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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Student Blog | Nmachi

Nmachi

My Freshman Year Experience at USC
Posted , by Nmachi

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As of May 2020, I officially completed my first year at USC! I can truly say that the past year of living on campus has taught me a variety of things- positive and negative. My time as a freshman was so impactful for so many reasons. For one, I was able to meet and interact with people who would soon become like family, I achieved a new level of independence that I never had before, and I started the process of frequent inward thinking and learning more about who I am as an individual and what I desire to become.

I feel like the best place to start when discussing the highlights of my freshman year experience would be the place I called home on campus: Somerville Place. Somerville is a special-interest floor in the dorm building Fluor Tower (main campus); the floor houses freshmen who identify as Black and creates a safe space for them to bond and create lasting relationships. Applying to live on Somerville was, hands-down, the best decision I made during my senior year of high school (aside from applying to USC of course!). Since being involved in the Black community on campus is very important to me, I knew that I needed to put myself in the position to engage with my community everyday. Living with the students I met on Somerville was so fulfilling and freeing because I never had to worry about conforming or changing who I was in any way; I could just be my truest self.

Another highlight from my experience on campus would have to be the overall fun that comes along with attending a school like USC. Going to tailgates and Saturday football games with friends was an experience that I plan to continue to cherish through my career at USC.

On a more academic note, I definitely learned a lot from my experiences with classes. Registering for classes and deciding what you would be interested in was a process that I had to get used to. In terms of attending classes and workload, I think that I was fairly prepared because of how my high school instructed their curriculum. Despite having great preparation, I still found myself struggling with balancing academics and social life, especially because I was literally living with all of my friends on one floor. As time went on throughout both semesters, I began to create my own method of balancing everything in my life in a healthy way.

To all of those who might be seniors in high school and are wondering how life as a college freshman will be, I want to make it clear that every single person will have a different experience. My biggest recommendation is to make the most out of your time as a freshman. Freshman year is the time to discover things that make you happy and that you may want to pursue alongside your career. Make sure to try new things because you’ll probably pick up new hobbies and passions by doing so. Last but not least, take care of yourself by whatever means necessary. As a perfectionist, I tend to stress myself out with getting the best grades and accomplishing the most that I can. It is great to have a drive and to desire success, but it is just as crucial (or even more so) to focus on your physical and mental health.

With that being said, I am beyond grateful to have had the freshman year experience that I did, and am very excited to continue my journey at USC. Fight on! <3

Nmachi

What This Period of Chaos Has Taught Me
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It’s safe to say that the past few weeks and months have been nothing short of confusing and chaotic. It is so easy to get into the habit of complaining without striving toward finding beneficial solutions. Here’s a few things that I have learned over the past 3 months:

1. Spending time with family is necessary.

Due to COVID-19 health restrictions, all USC students were encouraged to return home to quarantine beginning in late March. This news was not pleasant for the majority of the student body, but I was especially bummed because that meant that I would not be able to complete my freshman year of college on campus.

Moving back home was definitely bittersweet. On one hand, I was disappointed because I wanted to spend the remaining two months of the semester with my friends while enjoying the last bit of the traditional dorm life. Alternatively, I was grateful to be healthy and to be able to go back home to my family. While being quarantined, I’ve utilized this time to the best of my ability; I have successfully created an at-home workout regimen that I do with my sister, played extensively with my two-year-old nephew, and caught up on my favorite shows! Making memories with my family while being at home has been very rewarding and was possible because of the current global situation.

2. Take time to reflect and better yourself.

One of the goals I made at the beginning of the year was to read more. Sounds simple enough, but being a full-time college student and young-adult, it can be difficult to put down the phone and pick up a captivating read. Nevertheless, this time of social distancing has provided me with the opportunity to focus on bettering myself as an individual by reflecting and taking in useful knowledge through reading. My latest read was The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, which is a self-help book that emphasizes the importance of finding inner peace and self-love before trying to be that peace and love for others. I have learned that taking a moment to just be still and reflect daily can truly change the entire trajectory of your whole day.

3. Educate yourself with local/global issues. It’s crucial to stay up-to-date.

It may seem obvious, but staying informed on issues regarding the well-being of this country is vital. Just because a recurring tragedy doesn’t directly affect your community does NOT mean that you should remain silent and complacent; it should urge you to stand up for what is right by all means (verbally, financially, etc.).

During this remote time away from our regular schedules, I implore you to take these tips into consideration. You will be surprised at how much you can evolve for the better!

Nmachi

You’re Studying Occupational Therapy . . . huh?
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As an Occupational Therapy major in the Bachelor’s to Master’s Program, I constantly get the same two questions asked by friends and family: What exactly is occupational therapy and how did you get into it? Since information about what occupational therapy can already be found on this site, I’ll just expand on why I chose to pursue OT.

From a young age, I have always been passionate about direct service and improving quality of life. Being a teacher, pediatrician, and physical therapist have been past career goals for me because each of them were rooted in helping others with their livelihood.

In high school, I began to narrow my interests down to what I actually could consider making a career out of. I came across the field of occupational therapy upon researching different academic programs at my top schools, browsing the USC website, and talking with my sister (an ‘SC alumna).

I became interested in OT because of the opportunity to provide the longitudinal patient interaction needed to help individuals reclaim their health. Because I cannot imagine losing the ability to perform seemingly simple everyday tasks, my desire is to be in a position to give others the hope of regaining their independence.

The day that I received my acceptance package and found out that I was going to be an Occupational Therapy major was probably the most exciting moment I’ve had thus far! Out of all of the universities I applied for during my senior year of high school, the only one that really stood out was USC. I knew that attending USC would completely prepare me for a career in OT (couldn’t pass up the #1 school for OT in the nation!).

With the countless resources that USC provides their students, I continue to look forward to building an educational foundation in OT and taking advantage of service experiences outside of the classroom to ultimately change my community for the better. I am more than ready to make my dreams a reality.