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 | Joyce


Can I do Grad School?

, by Joyce · email · comment

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This was a big question that I find many people asking themselves. Whether you’re contemplating graduate school right after undergrad or going back after years of not studying, it seems to be a daunting choice to give up a salary to study full time.

Grad school is truly unique in its own way, way more so than undergrad ever was. From simply a developmental perspective, we are still finding ourselves in undergrad… our identity, who we are and what we want to be. However, in grad school you’re one step closer to consolidating the path in which you want to embark on.

Personally, I struggled a lot with low self esteem in college, shape shifting to match the peers around me and truly plagued with the disease to please. It wasn’t until senior year of college where I found comfort in being myself. Chasing after OT only reaffirmed the comfort I found within myself which is why I decided to pursue grad school immediately. I did not want to take a gap year because I was so sure on pursuing OT that I did not want to wait any longer. In that way, because I was used to the flow of school, exams, and papers… academically it wasn’t a difficult transition. That being said, it wasn’t an easy social transition. I had to pick up everything I had on the east coast and move to the other side of the country. I was couch hopping the first couple of weeks. I had a two week break between the day of my undergraduate graduation and the beginning of the graduate program. I definitely found myself burnt out many times and questioned whether this was the right choice I made.

But I am a firm believer of finishing what you started. Grad school was daunting at first. You meet many students who are just as passionate as you- which can be inspirational or scary. It is a game of perspective, will you view them as peers to learn from or simply competition to hide from? What’s great about OT school is that the program begins with our faculty encouraging us to learn from each other, to use each other to expand and challenge our clinical reasoning. Reflecting now, I’m glad that I made the choice to come to USC when I did because it gave me the opportunity to make life-long friends and receive strong mentorship with many of the faculty that went through the program themselves.

If you’re hesitating on applying to grad school, I would start with reflecting on why. Is it fear? Fear of school or fear of starting something new? One thing that is for sure is that no one goes through grad school alone, we do it with the support of our friends, professors, and social support!

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