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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Student Blog


Happy Valentine’s Day ⟩
February 14, 2013, by Alisa

First off, Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy Single Awareness Day! Happy Rotic Day (romantic without the “man”)! Happy whatever else you celebrate!

To be honest with you, I’m feeling a tad bit overwhelmed with all the roles and responsibilities that I have, but without these roles and responsibilities, I would probably be bored. Despite learning about time management in class, I still feel that I could improve. As I share about my time management, I would like you to consider how you spend your time as well.

Other than being a student, some of you know that I am also a resident advisor to undergraduate students. While some nights that I am on duty are peaceful, I realize my sleep gets disrupted when I get calls at 2:30 AM. Other than being on duty on certain nights, I also get to do programming (the more fun part!). Some things happen for a reason, and the opportunity to be involved in Relay for Life was presented to me, and I took it. Yesterday, I attended a team captain’s meeting for Relay for Life. In my undergrad I was also a team captain for the Chinese American Student Association, raising over $400 for cancer research.

As a resident advisor I also plan to organize a blood drive in the near future! I got the inspiration from my attempt to donate blood on campus last week. The Pharmacy school along with Hungtington Hospital organized a blood drive, and I was so excited to donate. Little did I know, I have failed to drink enough fluids, so the blood wasn’t coming out as fast as it should. I felt disappointed that I have wasted everyone’s time, but it sparked an idea for me to help organize a blood drive as an event in my residential community. I had no idea that blood was expensive (~$300/pint), and that they’re always in need of blood. Yes, 1 pint can help save 3 people’s lives! Here’s a cool fact from the American Red Cross website: If you began donating blood at age 17 and donated every 56 days until you reached 76, you would have donated 48 gallons of blood, potentially helping save more than 1,000 lives!

What I’ve learned from being involved in different roles and responsibilities is that it’s important to be optimistic. I’ve managed to find something positive out of a seemingly negative experience. I treat it as a lesson, and everyone is my teacher. In my life I have had my share of failures. I joked to my friends that I am usually second best. There was one time I went in for a scholarship interview for the second time, and I recognized the interviewers from the year before. They asked me, “What will you do if you don’t get selected?” I answered, “I’ll apply again next year.” Yes, we all laughed. Lo and behold, I got the scholarship to go to Thailand!

Wishing those of you who are applying and waiting to hear back a good luck! If you don’t get in the first time, tell yourself it’s okay. There are other options, and you can always apply again. Have a most awesome day!


“Say yes to play” ⟩
February 7, 2013, by Alisa

What are OS/OT?

Growing up in Thailand, oftentimes I would get scolded for playing or being playful. At a young age, I felt that I had to grow up. Even though I wasn’t the oldest child, I felt that I had to be mature. Was I trying to please the adults? Probably. I was the well-behaved one growing up. I would feel guilty for playing. It was like a stigma if you’re an adult and still play, but that didn’t stop my uncles. Maybe that’s why I admire them so much. Although they are very busy as business owners, they embrace me whenever I visit them. One of them enjoys playing golf and being a Thai Elvis. He seriously has one of the best voices — his tone is amazing. Another one knows everything about technology and video games. I realize that what drew me to them was their playfulness. They have many interests and are willing to share the joy of playing and being playful with me. Now I realize that playing is okay. It’s a form of self-care. Play continues throughout the lifespan. I am thankful for choosing the path to be an occupational therapist because I will be getting paid to play! The profession has instilled in me the balance of work, rest and play. Although it could be tough to make time being that I have many roles and responsibilities, it is important.

From reading Dr. Erna Blanche’s Play and Process: The experience of play in the life of the adult, I learned that there are different types of play: restoration, ludos (light-hearted play like joking around), self-awareness, mastery, adventure, and creativity. Now that I’m getting older — ahem — as evidenced by the amount of gray hairs I have, I enjoy more of a restorative play. I engage in this type of play through yoga. I find that I am able to put my mind into the practice and forget about everything else for just a bit, but that is probably the most refreshing part of my day.

How often do you play? What kinds of play do you engage in?

This is a photo of my dog, Summer. He likes to do leaps in the air.



Socially Occupied Beings ⟩
January 30, 2013, by Alisa

Life Hacks School/Life Balance

Getting back into the swing of things can be rough. I feel that I’m still getting used to it.  At times I feel that I have many roles and responsibilities, and I just need a time to breathe. After reading Mary Lawlor’s “The significance of being occupied: The social construction of childhood occupations” in class, I begin to view myself as a “socially occupied being.” It made me consider the things that I’m involved in. Almost everything that I engage in has a social component. I remember one time my friend jokingly said, “Are you in school to socialize, or to study?” My theory is that 5 years from now, am I going to more likely remember the time when I did things myself, or the experiences shared with others? Sometimes the motivation to study by myself is just not there, and I end of procrastinating. In other areas of my life, such as exercising, I find that I’m more motivated to work out if it’s done in a group setting. For the past 2 years, I’ve gotten the work out plan at the school gym, which means that I get to take various group workout classes. Some of my personal favorites are yoga and Zumba, where we also danced to Gangnam Style. How trendy, right? I’m getting a little bit better. Recently I attended a wedding where the bride, the groom, the bridesmaids and the groomsmen surprised the guests with Gangnam Style as well. It was awesome. What about you? How do you occupy your time? Do you consider yourself a “socially occupied being”?

Lawlor, M. C. (2003). The significance of being occupied: The social construction of childhood occupations. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57(4), 424-434. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.57.4.424 Show abstract


Health and Wellness ⟩
January 16, 2013, by Alisa

Classes What are OS/OT?

I just came out of the Lifestyle Redesign class, and I enjoyed it! During my time as an undergraduate, I had my first exposure to Lifestyle Redesign, working as a student worker at the USC Occupational Therapy Faculty Practice, but I never truly understood what it was all about — or what happens behind closed doors. With the class that I’m taking, I’ll get a rich experience of what Lifestyle Redesign is all about. It is based on practicum, lecture, guest speakers, and observation hours. By the end of class, our instructor, Dr. Dieterle said that we’ll be able to implement similar programs such as weight management, pain management, diabetes management, et cetera. I have always been drawn to health and wellness at a young age. When I was 13, I created an incentive workout program for my family: every 30 minutes on the treadmill equals to 1 raffle ticket, and by the end of each month, we would raffle off prizes! I remember how much fun it was and how my family would line up to use the treadmill. I even committed to using it every day for a month, and I was able to improve my mile time by a minute. Those were the glory days. Now, I enjoy hikes, yoga, and Zumba. As a resident advisor I try to plan programs that involve health and wellness as well from hikes to time and stress management workshops. It is my passion to work in this field, and I hope to own my own health and wellness center some day. 😊

The greatest wealth is health — Virgil


New Year, New You! ⟩
January 9, 2013, by Alisa

Life Hacks School/Life Balance

Happy New Year! Happy New You! Yes, we all survived the apocalypse. That’s something to celebrate about, right? I hope all my readers had a restful break. Last year I was in Thailand for the holidays and got to visit China as well. It was short and sweet, and I learned a few new things as well. This year, however, I did a stay-cation. I got to enjoy the warm rays of sun, wished upon a shooting star, and spent the holidays with friends and family. As I grow older, I realize that the people you spend time with matter more than the location. I made myself a few goals over break, and I achieved most of them. Yay! Time to celebrate by doing the Gangnam Style dance!

Just to recap the goals:

  • Decorate the Christmas tree (Did that and already undecorated it)
  • Learn how to play a ukulele (Had a jam session with a classmate who generously taught me tuning, reading tabs, and strumming patterns)
  • Learn how to juggle (I haven’t practice over break yet, but break is not over, so I could still achieve this goal)
  • Master the Gangnam-style dance (Okay, maybe I haven’t completely mastered it, but a group of us danced in front of a crowd. Does that count? Also, on New Year’s Eve, my mom and I danced with Psy on TV. Did you know that his YouTube video reached a billion views? That’s unbelievable and of course, it was the top news of 2012)
  • Read Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Done and already rented out the next book on my Kindle)
  • Do more yoga (Yes, I went to my local yoga studio to practice. One of the sessions I attended was taught by a male instructor. Honestly, he was the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen, which, of course, gave me the adrenaline to work harder. He was an eye candy with a soft tone of voice, muscly, tall, and handsome and emphasized fluidity in our poses and movements. Another class that I attended was taught by a chiropractor. The class is called Prana Flow, and it was 2.5 hours. Yes, you are reading correctly. 2.5 hours. 150 minutes. A good half hour of it was meditation. Since I went to the class at night, I had already exerted myself leading a food tour earlier that day, so when the corpse pose (savasana), where you lie supine on the ground, came around, I knocked out. Twice. At the start of class and at the end of class. So, I’ve concluded that I’m addicted to yoga. I would like to get a teaching certification one day, so that I could share my practice with others, making it accessible to everyone. It is my dream to own a health and wellness studio one day. Yes, all my readers could get a free class. 😉

I can’t believe that school resumes next week, but it’ll be good to get the ball rolling. I still have to finalize my schedule, but I’ll get that all sorted out very soon. It doesn’t help that there are so many elective options we could choose that with my being the indecisive type does not really help.

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