Alana Schoenhals MA2 ’21
What brought you to occupational therapy?
Throughout my undergrad years, I explored a handful of different career options such as human resources, counseling, dance therapy, and social work, but none seemed to fit just right. It was my senior year when I came across occupational therapy while doing a career finder test. Occupational therapy perfectly fit my desire for work where I could form strong interpersonal relationships, work with my hands, and have a meaningful impact on someone’s life.
Describe your background before coming to occupational therapy.
In undergrad I double majored in Psychology and Dance and Movement Studies. Psychology gave me a solid understanding of human behavior and showed me that I wanted to work with people. Both my performance and study of Dance helped me develop my own body awareness and taught me how to treat another body with mindful care. Before starting at USC, I worked in a Psychology research lab for a year exploring maternal and child health.
Tell us about your favorite memory from the program so far.
Last semester in mental health we had weekly debriefs about our fieldwork experiences. My debrief group was known for bringing an extensive amount of food each week. For our last debrief, we went big and made this amazing, over-the-top cheese board and it was so much fun. We were all very proud and took about 100 photos.
If your childhood had a smell, what would it be?
Dirt and pine trees! I grew up in Washington and explored the forest bordering my house on the daily.
What are some small things that make your day better?
Sitting in the sun during lunch always helps me destress, especially with friends that make me laugh. Grad school can be stressful so giving yourself time to have fun and unwind is so important!