March 31, 2020
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, 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!