semester!

Cohort C

February 2016: My amazing Cohort, Cohort C!

OT month kick-off

April 2016: OT Month Kick OFF!

OT Buttons

April 2016: You can never have too many OT buttons

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