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 |

Alix

Learning How to Make Pizza

, by Alix · 1 comment

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One of my electives this semester is called “Optimal Living with Multiple Sclerosis.” The class, which is co-sponsored by the National MS Society, allows us (OT students) to pair up with individuals who have Multiple Sclerosis. Together, we work with the participants to maximize their health and happiness by addressing habits, routines, and activities of daily living. Today’s topic was “Nutrition and Cooking,” so we decided to make pizza in order to educate the participants about energy conservation techniques, pacing, and adaptive equipment for the kitchen. When we were planning the activity, I thought that we would buy some pre-made pizza dough, throw some Ragu on it, and call it pizza. But I was surprised to find out that one of the participants, David, is a chef by trade and knew of a great Italian grocer in Burbank. He volunteered to bring all of the dough, sauce, and cheese (I supplied the toppings), and then he taught us how to make pizza. I found out that you only need a pizza stone, which stays in the oven the whole time, and some flour to roll out the dough. Then you sprinkle some corn meal on a metal cookie sheet, spread the dough out on the sheet, and add the sauce/cheese/topings you like. Cook for six or seven minutes, and it’s ready to eat. The class went well, and we got to teach a lot of the participants how to cut ingredients with an adaptive “rocking” knife and an adaptive cutting board. And of course the pizza was delicious. (Mine was the best: pesto, basil, onions, olives, and anchovies).

Chris

Spartan Race and OT school?

, by Chris

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I’ve decided that I’m going to register to compete in the Spartan Race in Malibu next month.  For those of you who don’t know, the Spartan Race is a 3 mile obstacle course involving mud running, rope climbing, balance beams, etc.  I’ve started to kick up my training recently and it will be interesting to see if I can maintain my work-life balance.  The USC OT flag football team will start its season on friday.  Hopefully we don’t get stuck in an all male league again.

Kimberly

Flamenco Anyone?

, by Kimberly

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Last Saturday night I went with friends to El Cid, a restaurant in Silverlake (a neighborhood near downtown LA) that offers dinner shows on the weekend featuring authentic Flamenco music and dancing. Now if you’ve never seen Flamenco, I would highly reccommend looking it up on Youtube to check it out. It is a unique style of music and dance that originated in Andalusian Spain (the south). The guitarrists, drummers, vocalists, and dancers all train for many years to understand not only their mediums, but the culture of Flamenco and the history behind it.

We had a great view of the show from our table in the balcony of the restaurant. It lasted for an hour and was passionate, emotional, beautiful, and very unique. I would reccomend it to anyone who wants a little different venue for a Saturday night dinner out. It was nice to be with friends somewhere different than the local bar, to enjoy a lovely meal, some good Sangria, and the show. So if you live in LA or are thinking about USC, make sure to check out this and other cultural-unknowns throughout the city. There are many to explore and experience. Ole!

Floyd

Occupation Renewal

, by Floyd

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I used to be in cross country in high school and started to do less running when I went to college.  During my undergrad, I ran the track once or twice a week. But after I graduated and started my career, I stopped running for leisure. Now that I am in graduate school, I do no more than walk to class from my car in the parking lot. So I decided that I should get back into it after so many years. I did not want to start at it alone so I coerced my friends to run with me during the annual Run for Diabetes. My friends and I even raised over two thousand dollars and participated in the run on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Even though I felt sore and tired the day after the run, it feels satisfying to have accomplished it. Whether or not it is all in my mind, I can already feel the benefits from the run. Elizabeth June Yerxa researched on life satisfaction of people living with severe disabilities and illustrated that by learning about how people develop into occupational beings, we can help people increase their well-being. Being able to participate my occupation of running, I am able to do something I love while improving on my overall health. Unlike exercise, I do not find running as a chore or duty in order to support of health and well-being. Running is an occupation that supports my interest and indirectly promotes my life and work balance.

I thought I lost all my interest in running but it has been hidden within me and needing to be ignited by the start of the activity. It was a great feeling to be running again. It has been so many years since I ran; it was somewhat like I was doing it for a first time. I did have some endurance difficulty since I did not properly train for the run, but like riding a bike, I got back into it steadily. Running may not be a novel occupation to me, but I have not been doing it for many years and I have been curious in participating in this occupation again. Also, I never participated in the Run for Diabetes, which came to a great surprise and I hope to do it again next year.

Alix

Procrastination…I Mean Occupation!

, by Alix

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I’m pretty busy this semester, so when distractions come up throughout the week, I ignore them. For about five minutes. Then I move through stage two of the procrastination phase, mostly involving profound guilt, shame, and self-beratement. Finally, I give in. For example, I am in the middle of planning my wedding. As some of you probably know, a person could literally fill 60 hours a week with wedding planning. There are always details to iron out, vendors to contact, and logistics to agonize over. (Especially since our wedding is taking place in a field, under a tree, with no infrastructure or electrical outlets.) Plus, the internet contains a seeminly endless supply of wedding blogs, all filled with pictures of perfectly executed events and reasons that you should be panicking about yours. And this is in addition to the wedding magazines that arrive practically daily at my front door. I find myself wondering what kind of dessert to serve, and then spending three hours “researching” the (very complex and elusive) answer. But then the other day I had a brilliant realization: Maybe this isn’t procrastination. Maybe it’s an occupation! Maybe planning my wedding is one of my leisure occupations! And being in OT school, I of all people should know that health requires a balance of work, rest, and leisure. So, in reality, I should be proud of myself. Right?

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