So You’re in LA. What To Do? >
January 17, 2022
Here we go, my first blog of the year! If you read my last blog (which was the last blog of 2021), I said that one of my new year’s resolutions is to take more photos around Los Angeles and to explore new places. I would like to preface this blog by saying that I am an international student and by no means am I a pro at being an LA person. You may be reading this because you’re also an international student, or maybe not even an LA native, but I hope this list can help build your experience here in LA. Personally, as an international student, this is my first time staying in LA for as long as I have. Now while I am still trying to navigate the logistics for 2022 (being sensitive that there is still very much a pandemic going on), I am privileged to have been able to experience LA, even just a tiny bit. Allow me to show you some of my favorite experiences that I have had so far, and how YOU can do it too!
#1: Having a yummy meal in Downtown LA
In LA, there’s a bunch of food spots that you can go try. All I did was hit Google with the keywords, “top places to eat in LA”. From there, you can find a ton of places to eat with food that can be both inexpensive and delicious! Food blogs and YouTube videos have helped me find out cool spots too!
#2: Watching a USC football game with friends
Nothing screams America more than American Football. And don’t worry if you don’t understand the sport. You’ll be surprised to find that there are a bunch of people who watch and yet do not understand what’s going on. I do encourage you to just go in the stadium and feel the school spirit looming around. It’s one of the best feelings to experience as a Trojan! I will say, it’s been quite helpful to watch with someone who actually knows the sport so they can explain things as they happen. (I did my homework prior, and it has been helpful too!)
#3, Experience the social activities (safely, of course)
As an international student, it is also crucial to create good relationships with your fellow students here in Chan. I am so lucky to be working with such a fun, diverse group of people who share the same passion as I have in occupational therapy. Attend events organized by amazing offices such as Global Initiatives. Just put yourself out there, and you’ll quickly realize that there are a bunch of similar-minded people in LA that’s for sure will make you have the best time.
#4, Hike with your friends
You may or may not like physical activity, but I highly recommend you do at least one hike in LA. Wherever you hike, there are fantastic views and sights to see. You can easily look up fantastic places to hike up and you will be rewarded (almost always) with a breathtaking view of either California or even Los Angeles!
I can go on and on about the things I did so far in Los Angeles and things I recommend doing. And even for me, as I write this, I still have an abundance of activities I have yet to do! My mantra throughout this experience is that: “You are responsible for your own memories. Craft them, and let your stories paint the colors of your life.” You’ll thank yourself down the road with all the stories and memories you have made.
Let me know what you think! If you need more recommendations, keep in touch with me and the rest of the ambassadors at our social media @USCChanOSOT on Instagram. Looking forward to hearing from you! Until then, Fight On!
TwentyTwenty-ONE: The Ambassador Year Round-Up >
December 31, 2021
Happy DAY ONE (and sadly last) day of Blog-mas! It has been such a blast reading everyone’s blog entries over the past 2 weeks. I hope that this Blog-mas helped you in any shape or form during the holidays! But if you come across this blog at a random point in time in the future, welcome!
For the last blog post of 2021, I decided to round up all the current ambassadors to create this collaboration blog! Call it “The Avengers” of blogs if you will. Crossover blog of the year! While I don’t get carried away, I asked each ambassador the following questions: “What have you learned in life from 2021?” and “What is your TOP GOAL for 2022?” Let’s see everyone’s responses!
And that’s a wrap! Thank you all for a wonderful 2021 and for reading our fun series of blogs over the past few days. New Years is tomorrow, and we here at the student ambassador team are so excited to greet 2022 with you.
7 BEST Photos from my PP-MA Classmates >
December 23, 2021
In light of the 7th day of Blog-mas, I decided to show off 7 of my wonderful classmates who make our class as unique as it could be. I am so honored to be part of their class, and I figured they needed to be highlighted as well. I asked them what their BEST photo is here in LA so far, and why they think they chose that photo. Check it out!
I would like to thank my classmates for participating in my blog! Living in LA has been a blast for us, international students, and I believe there will be much more adventures to be found along our journey.
Things I Learned from Falling Down >
November 16, 2021
Remember my very first blog post when I said my OT journey wasn’t cookie cutter? Click here if you haven’t read it yet. I had a lot of setbacks before I became an occupational therapist back in my home country, the Philippines. But as many people would say, nothing worth having comes easy. It is really those setbacks, that led me to be who I am today. Here are just a couple of things I learned from these setbacks.
#1, Everything happens for a reason.
Setbacks suck. You planned to achieve your goal and worked so hard, only to have it crash down and fail. So now, you feel disappointed in yourself for letting this happen. You feel like you failed a lot of people’s expectations. You then go down a slippery slope that sets you up on a dangerous snowball of hurt. I remember being in that snowball many times, and the crash landing hurt the most.
I think there is a sense of calm in understanding that some things, whether good or bad, MUST happen for your personal growth. I mean, who wants to watch a movie without conflict? I remember when I was struggling and eventually failed to meet my undergraduate professor’s expectations, I did nothing but blame myself for it. But later when I realized that this needed to happen, I understood that had there been no setback, there was no room for growth and improvement. Now that I know the feeling of disappointment, I did everything I could to not experience it again.
#2, It’s useless worrying about things you cannot control.
“Oh no, my plans failed! My life is over!” You start worrying about what comes next. You think relentlessly about the problems you will face. You start panicking because you have no backup plans and have no idea what to do. To some extent, you even start to contemplate giving up on your goal.
I am the type of person that plans out what I want to do in my life. But when life plans do not go the way as planned, I used to panic and worry about things that haven’t even happened yet. It’s like dodging a rock without anything being thrown at you. I just ended up being very tired. Instead, I found that learning the art of “letting go” lifts the weight off my chest. Now while I reflect on my mistakes, I learned that in failing to meet my undergraduate professor’s expectations, I am unable to influence what others will think of me. I am also unable to change what I did because what’s done is done! So instead of worrying about anything and everything, I started thinking about the small things I need to do to improve, like tweaking my schedule to fit the demands, calculating small steps to take to get back up.
#3, Revenge is so sweet.
And by revenge, I meant I developed a strong internal motivation to become stronger, more resilient. I always tell my friends that a small setback is only setting you up for a major comeback. When I found out my life didn’t go the way as planned, I took that as an opportunity to grow. Like in any movie, the protagonist fails and experiences hardships, but they always find ways to come back stronger. The internal flame that burned inside was my motivator to stand back up and to keep fighting for my goals. I took all the necessary steps to be better than I was, and I was determined to not repeat the same mistakes. I made sure I prioritized self-love and focused on strengthening my personal relationships as well.
Overcoming these setbacks is the best type of revenge you can make. The feeling of “Nothing is going to stop me now!” is exhilarating, most especially if you start succeeding in achieving your goals! It’s like winning an arcade boss fight after losing over and over again. After your self-reflection, growth, and improvements, you can see yourself fighting back much stronger than you had before.
Every superhero has an origin story. And it seems like failure must be a major prerequisite to become one. After countless setbacks and continuous life tweaks, you would think I would gain a sense of tolerance, but quite frankly life doesn’t work that way. I’m not here to say, “There there. It’s okay.” Instead, I’m here to remind you that although things could and will get rough, never lose sight of your goals in life. Had I not experienced what I have had in my past, I wouldn’t have been able to be where I am today: achieving my dreams here at USC. My OT journey is definitely not a linear path, but I learned to be grateful for every experience I am getting, all the good and bad. After some time when you look back at where you have been and gone through, you’d be proud of how far you’ve gone and what you have accomplished. Keep at it, you superhero, and always Fight On!
From Manila to Los Angeles and Beyond! >
October 15, 2021
When I was younger, I always dreamt of experiencing life beyond the borders of my country, the Philippines. This isn’t because I hate my country, but it is because I always felt like I knew there was more I have yet to explore and learn from around the world. And frankly, when I graduated with my undergraduate degree in Occupational Therapy, I didn’t think I could.
So, before I became a student at USC Chan, I have been already a pediatric occupational therapist for almost 2 years. But because of the lockdown situation from COVID-19 in Manila, I was forced to be in my own thoughts: to reflect and contemplate about my life beyond the four walls of my bedroom. After some time, and most importantly with the help and support of my family and friends, I realized that USC Chan was my next big step. And the rest was history!
I have always had experience traveling with either my friends or family, but this was my first time traveling to a very long distance all by myself. After a couple of months of preparation and goodbyes, I boarded the plane from Manila and moved to Los Angeles. It is from that moment I knew that my life will be much different from what it was.
If there’s anything anyone needs to know when they arrive in a new, foreign environment, it is to find people you can connect with. I took every opportunity I can get to meet new people and to dig my feet deep in Los Angeles. I was able to meet a couple of familiar faces from the Philippines, which is amazing, and I was fortunate to be in such a diverse class at PP-MA (I made a blog about them last time here).
I consider myself extremely lucky to be in USC because I get to do what I have always been looking for. It is crazy to think that a couple of months back I was stuck in my bedroom back in Manila, and now I am (safely, of course) exploring life in LA and taking that chance to experience life that is beyond the boundaries of the Philippines. And while I’m still in the thick of it all, I am most certainly relishing every single moment I can get.