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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
Jessica P.

Jessica P.

Freshman Fall Bucket List ⟩
August 1, 2017, by Jessica P.

Getting Involved Living in LA School/Life Balance

In just a few short weeks, our incoming class of Bachelor to Master’s students will officially be Trojans as they begin their freshman year. While freshman year can be overwhelming, it is also one of the best times of your life. From navigating a new campus to dorms and dining halls, there is so much to be immersed in at USC from the start. Here are my recommendations for what you must do your freshman fall.

Attend Football Games
USC and football go hand in hand. Whether you are a football fan or not, game days are some of the best and most memorable days you will have at USC. Make sure to purchase your student football tickets!

USC football

Go to the Involvement Fair
Towards the beginning of the semester, USC will host an involvement fair where you can visit and learn about all of the student organizations on campus. Whether it’s joining the Pre-OT club, an intramural sports team, or a volunteer organization, there are limitless options to get involved on campus.

USC ice girls and hockey

Take a Random Class
Some of the best classes I have taken are ones that I would have never originally considered. One of my personal recommendations is taking a 1-unit physical education yoga class. I loved being able to take yoga as a part of my curriculum since it kept me active and stress-free!

Yoga class

Go to the Weekender
One of my favorite memories every year is attending the weekender. Each year, USC students head up to the Bay Area when our football team plays either Stanford or UC Berkeley. Taking a fun break to travel for the weekend is a great way to bond with your new friends and cheer on our Trojans.

USC weekender San Francisco

Find Your Study Spot
In order to play hard, it is even more important to work hard. Finding your best study environment may take awhile, but luckily USC has 23 libraries to choose from. My personal favorite is the philosophy library, located in Mudd Hall. If a library isn’t your vibe, try studying outdoors!

Mudd Hall

It is so easy to get overwhelmed your first semester of college, but that is totally normal! Adjusting to being apart of a new community will take time. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with all of the things you feel like you need to be doing. Find an activity that is relaxing for you — whether that’s exercising, binge-watching Netflix, or taking excessive naps.

Jessica P.

Choosing USC ⟩
July 28, 2017, by Jessica P.

Admissions Community Living in LA

This summer I have been super busy giving tours and bragging all about our OT program to potential Trojan OTs. I have been loving talking to potential Bachelor to Master’s, Entry-Level Master’s, OTD, and PhD students. One of the most asked questions is why I picked USC. I could go on for hours about how much I love being a USC OT student and how grateful I am to be able study what I love, at the university I love. Here are my top reasons why I chose USC:

  1. Trojan Family
    You will often hear fellow Trojans discussing the Trojan Family or our extremely strong alumni, but I truly did not understand this concept until I became a student here myself. Being a member of the Trojan Family is so much more than just sharing the connection of going to one of the best universities in the world. The Trojan Family really is a family in that no matter where you go in the world, you can immediately connect with someone.
  2. USC OSOT’s Reputation
    As one of the top-ranking OT programs, USC has always been at the forefront of innovation and research in occupational therapy. Not only did USC develop occupational science, they also created the unique Lifestyle Redesign program.
  3. Location, Location, Location
    As Trojans we are lucky enough to live in sunny Los Angeles. USC’s campus is only a short drive from local beaches, shopping, and entertainment. Living in the city we also have a plethora of resources at our disposal, whether that is looking for an internship, place to study, or just things to do on the weekend. And of course, having 70 degree weather in December isn’t too shabby.

Lastly, one of the biggest reasons is being a Trojan for life. I was born and raised a Trojan — growing up going to football games and yelling “Fight On!” at everyone I saw. After years of dreaming of attending USC, it is finally a reality.

Trojan baby photo

Jessica P.

My Summer Reading List ⟩
July 20, 2017, by Jessica P.

Life Hacks What are OS/OT?

One of my all time favorite occupations is reading. Growing up, I would spend countless nights awake binge reading books. Now, as a college student, I have less and less time to indulge in free reading books. I typically use my summers to catch up on my never ending reading list. This summer, many of the books I have read have occupational therapy undertones.

I have read so many amazing books this summer so I am sharing my top must-read books for Summer 2017!

My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey
by Jill Bolte Taylor

I first heard Taylor’s story by watching her TED talk, in which the Harvard brain scientist details her experience suffering a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. The novel delves even deeper into her personal experience with the balance between the two hemispheres of her brain.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
by Jean-Dominique Bauby

Written by the former Editor in Chief of French Elle Magazine, Bauby describes his own experience of locked-in syndrome, which he develops after a stroke. Bauby is physically paralyzed and can only communicate through blinking his left eye. It is a refreshing look at what recovery means from a patient perspective.

Goodbye Things book cover

Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism
by Fumio Sasaki

Minimalism was first popularized by Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Sasaki’s book differs in that he gives personal anecdotes on how he has decluttered his life, as well as the psychological benefits he has experienced. With a whole section on tips to minimalize your own life, this book is a great tool for students to get organized and ready for the upcoming school year.

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
by Paul Tough

I originally read this book in Kate Crowley’s course, OT 320: The Nature of Human Occupation: Form, Function, and Meaning, however I decided to re-read it again to refresh myself on it. Tough’s book centers on some of the top youth chess players across the country and the one characteristic that they have in common: grit.

Jessica P.

Summer In Full Swing ⟩
July 5, 2017, by Jessica P.

Admissions Classes Fieldwork International

Summer is in full swing and we have been busy keeping up with all of the exciting things happening at Chan!

Just a few weeks ago we had the pleasure of officially welcoming our class of 2019 to the Trojan family! Our new Trojan OTs are busy this summer taking courses in kinesiology, neuroscience, foundations of occupation and creativity, craft, and activity analysis.

USC Orientation Week

USC Orientation Week

USC Orientation Welcome

USC Orientation Welcome

Summer CAs Fighting On

Summer CAs fighting on

Our continuing students have also been busy completing their Level II Fieldwork at various sites across the states.

Summer Level 2 Fieldwork — Ali

Summer Level 2 Fieldwork — Ali

One of our students, Ali, is completing her fieldwork at Coastside Pediatric Therapy Center. She loves learning about playing with a purpose and the science of development.

Summer Level 2 Fieldwork — Brynne and Kaitlyn

Summer Level 2 Fieldwork — Brynne and Kaitlyn

Two of our other students, Brynne and Kaitlyn, are completing their fieldwork at Assistance Dogs of Hawaii.

As a student ambassador I have been having a blast meeting all of our new and prospective students. Our Information Sessions are a great way for us to meet students and for them to learn more about our program.

Info Session 2017

Info Session 2017

This past weekend we also had the pleasure of welcoming 50 international OTs and OT students for our Summer Occupational Therapy Immersion (SOTI) Program. The participants will spend the next four weeks learning about OT in the United States, attend seminars, visit various OT sites, and of course enjoy all of the fun that Los Angeles has to offer!

SOTI Welcome BBQ 2017

SOTI Welcome BBQ 2017

With summer half way over, we are excited to fight on and enjoy the next few weeks full of sunshine and OT fun!

Jessica P.

Falling in Love with OT ⟩
May 31, 2017, by Jessica P.

Admissions What are OS/OT?

For my first blog post, I wanted to share my story of how I discovered and fell in love with occupational therapy.

Ever since I was young, I always knew I wanted a career that involved helping others, specifically children. At the beginning of high school I volunteered at the local hospital and really enjoyed being in the healthcare setting, but I didn’t know if being a doctor was the right path for me. I heard about a summer camp for children with special needs and decided to be a camp counselor. As a counselor, I was paired one-on-one with my buddy, spending time doing various activities and games which were facilitated by occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech-language pathologists. For the next four summers, I volunteered at the camp and it continued to confirm my passion for working with children.

I knew what I wanted out of a career, but I was still unsure exactly which path to pursue. Deciding to come to USC was an easy choice for me, as I was raised a Trojan from birth and most of my family attended the university. I entered USC as a freshman majoring in Psychology and began to take classes in the Occupational Science minor. I also had the opportunity to shadow a pediatric occupational therapist in an outpatient clinic, which was when I knew occupational therapy was exactly what I wanted to be doing. I decided to transfer into the Bachelor to Master’s Occupational Therapy major as a junior and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made, second to coming to USC.

As a progressive degree student, I have had many opportunities to take OT classes as well as courses in areas I am also interested in — such as psychology, human rights, and performance science. I am so grateful to have found a profession that allows me to combine my passions and empower others to live their best lives. I can’t wait to continue to learn and grow as an occupational therapy student and share my experiences with you.

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