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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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Mason

Mason

The Transcontinental Bachelor’s to Doctorate Student ⟩
May 24, 2024, by Mason

Beginnings and Endings

If you asked the average 17-year-old kid if they wanted to commit to a 6+ year program and move across the entire country they would probably look at you like you are crazy. This was the exact reaction I received when I told my peers, teachers, and even family members that I had decided to commit to USC Chan’s Accelerated Bachelor’s to Doctorate program as a senior in high school. Of the many concerns that people had around me, the biggest question people asked me was “Are you sure this is what you want to do with your life?” I remember that 17-year-old me would always get so bothered by this question, I couldn’t possibly understand why the people around me had so many concerns about me going into this program. Looking back on these memories almost 4 years later, as a more mature and grown person, I can say that I finally understand why people had these concerns. Choosing to go to college is one of the biggest decisions that people will make in their lives. It is an opportunity that will shape your career and your opportunities, and most importantly it will shape you into a hardworking adult capable of building a life for yourself. So, it’s understandable why those around me were hesitant that I made this decision so early on and so young. However, let me tell you a little bit more about the transcontinental Bachelor’s to Doctorate student and why after 4 years I am still just as passionate, driven, and heart set on becoming the best OT I can be.

I grew up in Sandy Hook, CT, a small east coast town that for most of my childhood life you would probably have never heard about. That is until December 14, 2012, when my town was victim to a historic school shooting that rocked the nation. Although the lived experience of this tragedy is not my story to tell, what I will share is the power and passion of the community I grew up in. I grew up in a town of resilience, made up of families, educators, and activists who set out to better the world around them. In the face of the greatest tragedy one could experience, I witnessed the greatest display of humanity and community that my town could offer. Even now, almost 3,000 miles away, I still remember these values of kindness and community and let them guide my actions.

My mother is an occupational therapist who works in the pediatric setting. Growing up and watching my mother practice taught me not only the importance and value of occupational therapy for children but also the understanding that every individual’s occupations have meaning. Whether it be a child playing with toys, an athlete competing in their sport, or me making my favorite latte in the morning, there is an inherent beauty in the meaning that comes from doing what we love. In the face of disability, illness, and life changes people lose that ability to do what they enjoy. My entire passion in life has always been to help those around me. So why at 17 did I choose that I wanted to be an occupational therapist? Because I know occupational therapy in its simplest form is helping people live their lives meaningfully. Because I know that as an occupational therapist, I can change the lives of my patients for the better.

Looking back, if I had the chance to talk to that 17-year-old high school student, contemplating moving thousands of miles from home to come study at USC, I wouldn’t change a thing. So to all those considering this program or any program for that matter, here is my biggest piece of advice. Find the passion that gives you meaning, and that is strong enough to drive you across the country to achieve your dreams. Although many will doubt you in life, let your passion drive you towards your goals and work hard to achieve them. Fight on!