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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


My Path to OT! ⟩
August 24, 2016, by Alyssa

What are OS/OT?

Dear Readers,

I am thrilled to be sharing my very first blog as a student ambassador! Ever since my undergraduate days, I have had big dreams to pursue a career in occupational therapy, especially at USC. I am thankful to have supportive family and friends who inspired me to strive and achieve these dreams, no matter how big or unreachable they may have seemed in the moment. Now that I am on the right path to pursue these dreams, there is not a day that goes by without reflecting on the reasons why I choose and love OT.

Do what you love, love what you do.

These words are simple, yet so powerful. I choose occupational therapy because I realized that what I was doing and feeling during one moment was something I wanted for a lifetime.

During my undergraduate days, I focused my senior research thesis on aquatic therapy intervention, which took place at an outpatient pediatrics clinic. It was here where I received my first hands-on experience with working with children with special needs to teach them water safety skills. Prior to this opportunity, I had little knowledge about how prevalent drowning really was, especially in the pediatric population. I still remember the moment where I met one of the kiddos during one of my first weeks. He was terrified to jump in the water, or even swim across the pool without a float noodle. After working with him for several weeks and providing him with fun activities to learn water safety skills, he faced his fear. I saw him take a huge leap of faith, with him trusting me to take a jump in the pool. He landed in my arms, with a huge smile and endless laughter of the huge splash he had made.

It was through this opportunity where I learned the role of an occupational therapist and how he or she facilitates experiences that are meaningful and fun, while also teaching and instilling the skills they need to live life! After this experience, I knew that I had no choice but to choose occupational therapy because I loved the feeling of making a difference by facilitating learning and growth in these children.

Occupational therapy is a health profession that continues to evolve and focuses on the meaningful occupations or activities that take place in our everyday lives. With this field, I find excitement in the idea that there are endless, unique opportunities and places to practice occupational therapy and help others participate in doing the things they love, especially helping them love what they do. Above all, I truly feel that USC’s occupational therapy program is preparing me to become the occupational therapist I want to be and to value the power of occupation in a patient’s development and in healing. Welcome to my blog! I look forward to sharing this upcoming year with you! Fight on!

P.S. Here our some fun pictures of my first year in the program!

White coat ceremony

August, 2015: White Coat Ceremony!

End of semester

December 2015: Celebrating the end of our first semester!

Cohort C

February 2016: My amazing Cohort, Cohort C!

OT month kick-off

April 2016: OT Month Kick OFF!

OT Buttons

April 2016: You can never have too many OT buttons

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