A Love Letter to the OS Minor
October 27, 2021
1 comment >
With USC course registration coming up, let’s chat about the occupational science (OS) minor and why it’s the best dang minor ever (Let’s be real — it’s part of my job to promote our programs… but I promise this is my honest opinion and I’d say all of this for free).
Undergrad was a very stressful time for me. My major courses involved many overlapping creatively-demanding projects, and I spent plenty of late nights glued to my computer to keep up with it all. For me, and for many others, the OS minor was a refuge. Beyond their obvious application to OT school and life in general, I thought they were all really fun and often were a stress-free few hours of my week. AND I actually remember what I learned in them. Here’s what I took & my favorite project from each class:
- OT 250 (4 units): Introduction to Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
- What is it? The only class required for the minor. It was like a sampler of everything OT has to offer — we learned about healthy habits and routines, flow, motivational interviewing, lifestyle redesign, OS research, neuroscience, stress management, sleep hygiene, creativity, exercise, sensory systems, and (still somehow) more!
- My favorite project: We wrote a paper to reflect on occupations that bring us into a flow state — I wrote mine about Zumba. 💃
- OT 251 (4 units): Across the Lifespan: Occupations, Health and Disability*
- What is it? The OT department’s lifespan development class. This class was great preparation for the Team-Based Learning format used in several of the OT graduate classes. *(Bonus: it covers a prerequisite for the graduate program so it’s like a 2-for-1 deal)
- My favorite project: Individually, our final assignment was to read a memoir by a person with a disability and relate it to the course — I applied the person-environment-occupation model to Tara Westover’s Educated and it was the first time I got to practice this kind of analysis.
- OT 330 (4 units): Perspectives on the Daily Life of Families
- What is it? A class dedicated to the roles within and occupational impact of family life.
- My favorite project: A family tree diagram to identify occupational connections within our families. We could make it as extensive as we wanted, and I had a blast. My final tree was 23 pages wide 😮
- OT 350 (4 units): Disability, Occupation, and the Health Care System
- What is it? Amazing guest speakers and meaningful discussions surrounding the varied experiences of living with a disability and navigating the health care system.
- My favorite project: We had weekly journals to reflect on our developing understanding of disability — my favorite journal activity was an accessibility scavenger hunt around USC’s main campus.
- OT 370 (4 units): Understanding Autism: Participation Across the Lifespan
- What is it? This class was so different from psychology classes I had taken that included content about ASD. We focused on neurodiversity, lived experiences, and advocacy.
- My favorite project: My ‘media representation of ASD’ group project. I got to illustrate a children’s book and explore ways to help typically developing children understand their peers with ASD.
If I could have fit more in my schedule, I would have. Specifically, the human-animal interaction class. A few weeks ago, my friend’s dog was a guest speaker in that class — he was excellent.
As a student ambassador, I recently got to go back and give brief presentations to some of this semester’s OS minor courses, and it made me really nostalgic. When I feel nostalgic, I get emotional. When I get emotional, I write letters and never send them (usually because they are addressed to real people. Since this one is addressed to a non-sentient academic program, I’m ok with publishing it on the internet. So, here we go).
To my beloved OS minor,
I wish we could have spent more time together. I miss a lot about being an undergrad at USC, and your classes are no exception.
Thank you for classes that brightened my afternoons when I’d usually be needing a nap. Thank you for faculty mentors who have supported me through ups and downs both academically and personally (shout-outs to Linsey, Kate, & Kristy). Thank you for literally assigning some of my closest friends, Leah and Dakotah, to me as part of my group for OT 251 — they’ve stuck with me all the way til the MA-II program, and now they’re stuck with me for life.
Thank you for guiding me into the best career in the world.
Oh, Alyssa, What a heartfelt note and blog. You are on your way to becoming a sensitive, smart, funny, and amazing occupational therapist who will make a difference in countless humans’, and perhaps animals’, lives.
We treasure you and am confident in your success.