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 | Bethany

Bethany

Reflection: Moving Back Home
Posted , by Bethany

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This past March, I moved back home. It was a strange enough transition: leaving school for Spring Break and not returning, and my brother also came back from college in Texas. What made it all the more strange was realizing that I’m staying. For all four years of my undergraduate career, I chose to stay out by the University Park Campus, making it easier for me to meet new people, get to class easily, and be a part of school organizations. However, for the OT MA program, most of the people, classes, and organizations are on a different campus, the Health Sciences Campus, which happens to be a commute-able distance from home.

But even during the end of the school year, as I completed classes on my computer, I realized that staying at home does not mean a change in which occupations I participate, but in the way that I do so. I still spend most of my day in class, even if it is online, and I can still make time for people after class, in Bible studies, Zoom chats with friends, or even playing online games. Many of my other friends finishing undergrad are also moving back home to commute, so I am not alone in this transition. In fact, some of my high school friends are also coming back home, one of them joining me at USC through online-in-person-hybrid classes as a new student at the PT school. The classes and labs that we attend in person will be in the same building!

Some of the occupations that have changed are centered around family. I now have more accountability for working out, as my mom and I complete workout videos together. My parents cook amazing meals, and as we sit around the dinner table, we get to reflect on past memories, discuss what happened at work or school today, or even have difficult conversations about current events. One of the best new occupations is watching TV shows with my parents. I did not grow up with TV. When I left for college, we had a tube television in our house, so I discovered TV shows in college. After I left, my parents replaced the TV (and me) with our family’s first flatscreen. Shows like The Mentalist and Monk became their favorites, and I got to join in on watching with them after dinner. I am blessed to have a home to come back to and a place to be as I finish up my Master’s, and I’m excited to see how I adjust and grow to both new and changing occupations.

Bethany

A Whole New Virtual World
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During this time of social distancing, we’ve learned that it can be difficult to stay in touch with people. Especially as college students, moving away from campus and being back home was quite a transition. And my class’ position as seniors only amplified our experience. We were planning on cramming last minute hang outs together into our final weeks, making the most our proximity, but those weeks never came. However, over time, we began to get creative with the ways that we stayed connected. And even as things slowly open up, there are still some creative ways to stay in touch that we will continue to do.

Zoom Game Night
One of the student organizations I was a part of was Intervarsity Trojan Christian Fellowship. We have a tradition of having Senior Office Hours through the last week for the seniors to hang out with everyone in the fellowship. Organizing these virtually was difficult, but we found a lot of fun games that work over video chat! One of my personal favorites (and one at which I am unfortunately not that great) is Codenames. In Codenames, you work with your team to help them make the correct selections on a grid of 25 random words by using only one word clues.

Skribbl.io is an online version of pictionary that has one player draw at a time while the others type in guesses. It is even more fun to add the element of video chat to watch everyone’s reactions to the others’ drawings, sometimes bemoaning their own artistic ability. Be careful, though: Spelling counts on this game! Although the program will let you know when your answer is close, you still have to spell it correctly for the answer to go through. One word given was Colosseum, and although the participant drew a beautiful rendition, her audience unfortunately consisted of USC seniors, who were all too familiar with the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where our football team plays every home game. Watching the numerous attempts and re-attempts at spelling was frustrating, but garnered laughs all the same.

You can find many more games here, on a list compiled by another socially-distancing college student. The list is even organized by type of game, from board games to card games and even escape rooms! The author is ever updating the list, so if you have site recommendations, you can send them her way through the link on the document. You’ll find some old favorites, but I highly recommend trying something new, too! I learned Settlers of Catan through the online version, a challenging but overall fun experience.

Team Challenges
My family has taken this time to keep in touch with extended family members as well. Through Marco Polo, a video messaging app, each group of cousins takes turns challenging the other families to post a video in the group. The first challenge was a family dance challenge, where each family choreographed and performed a 30+ second clip. Then we sent the videos to our grandparents, and they came up with their own categories of choreography, enthusiasm, costuming, and more to rank each performance. I’m proud to say that my family got top marks for enthusiasm when the dog showed up wearing sunglasses for the opening. We’ve also done challenges for mimicking old family photos, recreating a movie scene, and re-writing the lyrics to a song to reflect our social distancing experiences. The challenges are a great way to stay in touch, keep younger cousins busy, and see everyone’s creative side!

Start A Series
Now that we know that many of our gatherings will continue online, what better time to start a series with someone. Netflix Party is one app that allows different users to simultaneously watch the same content. If the content is not through Netflix, there is also a screen-share option through video chat. Anything from TV shows to different movie series, Friends to Harry Potter. Having a series is a nice way to keep continuity and to ensure that you regularly stay in touch with your watch group, because you can’t not watch the next installment!

These are only a few examples of the many ways we’ve learned to keep in touch as the world changes. And even in the future, as things open back up, I look forward to continuing to use these strategies to maintain relationships. Hopefully, you can take advantage of some of these suggestions or come up with some creative ones of your own!

Bethany

Some Things Never Change
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I began my journey at USC four years ago as a wide-eyed freshman in the Bachelor’s-to-Master’s Occupational Therapy program. I had no idea back then what a difference the next few years would make. The first life-changing decision I made took place even before Welcome Week started: I started Band Camp with the Trojan Marching Band. I fell in love with the passion students carry for their school. As classes began, I found that I had my own passion in OT, one that not as many people understood. So I quickly learned to share my story of finding what is, in my opinion, the perfect way to channel creativity to help others.

I learned to support the spirit of the university and to advocate for occupational therapy, and I decided that I wanted to do both of these more vocally. My sophomore year, I became a Student Ambassador and Tour Guide in the Admission Center, doing my best to encapsulate my entire USC experience in 90 minute tours. I also spent a summer as a Student Ambassador for the Chan Division.

Then came a unique transition. As a Bachelor’s-to-Master’s student, I spent my senior year in the first year of the Master’s program. Through the challenge of finding balance between finding closure and starting anew, I realized that my desire to help others better understand what OT and USC would look like for them had not changed. So here I am. Back again as a Student Ambassador for the Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. And I couldn’t be more excited to share my experience with all of you!

Bethany

First Day of Classes
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This is it. The end of summer. The end of long sunny days, home-made lemonade, and sleeping in (except, of course, on weekends). The end of drive-in movies with old high school friends. The end of unscheduled days and reading stacks upon stacks of fiction novels. At least for now.

But it’s the start of something else. Junior year has begun, folks, and it’s time to get back to the grind. I’ve learned so much this summer about my favorite occupations, USC life in the summer, and different areas of occupational therapy. I’ve been able to meet so many different people from so many different backgrounds, all with a passion for helping people.

But I’m looking forward to where this semester is headed, and once I finish this semester, I only have one more until I’m taking all OT classes. It is strange to be thinking about not having music courses, general education writing courses, or even business courses in my schedule. But it will be nice to have a chance to really focus on occupational therapy. This semester, I’m starting to finish up classes for my minors in USC’s Marshall School of Business and Thornton School of Music. I’m looking forward to my Global Leadership class. I’m even taking a course in Hip Hop Music and Culture! I get to take the OT Foundations classes throughout this next year, starting with Foundations: Occupation and Foundations: Kinesiology in the fall. My Foundations: Occupation class is even at USC’s Center for Occupation and Lifestyle Redesign! I’m excited to be able to start building the foundations for what I will need in the Master’s program and beyond.

Fall also means football season and move-in day for the out-of-state and out-of-country friends I haven’t seen in a while. It will be nice to get back to the business and bustle that is campus life, this time as an upperclassman!

As a new season starts, readers, keep Fighting On!

Bethany

Band Camp
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It’s the week before school, and what better way to spend it than preparing for the upcoming football season! The Trojan Marching Band has its Band Camp where we practice all the moves and music to start off our season strong. Members of the marching band come from every school at USC (Surprisingly, the most represented school is our Viterbi School of Engineering.) Some have never even played their instrument before. We’ve got one week to get ready to cheer our team on to Victory. Our incoming freshman get to learn our amazing fight song and of course, the incredible Tusk.

The band doesn’t take the responsibility of being the Spirit of Troy lightly. Not only do we have Band Camp, we also have practice four times a week, preparing new shows for the field. We play at every single football game, home or away. And we do our best to support the rest of the Trojan Family, too, whether that means going to basketball, volleyball, water polo, tennis, or even baseball games.

It is truly Trojan weather, so we make sure to bring Hydroflasks of ice to practice to refill the CamelBacks we bring on the field. A lot of work goes in to being the Greatest Marching Band in the History of the Universe (Ever!) In the end, it’s all worth it. Come see us and support our Team when football season kicks off! FIGHT ON!

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