I can’t believe I had my final MA class! It feels like it was only yesterday when I moved to California and started the master’s program at USC. I remember orientation as if it happened yesterday. I vividly remember the feeling I had during that day; a good mix of nervousness, excitement and hopefulness of the all possibilities yet to come. This year has been amazing on so many levels. I’ve started the year in a room full of strangers as my classmates. Now, we are graduating and celebrating our success together as a family. Moreover, I’ve had the fortune to meet the top leaders in the occupational therapy profession and have embraced my inner geek by taking pictures with each and every one of them: Dr. Florence Clark, Dr. Jane Case-Smith, Dr. Patricia Nagaishi (OTAC president), and Dr. Virginia Stoffel (AOTA president). In 14 days, I plan to add to my picture collection one of me and Dr. Elizabeth Yerxa at the Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Satellite Commencement Ceremony. That day is going to be so surreal! I guess I should stop thinking about graduation and think of the comprehensive exam I am taking on Monday… Wish me luck!
As the countdown to graduation begins (30 days left!), I am thinking a lot of the great moments I had at USC. Moreover, how I don’t want it all to end. What I love most about USC is how there are always opportunities to learn and to be inspired. Just this past Saturday, I attended the International Forum which was organized by the Occupational Therapy and Science Council (OTSC). The forum took place at the quaint and charming Center for Occupation and Lifestyle Redesign (a gorgeous place to be in on a Saturday morning). Me and my classmates from the MAI program got to present posters on occupational therapy in each of our countries. I also listened in on presentations by Dr. Cermak, Dr. Frank, and the students panel on their international externship experiences. All of these presentations have posed important questions on the role of occupational therapy on an international level. There were probably two themes that stood out for me from the International Forum. One theme that kept coming up across all the different presentations was the importance of being inventive at finding low-cost and sustainable solutions to facilitate occupational participation of the different populations across the world. The second theme was the ability to consider the broader contexts of human existence such as political and cultural contexts and how might these uniquely influence occupational participation. Being an “international” occupational therapist myself, I feel that the topic of global occupational therapy and occupational justice is close to my heart. So, it felt great to have a forum of discussion on this very important topic. On top of that, I got to enjoy a good part of the day socializing with my favorite OT students. Overall, I feel like this event was such a great mix of learning, socializing and having fun.
This is a picture of me and my classmates minus one (we took the picture with her poster instead!)