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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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Kate's Blog

Kate

Coming Soon: Graduation >

by Kate

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I am just into my 3rd week of classes, and tomorrow marks the end of January. However, it feels as if graduation is just around the corner. This semester is in full swing: I’ve had quizzes, papers and projects already due. Since we will be out of school for a total of 3 weeks in March due to the leadership externship and spring break, I feel as if April will sneak up on me and it will be May as soon as I blink. The students have been told of when our comprehensive exam will take place — May 5th — and now it’s up to us to go out with a bang!

Our comprehensive exam (the “comp” for short) is a 150 multiple choice test that covers 6 classes we have taken during our two years: Quantitative Research, Qualitative Research, Advanced Neuroscience, Health Promotion & Wellness, Leadership Capstone, and Advanced Seminar in Occupational Science. Students must pass the exam in order to graduate from the program. No big deal!!! (Just kidding!!)

I’m really excited to graduate from the program. I’m sure I will have a lot more to say as the time comes closer!

Kate

That One Time We Went To Vegas . . . >

by Kate

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“OT School” (as many of us call it) does not have to be all work and no play. Many of us student ambassadors (including myself many times over) have written about our lives OUTSIDE of the OT program. We like to present to you, the reader, that there is much more to being a USC graduate student than our studies (even if that’s a close majority). Especially as an OT student, we want to depict a picture of living balanced lives, where productivity, self-care, leisure and rest are to the levels that make us the best us we can be.

Well, sometimes, leading a balanced life means that you go to Las Vegas with 30 of your friends from the OT program. Our OTSC (Occupational Therapy Student Council) Social Chairs organized and arranged for the first and second years to stay at a very reasonable hotel and get into some great nightclubs. My fellow ambassador, Clarissa, is one of the social chairs and she did an amazing job!!

I roomed with three of my good friends that I met in the program. We dressed up and went to a club on Friday night where we danced and celebrated. It was so fun to be out with them and be carefree. On Saturday, some of our friends from the first year of the program went hiking. My friends and I, however, decided to take part in a Las Vegas tradition: the all-you-can-eat buffet. It was so yummy!!!! Even though we all had stomachaches afterwards, it was so great to experience world-class food together! Saturday night we all headed out to another club where we danced and had fun; after some late night food at 12:30 am, it was time to call it a night. We were on the road back to Los Angeles the next day at 9 am. It was such a fun trip and I’m so glad I took part in it.

Here’s a picture of me and Clarissa!!

Kate

Learning More About Occupational Science >

by Kate

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Sometimes it’s difficult to find other people who know what occupational therapy is, but think about the mystery that is occupational SCIENCE. People look at me like I’ve misspoke when I tell them more about our Division at USC and the classes I am currently taking. “Occupational science? What is that? Do you use microscopes and test tubes?” Not exactly. We have been introduced to the concept of occupational science since our first semester, but now as second-year students, we are all taking a Seminar in Occupational Science 2-unit course. Today I will be attending my second class of the semester, and the experience thus far has been really interesting!

From what I know, the concept of occupational science was actually founded at the University of Southern California in the 1980s when the university offered PhD degrees in the field for the first time. It’s crazy to think that our school has been such a leader in our profession!! Occupational science can roughly be defined as the study of human activities (occupations) and how participation and engagement in these activities impacts our lives. This class is really helping to bring all the concepts we have learned over 2 years into full circle.

Kate

The OTD: It’s Happening! >

by Kate

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I recently got accepted into the OTD program here at USC and I couldn’t be more excited. Coming into the Master’s program, I was unsure if I wanted to extend my schooling at obtain the doctorate once I had completed my two years. I felt that I would be ready to get into the working world and become the best OT I could be. After hearing so much about how our profession is escalating towards the doctorate at entry-level, I had to re-think if I wanted to pursue the OTD now, or come back later. There were many thoughts that went through my head, and pros and cons that I had to weigh. In the end, however, I applied and thought, “Let the universe decide!” Well, the universe came back and said, “Do the OTD!”

As I have mentioned in the past, I am interested in occupational therapy in the primary care setting, as well as acute care/rehabilitation in hospitals. I am working with the director of the doctorate program to secure my residency at a primary care site in downtown Los Angeles. There are few opportunities for OT in primary care right now, but I have faith that I can advocate for a position where I can help patients live their best lives through lifestyle changes. I’m excited to take on the challenge of securing a residency and advocating for OT. I’m also excited to take this next step in my own education. I know that having a doctorate degree will elevate me in relation to my peers in the medical and therapeutic field (many physical therapists now have a doctorate degree).

I can’t wait to be Kate Holford, OTR/L, OTD! 2015 can’t come soon enough!

Kate

An Exciting Semester Ahead! >

by Kate

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After a very relaxing and restorative winter break, I am now ready to kick off my last semester as a Master’s student with a big bang! Although it is always tough to get back into a routine of waking up early and studying on weekends, I know that this is the last 3 months before I’ll be in the “real world” of occupational therapy. This semester is different than others, too, because we are able to take electives in our specific area of interest. By doing so, we can develop our niche in the field of occupational therapy, which will help us in our own clinical practice.

This semester, I am taking Lifestyle Redesign and a special elective at the Occupational Therapy Faculty Practice so that I can implement some of these techniques into a group session. I’m also taking a Motivational Interviewing class in order to improve my communication in a therapeutic manner. My other elective is a special topics course in occupational therapy in acute care. This class is really neat because alongside a weekly lecture/lab combination, we spend four hours per week in a hospital setting at USC’s Keck Medical Center.

This semester I am also excited for our leadership externship that is associated with our Leadership Capstone course. I am going to Ghana with a group of about 40 other students and practicing occupational therapists. We will be working with children with disabilities at a special school and training center. I’m very much looking forward to gaining a global view on the opportunities for those with special needs.

All in all, I couldn’t be happier with my schedule this semester. The classes I have chosen and the adventures that await me are challenging yet exciting.

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