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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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Leah Mary

Hidden Gems at USC ⟩
December 15, 2022, by Leah Mary

Life Hacks Living in LA School/Life Balance

I’ve been at USC since 2016 (WOW), and during my time here, I’ve found some fun places to hang out and events to participate in that I would love to share with you all!

Rock and Reilly’s or Study Hall (UPC)

Rock and Reilly’s or Study Hall are classic USC spots for a fun sit-down restaurant and bar to grab food with friends and watch USC and professional sports! I would always go with friends to hang out and celebrate good times!

USC Break On 2: Salsa Night (UPC)

The first Friday of every month, Break On 2 hosts a salsa night at Mudd Hall. The first hour is a workshop where they teach people tips and tricks, and then the rest of the night, you dance! Sometimes there is even a live band! It’s a 5 dollar entrance fee, but it is worth every penny.

Doheny Library (UPC)

This is the best Library to study at. Every time I study there, I feel like I am at Hogwarts. It is so beautiful.

Free gym memberships with fun open recreations

The perk of being a USC student is getting access to Lyon center, HSC Fitness Center, and Village Fitness center. At Lyon center, they have open recreation hours for badminton, indoor volleyball, Uytengsu outdoor pool, and the PED indoor pool.

Farmer’s market at McCarthy Quad (UPC) or Pappas Quad (HSC)

At UPC, there is a farmer’s market with fresh produce, boxed foods, and jewelry most Wednesdays 11am-3pm. I believe HSC also has a farmer’s market most Wednesdays. These are great places to relax and hammock!

Rose Garden (UPC)

Near the USC Colosseum is a beautiful rose garden where you can take pictures or have a nice picnic. Close to the rose garden, there is also the natural history museum!

Have fun exploring!

Leah Mary

External Residencies Are the Move ⟩
November 22, 2022, by Leah Mary

Classes School/Life Balance

During my 2nd year in the Entry-Level Master’s program, I felt enormous pressure to apply to the internal residency. I had my rose-colored glasses on. USC’s internal residencies are competitive, prestigious, and well-funded. Everyone was applying, so I felt compelled to apply. However, when I researched and learned about each residency site, I couldn’t see myself there. It wasn’t for me.

I didn’t think I was going to do the Post Professional OTD. It was expensive, and I didn’t want to pay for another year of school during a pandemic. I was very close to not applying until I talked to Dr. Bream. We explored the external residencies sites that suited my interests and could support me. I ended up committing to Hiller Therapy, where I am both the Occupational Therapy Resident AND a part-time employee, and I LOVE IT!

So here is a list of why I recommend getting excited about an external residency:

Schedule
You can create your own schedule! I am completing the Post-Professional OTD within a year and a half instead of one year to allow me to work part-time. In addition, you have the flexibility to defer for a semester or a full year.

Income
Oh yeah, you can work as an OT once you pass the NBCOT and obtain your license. That means you can make an income! 

Low-stress
I did not feel overwhelmed after summer fieldwork. I was able to take a couple of OTD courses and have enough time to study for the NBCOT without the pressure of 20-30 hours/week of residency.

Location Location Location
If you don’t want to stay in the LA area, you can do your OTD anywhere (nationally or internationally). The OTD courses can either be in person or over Zoom.

Advocate for your needs
I was able to ADVOCATE for what I needed and wanted from my residency site.

Ultimately, do what you want to do. Advocate for your needs, and don’t let institutions or people pressure you into things you don’t want to do!

Mika

Chika with Mika: Life as a Post-Professional Master’s Student 2022 Edition ⟩
November 18, 2022, by Mika

Classes Community Diversity International Living in LA School/Life Balance Videos

Hello everyone!

So in Tagalog, chika means “chit-chat”. For this month’s blog post (or rather vlog post), I wanted to chika with you what’s it like to be a post-professional master’s student here in USC Chan! Get to see the Health Science Campus where we have most of our classes and meet some of my friends here in the program. I also shared some clips of my adventures here in LA, particularly in the Grand Central Market, Griffith Park, and Venice Beach!

Happy watching!

Yoojin

A Week in the Life! ⟩
November 17, 2022, by Yoojin

Classes Community Living in LA School/Life Balance

As a student ambassador, one of the questions I get the most is how my weekly schedule looks like. Do I have time for a part-time job? What about hobbies? Hanging out with friends and family? Basically, when I enroll in this program, will I have a life outside of school? The short answer is yes. I have a great balance of academics and engaging in my favorite occupations.

With that being said, here’s a little glance into a typical week:

Monday: aside from class from 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM, I go to the gym, go grocery shopping, or just sleep in. In the evening, I try to catch the sunset (at least I did before Daylight Savings ended) on one of my favorite short hikes near HSC, Ascot Hills. All USC students have a free membership for the three gyms on UPC and one at HSC.

Tuesday: Level I Fieldwork, a once-a-week hands-on experience at a site in the community (ex. hospital, private clinic, community center, permanent supportive housing, school). I’m here from 10 AM – 4 PM, but your hours will depend on your specific site.

Wednesday: class from 9 AM – 4:30 PM, with a 1.5-hour lunch break to eat lunch and work on a drawing in the craft restorative classroom with my friends. Throughout the semester, there are events led by various student organizations. This week, I attended an open forum with students and Chan leadership to discuss the recent administrative changes in Chan admissions leadership regarding holistic admissions and diversity.

Thursday: class from 9 AM – 4:30 PM, with a 1.5-hour lunch break where I usually work and grab Dunkin’ Donuts from on campus and attend a meeting. Global Initiatives (GI), USC Occupational Therapy and Science Council (OTSC), and Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD) are hosting a Friendsgiving dinner.

Friday: I have no class or fieldwork, so I run errands. In the evening, I go out with friends. LA has so many things to do. Here’s a previous student blog about some activities.

I’ve also picked up a handful of occupations over the summer that I mentioned in my previous blog. Work-life balance needs active effort to achieve, but it’s definitely doable in OT school.

Aisha

Hidden Gems and Resources ⟩
November 8, 2022, by Aisha

Life Hacks Living in LA School/Life Balance

Several resources and perks that come with being a USC student aren’t widely advertised. Here is a list of things I accidentally stumbled upon or heard by word of mouth that all students on the health sciences campus (HSC) should know about.

1. One Stop at HSC: Here, you can find discounted movie tickets, theme park tickets, and more! I love going to the movies with my friends and family, but as many of you know, movie tickets can be expensive in LA. At One Stop at HSC, you can purchase discounted movie tickets that don’t expire at Regal Cinemas, AMC Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, etc. My favorite is getting AMC tickets for $10.75 and going to the theater near Universal Studios, with comfy reclining seats!

2. Cheap food at the Keck Cafeteria: On the days you didn’t eat breakfast or pack a lunch, you can find affordable food at the Keck Cafeteria. You will need to show your student ID to enter the building. You can find the cafeteria on San Pablo St. near the Eric Cohen Student Health Center.

3. Farmers Market: Every Thursday, from around 10 am until 2 pm, there is a mini farmers market on the corner of Alcazar and San Pablo. Several vendors are selling fresh fruit, delicious food, and drinks such as pupusa, shawarma sandwiches, popcorn, and Aguas Frescas! I look forward to being on campus on Thursdays to get a tasty treat from the farmers market.

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