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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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Reframing Negativity


March 4, 2021
by Liz

Admissions Life Hacks

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After receiving my acceptance letter into the program I was super excited. I remember being out having a burger with a friend and getting an email notification from the department. I instantly felt my heart drop. At first, I didn’t even read the entire email — I literally saw the “congratulations” and felt so much joy. After actually reading the entire email (I had to make sure it was real), I called my parents, my sister, and my boyfriend to let them know the good news! They were so excited for me as they knew how much I wanted to get into the program. As weeks went by I continued to share the news with friends and family when I spent time with them. Being admitted to USC is a huge accomplishment and worth celebrating. We have the number one OT program — I mean, come on!

I was happy that everyone I love and care about was celebrating with me. But, on the road to starting the program (and still to this day), I get some really annoying comments about being a part of this program. After chatting with so many of you these past couple of weeks, I wanted to share the top 2 annoying comments that seem to pop up for so many of us. I want to share how I’ve reframed those two comments into something more positive.

Annoying comment #1: You’re spending THAT much money???
This also includes comments like “how much are you paying?”, “You’re going to be in debt”, “That’s so much money I could never do that”. I was once enjoying a night out with a group of friends and I remember ordering a brussels sprouts taco. A friend of a friend was there and asked me how much it was and I responded “$5”. He literally said “You shouldn’t be spending that much money on a taco when you’re in such heavy debt with your Master’s program”. My first instinct was to be like “what’s it to you???”. It was pretty annoying. It’s so hard to ignore comments that are constantly reminding you about things like this. I feel you guys when you share your concerns about the finances.

I have started reframing the way I think/feel about comments regarding money. First, it’s my dream!!! I really really want to be an OT. I am learning from the absolute best. And honestly, it’s really no one’s business how much money you or I are spending on it. Another plus: occupational therapy is recession proof! I am doing this for me.

Annoying comment #2: USC stands for — University of Spoiled Children
One time I was at the supermarket wearing my USC t-shirt and as I was shopping a man felt the need to say “Ha, university of spoiled children”. Sir, I am a brown woman that worked HARD to get here!!! Now, whether or not you’re a person of color and you get this comment — you worked hard.

I’ve reframed this by repeating a list of things I had to do to get here. I worked two jobs as an undergrad, I paid for summer sessions out of pocket to work on prerequisites, I stayed up numerous nights studying for school/the GRE, I spent countless hours at coffee shops working on personal statements. Another thing that helps is reminding myself that my parents are counting on me. They’ve worked far too much to support my goal of obtaining a higher education. They never ask for a single thing, but I am their retirement. So, no being spoiled did not get me here. It was my dedication and the support that I had from my family, friends, mentors, and professors.

So, yes there’s so many great things about being a USC student. But, let’s be real — someone always has something to say. Don’t let those things get to you. I cannot imagine anyone ever saying “Ugh, great. Got into USC”. You did this. So, reframe those comments. Wear your USC merch proudly, be excited, and fight on!