Mariella Ysobel Timbang MA ’19
Hometown: Cavite, Philippines
Program: Post-Professional Master’s, Class of 2019
What brought you to occupational therapy?
Similar to a lot of stories I’ve heard about how people got into occupational therapy, I kind of fell into OT by chance. I was initially in a pre-nursing program in Maryland, but due to personal circumstances I needed to go back to the Philippines. Because of the timing of when I got back home, all the nursing programs were closed. As my family and I were trying to figure out how to move forward, a family friend, who was an occupational therapist, told me about the profession. The way she explained it to me was that it was a mix of art and science, where I had to be creative in finding ways to help people do what they want to do in life, whatever their circumstances. It sounded challenging but fulfilling, so I decided to give it a chance, and several years later, I’m glad things worked out the way they did!
What area of practice are you interested in?
When I was an intern during my undergraduate years in the Philippines, I found an interest in OT in mental health. I had a two-month rotation in the National Center for Mental Health of the Philippines where I was able to work with children/adolescents and adults with a variety of backgrounds. This fieldwork, as well as experiences from my personal life, impressed upon me the gravity of the need for mental health services and I hope to be able to do something about it, even by just starting in my own little bubble of life.
Tell us about your favorite memory from the program so far.
It’s not one particular memory, but I love looking back at the many memories of how our MA-1 class got to build friendships, share experiences, and learn about each other’s cultures. I especially loved going out to different restaurants to try out cuisines from where my friends are from.
If your childhood had a smell, what would it be?
One of my favorite memories from childhood was when my dad taught me to put sugar in milk. There was always a particular brand of fresh milk we would buy, and whenever we mixed it with sugar it had a particular scent of creamy, sweet comfort. Kind of sounds odd but I am an avid fan of sweets!
What are some small things that make your day better?
I’ve always loved receiving handwritten notes from friends! It could be as simple as a “good luck with your presentation” written on a post-it. I’m grateful to have met such supporting and inspiring people throughout my life, several of whom I met through USC. Also, my dog Tofu always brightens my day!