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USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Student Blog


Fight On for Mental Health! ⟩
October 21, 2019, by Japeth

Life Hacks What are OS/OT?

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.

Group photo after watching Joker

Fight On for Mental Health!

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! ⟩
October 2, 2019, by Japeth

Living in LA

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.

Pre-hike group photo

This is our pre-hike group photo! We all still look fresh here! LOL

This was taken halfway to the top!

This was taken halfway to the top!! We all look kind of tired already but surely, we will not give up!! #FightOn!

Finally at the top!

Finally at the top!! We look extra happy and fulfilled!

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.

Filipinos and Taiwanese enjoying Arabic food: what a beautiful way to embrace culture and diversity!

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.

Los Angeles at night

Los Angeles at night. Lovely as ever!

Until next time, fight on!


Dreams are our Reality ⟩
September 18, 2019, by Japeth

Diversity Getting Involved International Living in LA

As I previously mentioned, USC Chan really knows how to welcome each and every student. Everyone makes sure that students feel the warmth and excitement of the entire Chan Division. Another way of them welcoming the international students is the Annual Welcome party at the Program Director’s house! We are very lucky to be able to spend time together as a cohort, together with Dr. Sarah Bream, Dr. Daniel Park, Dr. Emily Ochi, and other OT students from the Global Initiatives.

This is a group photo of the students of MA1 Program together with Dr. Ochi and Dr. Park. Also in this photo are OT students who work for the USC Chan Global Initiatives.

This is a group photo of the students of MA1 Program together with Dr. Ochi and Dr. Park. Also in this photo are OT students who work for the USC Chan Global Initiatives

It was kind enough of the faculty to prepare a bus ride, food (both meat and vegetarian!), desserts, and games! While Dr. Ochi was busy preparing the snacks and desserts and Dr. Park was also busy grilling the burger patties, the students from Global Initiatives made sure that we take time to get to know each other more and learn from everyone’s experiences. We played a game called “Two truths and a lie”. In this game, each of us needed to say two honest statements that pertain to ourselves and a lie that should really sound like an honest statement too! Here’s the catch: the more the lie sounds real, the more everyone gets confused, and of course the more the game gets exciting!

After the game, Dr. Park called us to go to the backyard to start eating! (I actually ate two vegetable patties and one meat patty, that’s how yummy they were!!) Now, I’m sure you are wondering how the title is connected to this content . . . hang on, were getting there! The highlight of this welcome bbq party, to me, was not just the yummy food or the games. It was the part where we had to write on a piece of paper, things about us and our dreams or wishes for this academic year. Most of us had a graduation wish among our three wishes. Of course, who doesn’t want to graduate, right? Almost all of us had the same wishes and it made us all feel even more connected with each other. Dr. Ochi and Dr. Park also shared their own work! All I can say is that both of them are genuine and caring occupational therapists that act not only as our mentors, but also our family away from home.

 Dr. Emily Ochi, the MA1 Program Director, shared how excited she is to work with us. She fondly tells us how lucky we are to be in a very diverse class where we can learn from each other's background.

Dr. Emily Ochi, the MA1 Program Director, shared how excited she is to work with us. She fondly tells us how lucky we are to be in a very diverse class where we can learn from each other’s background.

I am sure that after a year filled with fun and learning, our dreams will turn into our reality!



Finding Family in Diversity ⟩
September 4, 2019, by Japeth

Diversity International

Moving out of your comfort zone to attend a university away from home is a huge change and thus, very challenging. Although for some, it might be an exciting milestone, others may be very anxious about it. For me, I had to experience so many changes at once. However, what kept me going during my first few weeks in LA was the support that I constantly received from any family and their physical presence here in LA at my most crucial adjustment phase. When they went home to the Philippines, it felt as though everything now is on me. I must say that living far away from home is a tough choice to make.

Most of my cohort have the same sentiments with me. We all came from different parts of the world and we are now living on our own in this beautiful city. We have known each other for just a week now, but we found the comfort of our homes in the arms of one another. Isn’t it amazing when we just met new people but it feels like we have known them for so long? One week has passed but I am looking forward to a very exciting and fruitful year together with my cohort!

This is all of us during the White Coat Ceremony last August 23, 2019. Our cohort consists of students from the Philippines, India, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the US.

White Coat Ceremony, August 23, 2019

I would like to share our other photos too!

If you have questions about the Post-Professional Master of Arts Degree, feel free to contact me through my email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Finding Family in Diversity

Finding Family in Diversity

Finding Family in Diversity

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