Dear Zoom, it wasn’t you >
September 14, 2021
I’m just going to say it—I miss Zoom University.
Zoom University and I had a toxic relationship and although it wasn’t my first, it certainly is the only one I miss. Sometimes you really “don’t know what you have till it’s gone.” Don’t get me wrong; I love being on campus, seeing all my beautiful friends, and making real-life connections with my professors, pero like*…it’s hard out here.
Before making the transition back to in-person classes, after over a year of Zoom, I never truly realized or acknowledged how much work it takes to be an occupational being, aka a student. Let’s just consider some of the things that we didn’t have to do when Zoom was part of our lives (or at least my life):
- Get ready in the morning (if you still did this, I am proud of you and I admire you)
- Prep lunch
- Pack bag(s)
- Leave the house
- Drive to campus
- Find parking
- Walk to class
- Sit in class
- Actually pay attention in class (R.I.P mute and camera functions)
I’m sorry, but the fact that I can’t get up and walk to my fridge for a quick snack or mute myself/turn my camera off and lay down on my bed for a second is rude. Also, do you know how intense my phobia of getting stuck in LA traffic on a school morning is? Ok never-mind the phobia, have you seen those gas prices? Seriously though, transitioning back to in-person classes has been quite an adjustment that I wasn’t fully prepared for.
As much as I hated being confined to Zoom at home, I had a greater sense of control over my entire school experience and I loved that about our relationship. I didn’t have to worry about traffic, whether or not I would find a parking spot, or being late for that matter. I could monitor the sound level, air temperature, light intensity, number of guests—basically everything that I have absolutely no control over in the underground lecture hall, G 37. G 37 induces sensory overload in my body and exhausts me; it makes me reminisce the good times with Zoom.
I feel guilty for hating Zoom so much when all it did was love me and be there for me through the hard times, aka the pandemic. Yes, it gave me migraines and worsened my vision, but it also let me sleep in, eat during class, lay down between lectures, and spend my money on things other than gas. If I am being honest, it wasn’t Zoom, it was me. I was so upset and stuck on the idea of being “robbed” from my graduate school experience that I didn’t value or appreciate all the good things Zoom had to offer. I thought I was ready to move on—to be 100% back in-person and on campus—but what the heart wants is not always what the body wants or needs. While my heart is happy to finally see and meet my cohort and class in real life instead of a square on a computer screen, my body is tired and needs time to adjust.
I know I am not the only one feeling this way, and I just want you to know that you have permission to miss Zoom too. Listen to your body, allow it to rest and recharge as it adjusts to yet another change.
*Common Spanglish phrase meaning “but like”
Hello again! Here is the second part of my last blog. I hope this mini-series gives the Entry-Level MA students some study tips for their next exam. In this blog, I will talk about Neuroscience and Creativity, Craft and Activity Analysis!
Neuroscience was slightly easier than Kinesiology for me because I have a pretty decent background in Psychology and Cognitive Science. However, we did cover a LOT of information in this class. Nonetheless, Dr. Winder is such a lovely professor to be around so I’m sure you will have a great time learning about the nervous system!
- Tip #1: Make a study guide ASAP.
Eventually, Dr. Winder will post a study guide for each unit. I suggest downloading that study guide and filling it out as you cover the content in class. This will save you a LOT of time when you are studying, and it will help you focus your attention on the important information. But please don’t disregard the information that is not on the study guide. Everything you learn in this class will come up in your life whether it be on the exam, or with a future client. As my Physiology professor once said, “If you don’t want to study for your own benefit, study for the benefit of your future patients”.
- Tip #2: Watch YouTube videos about each topic.
Some of the concepts you learn about in this class are hard to understand without the assistance of videos. For example, I watched the same video of neural tube formation probably 6-8 times before I was confident enough to move on. (Here’s the
link if you were interested.)
Actually, I think I’ll just link all of my go-to videos!
In my opinion, these topics are difficult to learn about on paper, so I recommend watching some videos to help you gain a more comprehensive understanding of each concept.
- Tip #3: Study with real-life examples.
You will be learning about many different conditions and disabilities in this class and it can be hard to keep track of each individual disability. I guess this tip is pretty similar to the last tip but I suggest looking up “Living with ______” when you are studying disabilities. Hearing the story from a real person and watching how the disability affects their daily life is a lot more memorable than reading bullet points off a slide.
Foundations: Creativity, Craft and Activity Analysis
I can’t lie, this class was the most fun out of the 4 Foundations courses. However, I might be a little biased because Crafts was the only class I had in person. Towards the end of the semester, we started having in person Crafts a few times a month which made this class stand out from the others. In my opinion, this class is not stressful. In fact, it is the exact opposite! Being able to relax and create things with my hands for three hours once a week allowed me to unwind and forget my worries. Therefore, I don’t have many study tips, but I do have some advice!
- Tip #1: Fully immerse yourself in the activity.
When I first started this class, I had a hard time letting myself relax and enjoy the moment when we were crafting. As you all probably know, being a full time student can be overwhelming. I did not want to allow myself to relax because I felt guilty for not studying. Although you may feel this way at times, please enjoy yourself and have fun with this unique opportunity to make art in class! During this course, I decided I would put my entire heart into it because I wanted to find a new favorite occupation. I eventually realized how happy I was when I crafted, and decided to pick up nail art as a hobby.
- Tip #2: Get a head start on your final essay.
I would get a head start on your final essay if possible. When I was in the class, Dr. Dieterle posted the prompt for the final essay a few weeks before it was due. I ended up writing it that weekend because I had 2 other finals on the same day the final essay was due! Hopefully none of you have 3 finals on one day, but you will be thanking yourself for getting a headstart on your work when exams start to pile up.
- Tip #3 Take notes during guest speaker presentations.
This might be obvious but you should take lots of notes during the guest speaker presentations! I’m not sure if you have to write Guest Speaker Reflections, but if you do, it will be helpful to take ample notes during the presentation so you have plenty of topics to write about in your reflection. As a bonus, these notes might be a source of inspiration for you in your future career!
Thank you for tuning in!
Throughout my Junior year, I took the four “Foundations” for occupational therapy courses: Occupation, Kinesiology, Neuroscience, and Creativity, Craft and Activity Analysis. These were some of my favorite classes because I got to know my future professors, I spent more time with the 12 students in my cohort, and I learned material that will support me in my future career as an OT.
By the time this blog is up, the Entry-Level MA students will be finishing their first week of classes, and as some of you may know, they are taking the same four Foundations courses that the BS-MA students took this past year! So, fellow future classmates, this blog is for you 😊 . I’ll be writing tips and advice for each class so keep reading if you want some pointers!
Disclaimer: I’m not sure if the structure of the summer classes is the same as the classes I took. Hopefully it is but if not, I hope you can still gain something helpful from this blog!
In my opinion, Kinesiology was the most challenging Foundations course BUT at the same time it was the class I gained the most from. If you loved anatomy, I think you will enjoy this class as well!
- Tip #1: Use the “Complete Anatomy” app to study
If you don’t have this app already, sign into your USC email and click this link: https://libguides.usc.edu/c.php?g=293713&p=1956412. It will give you access to a FREE lifetime membership to Complete Anatomy! This app is great because it allows you to isolate each muscle and watch them in motion. Seeing how the muscles shortened and lengthened really helped me form a better understanding of the function of each muscle, which in turn helped me memorize the prime actions!
- Tip #2: Get up and move during the test!
Although a normal professor would not appreciate their students standing up and moving around during an exam, Dr. Sopkin encouraged the exact opposite! During the tests, it was SO helpful to act out the different actions of each muscle with my own body. For example, if I couldn’t remember the actions of my anterior deltoid, I would just swing my arm around and note which movements required the use of that muscle. I believe your professor is Dr. Rafeedie this summer, but I think she will also encourage you to do the same.
- Tip# 3: Make empty muscle charts
Pretty soon, all of you will be very familiar with the term “muscle charts”. Once you get these charts, I recommend organizing them by unit, and making a blank version of each chart in Google Docs. When it’s time to study for the exam, pull out your empty muscle charts and fill them in until you can do it from memory. Although the amount of content you need to memorize seems intimidating, if you start memorizing the muscle charts as soon as you get them, you will do just fine.
- Tip # 4: Create acronyms for force couples
Sooner or later, you will learn about force couples, and these can be hard to remember at times, especially when there are multiple in each unit. Acronyms always make memorizing easier for me. Here’s one acronym I made that I remember off the top of my head: SLT (Some Lettuce and Tomatoes). S=Subscapularis, L=Latissimus dorsi, T=Teres major. Together, these muscles aDduct the shoulder. How I remembered this force couple was: AD(d) Some Lettuce and Tomatoes. Lol.
For everyone who loves history, this class might be your favorite! Being completely honest, this class wasn’t as stressful as Kines. It is largely discussion based, and I was a history nerd in high school so this class was right up my alley.
- Tip #1: Start making a “timeline”
I apologize in advance if you do not have to make a timeline at the end of the summer, but I would start taking notes on 1-2 important figures in each chapter and 1-2 important events. These are facts that you should be writing down regardless, but taking these notes may just help you get a head start on your final project.
- Tip #2: Use the app “Speechify”
If you watched my Instagram takeover a while back, you probably heard me talk about the text-to-speech app, “Speechify”! When I was in Foundations: Occupations, we had a lot of heavy reading. I can’t lie, long and dense readings take me forever to complete because I somehow always manage to read without processing anything. As a result, I have to go back and read the same sentence over and over again until I can comprehend it. When I discovered Speechify, I was able to get through the reedings a lot faster! I am an auditory learner, so listening to the readings made it much easier for me to stay focused.
This blog is getting long so I’ll have to make 2 parts! Come back next Friday for more tips; I’ll be talking about Neuroscience and Creativity, Craft and Activity Analysis!
I Don’t Say This Everyday But . . . >
May 7, 2021
We spent how many hours on Zoom every day for 9 months, yet it wasn’t until the last day of classes when I realized just how much I’m going to miss my MA1 classmates. What we thought was only going to be a temporary virtual learning setup has been stretched to a whole academic year. Even though this was surely nothing close to how we imagined going through graduate school, still, for some reason, it went our way because we are finishing in A WEEK! It just weirdly feels a little short. I’m still at a loss for words, just like how I was when I was trying to write my very first blog. What words could possibly capture how great of an adventure it has been?
A couple of months ago we were all just a bunch of strangers trying to find a place in this new world. It’s one thing to find acceptance; but feeling a sense of belongingness and a feeling of home is a whole different story — one that I’ve found in this wonderful group of people. I have hoped for companionship but what I’ve found is so much more: teamwork, diversity, and nothing but love and support for one another. I’m really so proud of us and all I can think of is — what a time to be in to witness these individuals succeed through challenges! We really embodied that “Fight On!” Trojan spirit, didn’t we? Truly, my experience thus far has been nothing short of amazing because of all the people on the other end of my computer screen. I’m sure you know, but it bears repeating.
Here are some of the unforgettable memories we had in the past year 😊
Of course, my USC Chan experience has been greatly enriched by working with the amazing team of student ambassadors and our supervisor, Kim Kho, who constantly encouraged me to do my best work and really contributed a lot to my growth. I learned A LOT from each and every one of you and I’m so thankful to have been a part of this team!! I also want to thank my dearest family and friends without whom I wouldn’t be where I am today. And to all the readers, it has been a pleasure to be able to share this crazy adventure with you all through my blogs and videos.
Now, I shall go back to studying for my comprehensive exams. After graduation, I will be working with Dr. Daniel Park for the Summer OT Immersion program that is happening on July, so I hope to see some of you there! What’s next after that — I don’t quite know yet; but as always, we Fight On Forever!
All the love and well wishes,
A Week in the Life: OTD Residency Edition >
April 30, 2021
As I prepare to go into the last semester of my OTD Residency, I wanted to share with you all what a typical week looks like for me. Completing my residency at the LAC+USC Primary Care Adult West Clinic has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had as a student, and now licensed occupational therapist.
I hope you find this vlog helpful and enjoy it!!!