Student Blog | Japeth
Winter Break with the cohort!
Posted Jan 17, 2020, by Japeth
After the stressful finals week, some of my classmates organized an out-of-state trip to Utah to visit two national parks: Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. Driving to Utah takes about 8 to 9 hours, depending on the traffic, speed, and of course the rest breaks! So, we decided to do a stop over in Las Vegas and to eat lunch there, since Las Vegas is also known for its sumptuous buffets everywhere. By the way, driving from LA to Vegas takes about 4 to 5 hours.
After having lunch, we all decided to go back on the road and head to Utah. From Las Vegas to Utah, it took us almost five hours to get there. On the way to Utah from Vegas, we passed by Arizona – and the view is very relaxing! I am sharing some snaps of the view but my apologies if they are unclear, since the car was moving when I took them.
We rented an Airbnb and surprisingly, the house was big enough to accommodate us all. One thing that made the house extra special was the hot tub that was available for use!
First day: Off to Zion National Park
In this national park, you can choose as many trails a you want to enjoy; but given our time shortage, we chose one of the easiest but beautiful trails there was: The Watchman Trail. This trail typically takes about less than 3 hours going back and forth. However, it took us more than four hours because we enjoyed so much on taking pictures almost in every good spot we find along the way.
When we finally reached the top, of course, we took more photos! We stayed on top for 30 minutes, enjoying the view while eating our snacks. The snow covering the mountains made the view extra beautiful. The sun being extra sunny that day, helped so much in braving the cold weather.
To end the day, we looked for a local coffee shop to warm ourselves up; and even the coffee shop did not fail to surprise us! The place was so beautiful, and they have a balcony area where you can sit outside, have your coffee, while looking at the lake and mountains.
Day 2: Bryce Canyon National Park – Sunrise Trail
This trail was amazingly beautiful as well! We started from the top and we trailed down. Just when I thought that in order to see the beautiful view, we need to reach the top first, this trail proved me otherwise. Going down from the top made me appreciate the scenic view too! It goes to show that sometimes, we shouldn’t just focus on the beginning or the end; rather, we can also focus on the journey and enjoy every moment with the people we are with.
Here are photos of us before and after the hike!
From the visitor center near the starting point of the Sunrise Trail, we drove a few miles from there going to Sunset Point – another point at the national park where the sunset is really gorgeous.
This trip will always have a special place in my heart and memory. Being with my classmates outside the classroom was a different kind of experience. It was a joy to be with them for several days and I certainly wish for more trips with them. Also in this trip, two other Trojan friends joined us: Nana Lin who is a Masters in Microbiology and Immunology student, and Eden Lin who is also doing her Masters in Computer Science.
Until our next adventure, Fight On!
I am thankful for…
Posted Nov 25, 2019, by Japeth
November is thanksgiving season in American culture, and what better way to celebrate it than by having dinner with friends at the USC Chan division? Last Friday (November 22), the Global Initiatives team was thoughtful enough to organize an early thanksgiving dinner with the students and some faculty and staff of USC Chan. It was a wonderful way for us to de-stress and be with everyone. Everybody found something to do to help as we prepared the food!
I asked my friends who grew up here about thanksgiving and their answer in a nutshell is… its a time for us all to think of what has been great and why you’re thankful about it; some may also consider what did not work out or what failed if they see it as a blessing in disguise.
Honestly, when you’re facing a lot of stress and tons of schoolwork to do and on top of that, life gets in the way - what is there to be thankful about, right? But again, how we perceive things greatly affects how we feel and how we react to them. Last week too, while I was hearing the mass, the priest was preaching on how to live not on the ‘what if’, but live on the ‘even if’. Is this the universe trying to intervene? Hmmm.
With that being said, I took some time to do a thanksgiving reflection, and what I realized is something that I cannot discredit myself: one thing that happened to me this year that I am most thankful for is being able to take my MA and being able to thrive in a totally new environment. Its difficult but its doable, especially if you are with the right people!
If I may ask you, what are you thankful for?
We don’t want tricks; we just want treats!
Posted Nov 13, 2019, by Japeth
As someone from the other side of the world, I haven’t had a legit Halloween experience. So when my cohort asked if we were down for some trick or treating, we immediately said yes! Everyone was just so excited because it was something that’s new to most of us.
Last Halloween, we had two celebrations: the first one was during our Quantitative class and the second one was when we went to Pasadena to do trick or treats. Dr. Myka Winder organized a potluck lunch for the MA1 cohort. We brought our food to share to everyone and Dr. Myka baked Halloween pumpkin cookies using their own family recipe! It was really delicious… like I ate 4 of it. I love how our professors at USC Chan practice occupational balance.
Now this is the part that I always look forward when blogging – sharing with you all the pictures!
Until our next adventure, Fight On!
Fight On for Mental Health!
Posted Oct 21, 2019, by Japeth
Among all the months in a year, my most favorite is October. Aside from it being my birthday month, it is also a time for advocates of mental health to further raise awareness about it. Advocating for mental health is not easy, and sometimes it even feels like an uphill climb. For some, it is an issue that can be disregarded easily and for others, it can be very debilitating. For me, our mental health is just as important as our physical health and we owe it to ourselves to take care of it.
Last 2017, I joined a mental health awareness event at a hospital where I was doing my internship. We did some Tai Chi techniques and our leader talked about the effects of Tai Chi on relaxation. Last year, I became active in attending mental health talks and meetings together with some doctors and government officials. This year, to celebrate mental health awareness month, my friends and I decided to watch a movie: Joker.
My take on the movie:
(I am not a film critic; I am just using my OT lens!)
Producing a movie about mental health is a tough thing to do, since not everyone may appreciate it. However, kudos to the whole production team for a well portrayed movie. Joker, the character in the story, went through so much since he was young. Growing up, life was very tough for him. He did not have a good social support and his work environment was also very unsupportive and unhealthy. Moreover, society in general was kind of judgmental towards him and was not very accommodating to his needs. On the other hand, one thing I personally did not like about the movie was the part that the character started to fight back by being extra aggressive.
Moving away from the movie and talking about my own thoughts:
Mental health issues may stem from different sources – some may develop due to childhood trauma, stress and overwork, some may be genetically predisposed, et cetera. Having mental health issues is not wrong and it needs professional help from the right individuals. And we, occupational therapists, have a huge role in mental health practice. If we all move forward together, we can advance our role and collectively, we can help bring change in society.
The rise of mental health issues is growing dramatically over the years, but our response as a community is not at par with its rise, yet. However, knowing that a lot of people are becoming more active in advocating for it, I feel that we are not too far from a world that is more inclusive despite of mental health issues.
***Please note that the views expressed in this blog post are the opinion of the student and in no way represent an official position of USC Chan.***
Hike to Hollywood!
Posted Oct 2, 2019, by Japeth
Hiking is one of the best ways to exercise while looking at a nice view of nature! However, hiking can also be a very tiring occupation since it demands a lot of effort as we move around. Hiking to the Hollywood sign is just one of the many touristy things that anyone can do while they’re visiting Los Angeles. Last September 21, my classmates and I did the Hollywood hike. It took us nearly 2 hours to get to the top! It was indeed a very exhausting hike since we had to endure the heat of the sun but on the positive side, we all enjoyed each other’s company. There were times when some of us would stop whenever we find a spot shaded by the trees and make it as a short break and take it as a time for some jokes and small talks.
Hiking to the Hollywood sign on that day was actually our friends’ idea! Since our friends from Saudi Arabia were celebrating Saudi National Day and they were celebrating it by hiking, they were kind enough to invite us to join them. When we reached the top, we had some time to take selfies and pictures of each other. And needless to say, the view from the top was beautiful! We spent another hour at the top sitting and enjoying some Arabic Coffee, bread, and dates all the way from Saudi Arabia.
Of course, who wouldn’t be amazed by the ever-beautiful LA sunset? Sunsets are always a good view to see after a long day. To me, it brings so much peace and calmness. Sunsets always remind me that after a long and tiring day, we can all take a break and rest, and shine again the next day.
Until next time, fight on!