University of Southern California
University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Student Blog | Kaho


Checking In
Posted , by Kaho

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First of all, I’d like to start off by saying that it’s good to be “back!” It’s been a while since I last wrote a blog and been back on my regular class and work schedule. For the second years, the first 2 weeks of March were allocated to our Leadership Externship and the week after that was spring break, so I hadn’t been in classes for 3 weeks. Now, I’m “in class” virtually and it’s different, but we’re all making it work.

March has been a wild ride. It began with my externship to Ghana being cancelled and scrambling to find an alternative experience. That all honestly feels like months ago, as I’ve been sitting at my work-from-home set up in my living room for 2 weeks now with all sense of time or day of the week gone. In the past several weeks, I’ve come across so many tips and resources on how to stay healthy mentally and physically during this difficult time for everyone and I’m sure you have too. I want to add to your resource list by connecting you to blogs written by USC students outside of the Chan Division (here) because I’ve gotten questions on how USC students are handling the situation!
On this website, you’ll find more tips on how to stay healthy, connected, engaged, and successful in school, regardless of whether you’re an undergraduate student or graduate student and what program you’re in.

Specifically, for me as a student in the OT program, I’ve dealt with the situation similarly to other people. I’m engaging in indoor activities such as board games, puzzles, cooking, reading, and journaling. I go on a run or walk outside at least once a day, while making sure to maintain at least 6 ft between myself and whoever I cross paths with. Home workout videos have also been a huge help. I’m trying to exceed last year’s running mile count of 550 this year and am planning on signing up for my second half marathon once this lockdown is over, so that I have a goal to work towards during this time I don’t feel as productive and I have something to keep propelling me forward. I attend lectures through Zoom and for classes that require a hands-on clinical experience, the professors have come up with alternative assignments such as case studies and video analyses. I make sure to only spend 10-15 min each morning to read up on COVID-19 news and I’ve found that to be sufficient to stay informed and updated, but not overwhelmed. I’ve also cut back on my screen time on my phone by setting time limits on all social media apps. That has helped control the flooding of information and kept me active. Lastly, I’ve been using Zoom and other webcam apps to stay connected with friends and family. With family in Japan, calling over webcam isn’t new for me, but it’s been especially important in these recent weeks.

Many things that I’ve learned in OT school such as ergonomics, creativity, and the effects of occupational deprivation have been challenged and tested during this lockdown, so it’s been an interesting first-hand learning experience. I’ve also gotten to see the essential role of OT in a global pandemic, which has further deepened my love and appreciation for the profession. I hope you all are staying healthy and like many, I am looking forward to the day I can study and roam around campus again with all of my old and new (congrats to the class of 2022!) colleagues. Student ambassadors are still working regularly remotely so as always, email us with any questions or concerns!


Throwback Thursday
Posted , by Kaho

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As I was brainstorming what to write for my upcoming blog posts, I found myself at a complete blank. Nothing came to mind. I thought, what unique information can I provide as a student? As an ambassador? Social media chair? Then, a lightbulb switched on. Why don’t I take advantage of the data I’ve learned to analyze this year and make a compilation of other amazing blog posts? So, here we are. Here are the top 10 most popular blog posts from past and current student ambassadors (from Jan 1, 2015 through today), according to page views by you all! There are some oldies but goodies and they’re all definitely worth a read, so check them out.

  1. How to write a personal statement
  2. How to explain what occupational therapy is
  3. A Leadership Externship experience in South Korea
  4. A breakdown of the workload/life of an OT student
  5. Pros and cons of living at Currie Hall
  6. Pros of living in OT House vs. Pros of living somewhere else
  7. A different Leadership Externship experience in South Korea
  8. Pros and Cons of living in OT House
  9. Incorporating yoga into occupational therapy
  10. The role of occupational therapy in oncology

Hope you find these helpful!


What’s a Student Ambassador?
Posted , by Kaho

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Tis the exciting season of student ambassador application and interviews for the 2020-2021 academic year! In that spirit, I thought I’d share a little bit about what I do and what I’ve enjoyed while fulfilling my role as one of this year’s student ambassadors. There are several responsibilities that are shared among the entire team and some that I am specifically responsible for.


  • Blogs
    All of the student ambassadors take turns writing and posting blogs, such as this one. We’re free to write about anything, as long as it’s appropriate. I was nervous at first because I don’t consider myself a writer, but it’s a really fun way to share your thoughts/experiences and get creative while you’re at it. Some ambassadors have shared blogs in the form of videos, pictures, interviews, etc. It’s also exciting when friends, family, or even strangers tell you that they read and enjoyed one of your blogs. 😊
  • Tours
    We’re assigned to give tours to prospective students depending on who is in the office when needed. Usually, we take the students to the main campus (UPC) and tour them around the Division’s Center for Occupation and Lifestyle Redesign and OT House, and then tour them around the Health Sciences Campus. I love getting to know different prospective students, hearing about their passion, and getting to share my experiences as a USC student too. I also enjoyed learning about the Chan Division’s history in order to prepare for the tours. I now have random interesting facts about USC stored in my back pocket if I ever need a topic for conversation.
  • Info Sessions / Big Events
    If you’ve ever signed up for an info session, you most likely met a student ambassador sitting in on the session. We get to chime in about what each course in the MA2 program covers, our experiences, and student life. This is another opportunity to meet all kinds of prospective students. At big events where a lot of helping hands are needed, we all work, like the admitted students reception and white coat ceremony. Though it’s a busy day, it’s exciting and fun to be working with the whole team. I love the feeling I get after finishing a successful event and sharing it with everyone.
  • Answering emails
    Throughout the year, we get various emails with questions regarding the application process, program overview, events, etc. Everyone checks the student ambassador email account when they come into the office to work and answer those emails or refer them to someone that can.


  • Managing Social Media
    I collaborate with Kim Kho (AKA our boss) weekly to come up with content to share to our social media platforms. We look up national and international holidays, month-long observances, and relevant events happening around the Division and USC. The idea is to feature students and faculty of the Division to inform the general public of what’s happening in our program. I’ve loved being able to stay up-to-date with all that’s happening at USC Chan and interviewing various students and faculty about the amazing things they’re doing. It’s also super interesting to analyze the data from social media, like who are our viewers, how many interactions are we getting per post, etc. I wasn’t a huge social media person before getting this position, but I’ve learned so much about advertising, taking the right picture, coming up with captions, and the internet in general and I’ve really enjoyed all my tasks. (Follow us on instagram! @uscchanosot)
  • Meet the Trojan Family
    Every Tuesday, we feature a student from our OS minor, bachelors to master’s, MA1, MA2, OTD, or PhD programs to celebrate the diversity in talents and backgrounds of the students. I collect the students’ submissions and make sure the post goes up on our website on time. (If you’re interested in being featured, email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  😉 )

I love being a student ambassador because I get to learn more about the program, see the hard-work that goes on behind the scenes to improve our program and admissions process, and I get to share about and advocate for our profession. It’s made me a better communicator and public speaker, polished my time-management skills, sharpened my leadership skills, and introduced me to the best ambassadors team a girl could ask for. I’m super thankful that I had the opportunity this year to help represent the Chan Division and I’m looking forward to welcoming in the new team for next year!

ambassadors team 2019-2020

Ambassadors Team of 2019-2020


The 2020 (course) Elections
Posted , by Kaho

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Welcome back everyone, and happy 2020! I hope you all had a restful and restoring winter break. I flew home to Japan for the full four weeks and I got to travel all over with my family. I spent some time in northern Japan, snowboarding and skiing in the snowy mountains, as well as in Japan’s southernmost tropical island, scuba diving and sightseeing! I feel like I experienced all four seasons in four weeks. Now I’m back in school, my jetlag has passed, and I am officially back on the grind. I’m beginning my last semester of classes for the master’s program, which means (as many of you may know)… electives! The Chan Division offers a wide variety of elective courses to choose from and these courses prepare you in specialty areas that you may want to pursue once you get out into the real world. You also have the option to take courses in other USC schools, such as the school of business, public policy, arts and sciences, etc. I’ll share with you today the courses that I’m taking, but past ambassadors have also written blog posts about what classes they took so be sure to check those out if you’re interested in learning more about what goes on in each class.

  • OT 561: Occupation Therapy in Acute Care
    For anyone interested in working in hospitals eventually or anyone interested in learning the more medical side of OT, this class is fantastic. This course goes over various systems of the human body and the implications for therapy when a person has issues in any of them. You get a sneak peek into the exciting and fast-paced life of an acute care OT and even get to observe it first hand through the clinical hands-on portion of the class! Similar to Level 1 fieldwork, you get paired with a clinical instructor at Keck Hospital and you get to follow them for several sessions throughout the semester. We learn the names of common illnesses and their treatments, medical devices, and so on. Even though I’ve only sat through two lectures for this course so far, I already know that it’s going to be one of my favorites.
  • OT 578: Therapeutic Communication for the Healthcare Practitioner
    This course can be beneficial for anyone, regardless of what setting you’re interested in going into. You honestly don’t even have to be pursuing OT to benefit from this course. It trains you in a skill called Motivational Interviewing, which is a therapeutic communication style that can be used to facilitate change in clients. It also covers mindfulness practices, which can be a tool for myself as well in my own daily life. I know it’s going to make me a more effective communicator and a better listener for my friends, family, and clients so I’m really excited to learn more and practice. 
  • OT 579: Occupation-Based Adult Neurorehabilitation
    During my fieldwork experiences, I had the opportunity to work with several patients with spinal cord injuries and strokes. It can be devastating to lose function in your arms and legs and as you can imagine, OT can play a huge role in these people’s recoveries. This course teaches you and lets you practice various assessments that you may use in a neurorehab setting. We learn to analyze movement and consider how neurological impairments interfere with people’s ability to engage in meaningful occupations. It’s hands-on; students practice on each other while the professor demonstrates, and it’s all really interesting. As someone that wants to work in a variety of fields within the adult population, preferably in a hospital, this course supplies me with knowledge and skills that I know will come in handy during my career.

There are so many other classes that I was interested in taking, but time and the allowed number of units forced me to pick and choose. If you’re interested in learning about all the elective courses, check out the Chan website. I’m enjoying all of my classes so far, so I know it’s going to be a fast, exciting semester. And then I graduate! 😮 Have a great semester, everyone.


Wrapping Up with Thanks
Posted , by Kaho

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I hope everyone had a relaxing and long Thanksgiving weekend surrounded by friends and family! Students of the Chan Division are back for their final week of classes and are sprinting to the finish line as they prepare for presentations, final papers, and exams. It’s a time of high stress, but I want to try to soak in the warm soothing vibes from Thanksgiving for a little while longer.

I spent my Thanksgiving this year with my boyfriend’s family here in SoCal. My family is far, far away in Japan and the holidays can be a lonely time for international students like me, so I’m really grateful to have been able to get that home-with-family feeling with lots of home cooked food. My cohort, Cohort A, also had a Friendsgiving potluck that week. I found out that everyone is a master chef and we had like… a century’s worth of food. It was amazing. Our professors, Dr. Diaz and Dr. Gunter, prepared turkey and ham for us too, so I’m not exaggerating when I say we had a FEAST.

cutting turkey

Dr. Diaz and my classmate, Daniel, cutting the turkey

cohort group picture

My favorite cohort 😉

*Sorry for the blurry photos, my phone has terrible quality*

As this semester comes to an end, I’m reflecting on all that’s happened (classes, fieldwork in pediatrics, elective courses selection, OTD application, externship planning, student ambassador events, etc. oh my) and how quickly these past 4 months or so have flown by. To be honest, this whole year and a half since I started the program has flown by. I can’t believe that I’ll be done with my final immersion by the end of next week and I only have one semester left until I graduate. I know that next semester will feel even faster because it’s filled with exciting elective courses and I’ll be working lots of events. Although I have an indefinite list of things that I’m thankful for, this year, I’m especially thankful for the friends that I’ve made and become closer to through the program, the opportunity to pursue my passion and study OT at USC, my teachers and mentors, my family that never fails to support and encourage me no matter how far they are, my support system back in San Diego from undergrad, and my good health/able body. I’m heading home to Japan over winter break and my annual family reunion is waiting for me on the other side of finals. It’s been a whole year since I’ve seen them, so I’m beyond excited and motivated to get through these last two weeks. I hope everyone has a great holiday season and good luck on finals! Finish strong!

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