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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


Summer Coming to an End ⟩
August 24, 2019, by Anijah

Life Hacks

The time has come for me to say goodbye to a great summer. During my time here at the USC Chan Division, I have learned a lot, met new people, and grown as a person. These last few days have been bittersweet. I have spent these past three months getting to know the amazing faculty and staff who make sure that each program runs smoothly. You can only understand so much about how the programs run when you attend a tour or information session but, working from behind the scenes has allowed me to appreciate the effort USC Chan puts into making sure students enjoy their time while becoming an occupational therapist.

The first time I met an ambassador, I never thought I would have the opportunity to be one. I remember attending an information session and being amazed by the structure of the program while I was a sophomore. Then, on the first day of any occupational science minor classes, one of the first people you will meet is a student ambassador from the Master’s Program. These students describe what occupational therapy is to students who may be taking their very first minor class. At the same time, they are refreshing students’ minds about occupational therapy to returning students. This summer, being an ambassador has allowed me not only to understand the structure of the program better. I have also learned the necessary steps required to take to run events such as the information sessions.

I am sad to be leaving this position, as there are a variety of experiences and memories that I truly enjoyed while working as an ambassador this summer, but I anticipate the future. During this last year of my undergraduate career, I look forward to helping students better understand what occupational therapy is through the Pre-OT Club. I will be applying to a variety of Occupational Therapy Master’s programs, with my eyes on a certain school! I hope my time here has helped many students who are currently applying or trying to get a better idea about what this great health profession is. For now, farewell and Fight On!


Daily Fun ⟩
August 9, 2019, by Anijah

What are OS/OT?

There are a few activities that I engage in daily that I believe lead me to live a good quality life. One is to start my day with a warm cup of tea and another being regular exercise. When my siblings and I were younger, our parents embedded a tradition into our lives, from their childhoods, which was to have a warm cup of tea in the mornings. This tradition I continue to this very day. The first thing I do every morning is to make a cup of tea while catching up on social media or watching television. The two hours each day before class or work are the best times for me to fully relax and not worry about anything especially since it is rare for me to have time to watch anything once I have started my day.

Exercise is the other activity that I engage in almost every day. Once I retired from track and field, I had to find a new way to stay active. Initially, it took me a while to get back into the gym because I enjoyed having a break from a mandatory workout routine. But after taking a weight training class at USC, I was able to find a good work-life balance and realize the impact this balance has on my life. Certain activities either make my energy levels increase or decrease, and exercise ensures that my energy level was steady. If I go too long without at least fitting in 30 minutes of cardio in my day, I tend to feel really lethargic until I work out again.

To be consistent, I created an exercise plan. While creating my exercise plan, I had to know how much my body could take without being burnt out.  It is important to know how much you should be engaging in an activity like exercise, especially since I was used to exercising at an extreme level. Exercising can be really rewarding, but it can also have a negative toll on you if you do not know have a reasonable approach and goals.

The last activity that I try to do every day is to spend time with friends without having to do work. My friends and I tend to study together because we are more productive that way. We also put time aside to spend a few hours with each other without having to worry about school work. During these times, we are either enjoying each other’s conversations, playing games, trying new things, or cooking. (Earlier I wrote a blog on how much I enjoy cooking, and luckily, I found friends who really appreciate cooking as well.)

It is essential for everyone to spend time doing those things that interest them so that they can lead a good quality life. There will always be things we may not necessarily enjoy doing. But, as long as we have a good balance between the two, you can lead the life that you truly enjoy. Take time to find pursuits that you enjoy by testing new ones or continuing to engaging in ones you do like. Fight On!


Getting to Know the Field ⟩
August 2, 2019, by Anijah

What are OS/OT?

Hi everyone!

Before you sit down to start applying to occupational therapy schools, I highly recommend volunteering in settings that provide insight into what this health profession includes. Prior to deciding to choose occupational therapy (OT) as my career path, I was on track for a pre-physical therapy. After attending USC’s information session for occupational therapy, I became even more interested in this field. But I wanted to make sure that OT was the right discipline for me. I did not want to switch my major to something I had very little knowledge about and feel unhappy. To determine the best way to proceed, I had discussions with some of my occupational science minor professors about my hesitancy about switching from PT to OT. They recommended that I learned more about what occupational therapists do in a clinical setting if I have the opportunity. As suggested and to get an idea about OT in a clinical setting, I volunteered in a one. When I first started volunteering, I pictured myself, in the future, working in an Acute Hospital healthcare, but that has now changed to Adult Physical Rehabilitation. I hope to explore more areas in a Masters program. For many, like myself, the way to learn about OT is to volunteer in an OT office. Here are a few tips I have when taking the step to volunteer:

  1. Research! The occupational therapy field has a variety of settings they work in including hand therapy, pediatrics, rehabilitation, and many more. Some hospitals and clinics will only focus on one practice area, so for example if you see yourself in a pediatrics setting look for a location that specializes in it. Other hospitals and clinics work with multiple practice areas. Since there are a lot of options for you to possibly choose from in the future, it is important to find a location that also fits your interest. The sites can range from hospitals or day-care centers to schools and universities.
  2. Try different settings! After spending a reasonable amount of time in one setting, it is very important that you test out other practice areas as well. This is essential because you may be surprised by the fact that you enjoy one practice area, like hand therapy better than mental health. You may also consider volunteering in a multi-area practice. This may allow you to get a wide variety of OT experiences in a short amount of time.
  3. Get to know the people! It is a good idea to get to know those that you work with because they give great advice and could potentially provide a letter of recommendation for you in the future. I had a great time interacting with the occupational therapists, assistants, therapy aides, and physical therapist. While shadowing, I was able to see how occupational therapist and physical therapist work together with their patients.

I genuinely enjoyed my time volunteering at USC’s Keck hospital. It provided me with a lot of insight about a variety of things about the field of OT and how an OT practice works. Not only did I get to learn more about what an occupational therapist does, but I also got to learn more about the healthcare field. I hope to explore more settings and practices in a master’s program. If you would like to find a location to volunteer, observe, or become an aide, use USC’s volunteer system. Fight On!


Getting Ready for the Big Exam ⟩
July 12, 2019, by Anijah


Hi Everyone!

There are ONLY two months left in the last summer of my undergraduate career. In the month since I finished the school year, I have accomplished a lot. However, there is still so much more that I need to do.

In this last month, I have traveled to Paris, worked my normal student job, and also worked in the Occupational Therapy (OT) department. The insight and the relationships that I have formed by working in OT have been invaluable. When I began this summer, I was not sure as to how I would pursue my passion for working in this field (should I take a gap year or immediately pursue a graduate degree in OT). I decided to pursue a graduate degree, with the first step being to take the Graduate Records Exam (GRE).

Before I take the GRE I have decided to prep for the exam. After I decided that I did not want to take a gap year between graduation and the start of OT school, I decided that the summer before my senior year I would study for the exam. Here are some tips I have, as I get ready to take the GRE, for other students that are also preparing to take the GRE:

  1. The first step is to select your test date on the official GRE testing website: https://www.ets.org. Depending on how much time you want to give yourself to prep for the exam, you can select the test date and test location on this website.
  2. Next is the preparation stage. We all have different ways to study, whether that be listening to an instructor in person, watching videos on topics, or using online tools to help you prepare. I am the type of person who learns better with videos that explain a specific type of question or general idea. For that reason, I choose a GRE prep system that gives me that freedom, and there are a variety of different ones to choose from. I recommend testing out different prep tools to determine what works best for your learning style and time frame for preparation.
  3. Now that you have found the right prep course, you can create a study plan that you intend on following. You can either create your own or use ones that are already created. The prep system I use, Magoosh, provides a variety of study plans depending on if you would like to study daily or weekly. You also get to choose if you are studying for only one week or 2-3 months. It is beneficial for someone to have a study plan when reviewing for the GRE because it is a lot of information. The structure of a study plan allows a person not to feel overwhelmed and breakdown topics for the person’s understanding.
  4. When developing your study plan build in a cushion. The cushion is because as you go through this process life is still happening; things outside of your plan may need to be handled and you may need to review topics longer than originally anticipated to get a clear understanding. Do not beat yourself up if your plan needs to be adjusted. Without a plan, there is nothing to adjust. That is when it becomes a free fall.
  5. Now that you have developed and worked your plan, it is test time. Remember that you are prepared and ready. You Got This!

I hope these tips will help anyone who is thinking about taking the GRE. There are a lot of resources and tools for the GRE that may be beneficial for you. Find the right one for you. As always, Fight On!


Summer is For Traveling ⟩
June 28, 2019, by Anijah

International School/Life Balance

My dad always tells me that it is very important to travel if you have the opportunity. My dad believes that traveling allows a person to see more of what the world has to offer. However, when the summer comes around my sister and I always go to the same places, such as Sacramento or Las Vegas with family. We go to these places because we are comfortable there. But this summer I decided to go to some new places.

Luckily, my sister was studying abroad this summer in Paris, so that was my first stop. During our time there we went to the usual tourist places such as the Eiffel Tower and various Museums. One of my favorite places that we visited, while in Paris, was the Saint Chappelle chapel because of the vibrant colors. If you ever get the chance to go to France, make sure you stop by to see the amazing glass work in the chapel. We also tested out some really cool restaurants, which allowed us to broaden our palettes and our waistlines.

We also got a chance to visit Amsterdam. This has now become one of my favorite places to visit. We had a great time there. Amsterdam is known for a variety of things. But the main things we enjoyed were the canal system and their Holland fries. We also had the opportunity spent most of our time with our cousins. Surprisingly, I found out that one of my cousins is studying to become an Occupational Therapist. It was amazing to hear about the similarities between our adaptive tools and procedures.

Europe is different from the US for many reasons, but one of the main differences that I enjoyed while there was the transportation system. Since it was the first time traveling internationally without any family, we had to learn how to get around and, it was so easy to figure out. By the end of our trip, I became a pro at using the trains to get to our destinations, with a little help of maps and the people, who were so nice and helpful. Europe is a great place to travel. I hope to go back soon.

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