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 |

Chelsea

A Salute to Veterans

, by Chelsea

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Two weeks ago I went to an event hosted by the USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and the USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families called “A Wounded Warrior’s Experience and Physical Rehabilitation.” This event featured Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant First Class Leroy A. Petry and surgeon Colonel James Ficke, MD. Four years ago, Petry was deployed to Afghanistan, where he lost his right hand when he tossed away a grenade that was near him and two fellow soldiers. Now, Petry has an advanced prosthetic hand capable of detecting outside resistance and that responds to his muscle contractions and skin receptors. After having occupational and physical therapy, Petry can now pinch, grab and rotate his wrist. It is amazing to me that despite the loss of his right hand, Petry re-enlisted to help the wounded and be a part of their support team. I admire his resilience and his determination to help others. It is so incredible to see how important it is for some people to get back to pursuing their most meaningful occupations. Petry and many other veterans demonstrate such selflessness. As occupational therapy students, it really helps to hear people such as Petry speak because it helps us to grasp the disability experience better and allows us to understand our future clients better.

Occupational therapists play a crucial role in the lives of many war veterans, which is why the USC Occupational Therapy program has honored veteran students with several events throughout November. Since President Obama has announced the withdrawal of all our troops from Iraq by the end of the year, it is likely that occupational therapy will be in high demand in veteran’s hospital and other settings where veterans are prevalent. It will be difficult for many of these men and women who served in Iraq to transition back into civilian life, when their most meaningful occupation for the past few years has been fighting for their country. As OTs, it will be our job to help these veterans find occupations that are meaningful to them and give them the means to pursue these occupations despite any physical and/or mental disabilities they may come home with. The soldiers have done their part in helping our country, now it is our turn to help them.

vets reception

Floyd

Good food and conversation

, by Floyd

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Seriously, I think my class hosts a potluck almost every week! Whether it’s for a USC football game, someone’s birthday, or just a Saturday, we are always grubbing on delicious home-made foods and having tons of laughter. Just thinking about this past weekend and the food that everyone brought to the potluck makes me so hungry. Not only was the food great, but it was wonderful to be able to meet my peers outside of school to catch up on our personal lives. I feel that my class really values each other and sincerely wants to know about how each other are doing.

For this potluck, we created it for a faculty dinner where we invite a faculty member from our program to talk outside of school. We had Dr. Samia Rafeedie, one of our esteemed professors and practicing OT’s come this week. It was nice to chit-chat about her life and about her pregnancy…she is 8 months pregnant. We got her a children’s book and signed it with our love and luck. All I all, we had good times and great conversations that we will always remember.

Alix

Appreciating Los Angeles

, by Alix

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I’m heading home soon to CT. I can’t wait to see my family and friends, but I’m also worried about the fact that it is freezing cold and there is still no power after last weekend’s snowstorm. This means that I will be sleeping in below-freezing temperatures with no heat. I’ll probably bring an additional sleeping bag to put underneath the covers in my bed.

In Santa Monica, on the other hand, it’s 75 degrees and sunny. I’m starting to wonder how I ever lived back east. In fact I’ve been appreciating L.A. a lot this week, especially after Halloween. I remember all too well how in CT and NYC, Halloween costumes always had to be constructed with inclement weather in mind. It was useless trying to wear a cute outfit, because you always ended up putting a parka over it. High heels were unrealistic in the mud and slush and piles of leaves. For this reason, my costumes usually depended on a single key piece worn as a hat (bee antennae, angel halo, etc.).

So my costume this year turned out great (we dressed up as Yoshimi and the Pink Robot from the Flaming Lips album), but I do feel upstaged by my fellow ambassador Chris and our friend John, who both completed a surprise mid-party costume change into Dr. Seuss’s Thing #1 and Thing #2. Those costumes, being based on long-sleeved flannel pajamas with built-in slippers, would also have done well back east.

Chris

Halloween Weekend

, by Chris

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Halloween weekend was quite eventful.  It started off with me catching a 9:30am flight to San Francisco for a fair at USF. Immediately after the fair I made my way to the airport to catch the first half of the USC v. Stanford game.  I barely made it through security in time to catch the opening kickoff.  I was able to watch most of the first half before having to board my plane back to Los Angeles.  My plane landed in time for me to listen to the end of regulation and I made it home to watch the three overtimes that followed.  After the game, my roommate and I decided to get our costumes ready for the greatest Halloween party ever.  We actually planned a costume change during the party.  We showed up to the party as Forrest Gump and Chinese take-out, but changed to Things 1&2 during the party.  Now, it’s back to the reality of class and work. 


Things 1&2

Alix

Halloween Preparations

, by Alix

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I’m spending a lot of time setting up decorations for Halloween. We’ve been amassing 99 cent store Halloween knickknacks for the past several years, so we have boxes upon boxes of dangling/blinking/shreiking/glow-in-the-dark things to put up. (We also carved SEVEN pumpkins last night.) This week I had to prepare a lesson plan for a group in one of my classes, and we were learning about the history of activity analysis (a core OT concept), so I decided to lead an activitiy analysis using the construction of Halloween decorations. We made ghosts, pumkins, and black cats with all the usual accoutrements out of construction paper and markers, and then we talked about the components of the activity and possibile adaptations for various ability levels. It was a useful OT exercise, but also accomplished my secret goal of bolstering my Halloween arsenal for the season.  😜 Happy Halloween!

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