University of Southern California
University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Student Blog | Noelle

Noelle

Course Catalogue Queen
Posted , by Noelle

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During my first advisement meeting of college, I was told that the credits I brought in from high school allowed me to double major, double minor, or potentially do both!  As an eager freshman, I took that statement as suggestion and immediately threw myself into the USC catalogue, frantically scribbling lists of interesting classes, minor and major unit requirements etc.  Two hours, about 80 tabs, and 3 existential crises later, I paused to survey my lists hoping to see a clear path.  What I ended up with was the opposite—one or two classes in a whole bunch of schools/studies.  It was then when I asked myself, “Why am I doing this? Do I actually want to minor in something, or do I just want to be able to say I did?” It was an important question and I’m glad I checked myself.  I had spent the previous four years doing everything I thought I had to do to get into a good school, including a lot of things I didn’t really want to do.  I don’t regret that at all because it got me where I am, but as I contemplated what I wanted out of the next four years, I realized that it would be dangerous to continue to do things just “for the resume”.  After all, I was at USC and there are endless things to engage in that are both personally and professionally fulfilling.  I recognized that college was a rare time in life to take risks and explore new subjects and it would be a waste of time and opportunity to be bound to what other people see as prestigious and how they measure success.  So, I took my lists of classes and ran. I was introduced to new occupations like ballroom dance, drums, and ceramics. I challenged myself and took financial and managerial accounting and web design.  And I looked for opportunities to expand my perspective on health in eastern medicine, bionics, gerontology, and health promotion classes.

I was spoiled in undergrad and I know it.  And I am grateful that my hodgepodge of interests is an asset to my future practice as an OT. I’ve noticed a similar trend in my classmates in the division.  I am surrounded by people who studied philosophy, marketing, biology, who teach yoga classes, build puzzles, served in the military, and had multiple careers before coming to OT school.  We are an interesting bunch her at Chan, and we all share the value of meaningful engagement for the clients we serve and ourselves.

Check out Visions and Voices, Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study, and the Ahmanson Lab for some interdisciplinary activities available to undergrad/grad students and alumni. 

This week’s song pick: “Back Pocket” by Vulfpeck

Noelle

What a Difference a Year Makes!
Posted , by Noelle

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I introduced myself to someone at the main campus the other day and when they asked me what year I was in I was super excited to say “I’m a second year grad student!” I think I shocked him with my enthusiasm, but what he didn’t know was that my answer to that question used to be . . . complicated.  Last year, I was straddling the identities of undergraduate senior and 1st year Master’s student; I was a grad student that hadn’t actually graduated yet.  Entering my 5th year of the Bachelor’s to Master’s OT program, I have become very accustomed to explaining every aspect of my student identity — answering the questions: “What is Occupational Therapy? When do you graduate? Wait, so how old are you?” And now that I have officially graduated from undergrad, my spiel is much less confusing.  More importantly, I’ve noticed a change in my attitude and feelings about my student identity.

The transition to graduate school is major for anyone whether it happens before, immediately following, or several years after completing undergrad.  And last year, I felt it acutely.  I missed all of the elective courses I used to take, not starting class until 11 am on some days, the freedom to take naps during the week!!! It’s not that I didn’t love the course material we were learning or the people in the program, it was just at times I wished I had one more year of all of that like the rest of my undergrad friends.  But as my mom always says, nothing lasts forever!

I’ll be honest and say that I was very anxious to start this year.  I have the responsibilities of this position as an ambassador and the demands of all of my courses, not to mention the huge decisions regarding the OTD coming my way (I’ll leave that for another entry though!)  Although I’ve been studying OT for 4 years now, I’m still unsure where exactly I want my path to lead.  Despite this uncertainty about my future (which is quite recent by the way), I came home from the first day of class this semester with unexpected peace of mind.  I have my bachelor’s degree and a level 2 fieldwork under my belt, and I am just as thrilled to be an OT student as I was my freshman year.  This year is sure to bring more changes and surprises that will influence this path I’m always talking about, and I just have to keep reminding myself how wonderful it is to be where I am and that the best is yet to come. 

P.S. I originally wanted to title my entries with song titles (yes, like Grey’s Anatomy), but that was going to be harder than I imagined. So instead I’m going to include a song recommendation that may or may not relate to the entry 😊 This week’s pick happens to: “Ooh Child” by The Five Stair Steps.

Me holding the banner at Commencement 2019