A Tribute to Open Mic BBQs, Swiftie Listening Parties, & Mid-Class G.I. Snack Runs ⟩
May 1, 2023, by Mika
It’s been a while since I last wrote a blog and I can’t believe it’s my last one! Bittersweet as it is, I want to dedicate this post to my classmates in the Post-Professional Master’s program — the wildest, most spontaneous, and the most generous set of people who I’m proud to have gotten to know the past 9 months.
To MA-1 Batch 2023,
Looking back at our first week of orientation, we were all a bunch of new faces filled with excitement and hints of anxiety for a new adventure in a new country. I remember how it was a struggle to remember all 50 names despite the x number of times we had to introduce ourselves in each class. I love that now I can recall everyone’s name and associate a special memory with each one of you!
One of my favorite memories was welcoming the school year with our summer barbeque party in the OT house. I loved getting to know all of you and I really appreciate the energy you all brought in with the activities and games prepared for us. I will definitely not forget when we turned the party into an open-mic night where everyone sang songs from their country and even tried to get our program director to sing with us. I think we love singing so much as a class that some of us even spent 6 hours of non-stop karaoke together!
As the Fall and Spring semesters progressed, I loved getting the opportunity to work with all of you and learn more about the OT practice in your respective countries. I loved how we all resonated with many common issues we as OTs faced (check my past blog: 10 Things I Hate About Occupational Therapy) and it somehow felt like I was in the same boat with people who understood and validated what I was feeling and going through. As how we say it in Filipino, I had a “kakampi” (teammate) to go through and navigate these issues in practice. I felt this not only with the similar concerns we had about the OT practice, but also with all the requirements and exams we have gone through as a class. I will miss looking back at anyone during class when I hear sounds of crumpled plastic since I know someone is opening food to share with everyone. I will also definitely miss having someone ask me, “Let’s go to Global Initiatives” to say hi to the staff there while we search for snacks.
Aside from learning each of your practice in your respective countries, I also loved learning each of you as individual persons! I love how some of us made a Taylor Swift cult and had a listening party at midnight for her latest album. Remember when we teamed up together to battle the rest of America to successfully get tickets for her concert? That was one of my favorite memories from that semester. I also love how I was able to share my love for Korean drama and Korean oppas with some of you, sharing when they have their recent posts up or trying to help each other find them when they visit LA.
I also appreciate everyone for being so down to help each other get through life in LA, whether by offering a ride or by offering their place to host some hangouts (shoutout to the MA1 House)! I really appreciate your generosity and I am so grateful I got a lot of weekend memories to remember — baking, going to Dockweiler beach, searching for good coffee in Silverlake, traveling to the Grand Canyon, celebrating Lunar New Year, or simply just hanging out.
Soon we’ll all be separated again and we will all be in our different paths but wherever you guys go, I hope you all remember that there will always be this loud and enthusiastic Filipina always cheering you on!
I want to end my blog with a quote I found online in Pinterest that encompasses what you guys mean to me:
“One day all of us will get separated from each other; we will miss our conversations of everything and nothing; the dreams that we had. Days will pass by, months, years until this contact becomes rare. One day our children will see our pictures and ask: ‘Who are these people?’ And we will smile with invisible tears because a heart is touched with a strong word and you will say ‘It was them that I had the best days of my life with.’”
मुझे तुमसे प्यार है
Mahal ko kayo!
Until we meet again!
The Pre-OT Club Gets Crafty ⟩
April 3, 2023, by The Pre-OT Club
My name is Taylor Kamemoto. I am a current pre-OT student and a senior at USC majoring in Psychology and the Health & Human Sciences. I also have minors in Occupational Science (a.k.a. best minor ever), and Musical Studies in Flute Performance! I am super excited to introduce the Pre-OT Club’s blog!
If you’re an undergrad interested in Occupational Therapy, you should definitely check out the Pre-Occupational Therapy Club! We are a club focused on spreading knowledge and awareness about the profession of Occupational Therapy here on the USC campus and even beyond our community walls. We have a wide range of club meeting topics, including inviting clinician guest speakers, hosting graduate student panels, social bonding events like game nights, philanthropy events such as gardening and food drives, and engaging in shared occupations together. These events allow club members to connect and find a sense of community with other Pre-OT students while enhancing our knowledge about the profession of OT. I have been involved since my freshman year (yes, we even had Zoom meetings during COVID) and I now serve as the current president.
So far, my favorite event this semester has been Craft Night! We worked directly with our club’s faculty advisor, Dr. Amber Bennett, who helped us reserve a space in the Center for Occupation and Lifestyle Redesign®. Dr. Bennett provided us with craft supplies such as wooden items to paint, ceramic piggy banks, scrapbook paper, and magazines. We had no guidelines and let our creative juices flow! We each created something unique. I used scrapbook paper to collage a picture frame and a clipboard. After an hour of crafting, we shared our projects with each other, and I was very impressed with what everyone created! I saw a box with a collage lid reading “Fight On,” a wooden “Statue of Liberty,” and fun collages. Check out our crafts below!
23 Truths for 2023 ⟩
January 18, 2023, by Yoojin
Happy New Year Chan! I compiled some of my favorite quotes. There’s a good mix of bookmarked lines from cherished books, reminders for when life is a little rough, and encouragements to live a compassionate and sacrificial life.
- “To me, there was magic in learning.” — Michelle Obama, Becoming
- “Occupational therapy is more than a job. For many it is a calling. We felt drawn to it.” — Amy Lamb, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA
- “Do what is good. Advocate for what is right. And fight for what is important.” — Bryan Morales
- “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
- “There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.” — John Green, Turtles All the Way Down
- “It always seems impossible until it is done.” — Nelson Mandela
- “I wasn’t going to let one person’s opinion dislodge everything I thought I knew about myself.” — Michelle Obama, Becoming
- “We don’t do all our growing up between birth and adolescence or even our twenties. If we’re fortunate, we never stop.” — Diane Guerrero, In the Country We Love: My Family Divided
- “The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional.” — Max Lucado, Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World
- “Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” — Bob Kerrey
- “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” — Plato
- “We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up.” — 2 Corinthians 4:8
- “An education is not so much about making a living as making a person.” — Tara Westover, Educated
- “Why can’t I just eat my waffle?” — Barack Obama
- “Listening to an underserved population is how you begin to understand them and serve them better.” — Constance Wu
- “Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” — Proverbs 17:17
- “Being yourself is all it takes. If you want to impress someone don’t be someone else just be yourself.” — Selena Gomez
- “Living without passion is like being dead.” — Jungkook
- “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” — Eleanor Brownn
- “Family is the most important thing in the world.” — Princess Diana
- “It was possible, I knew, to live on two planes at once — to have one’s feet planted in reality but pointed in the direction of progress.” — Michelle Obama, Becoming
- “Fall seven times, get up eight.” — Naoki Higashida
- “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” — John F. Kennedy
Cycling Saved Me! ⟩
January 18, 2023, by Bryan M.
Whenever prospective students ask me what I wish I would have known at the start of OT school, I always say the same thing: find something removed from OT school that you love doing, and keep consistent with it. Finding balance during your few years learning how to be an OT practitioner is a key part of preventing burnout and enhancing the learning experience in the classroom. Prioritizing your life outside of school is so important because it directly influences the kind of professional you are when you graduate. In this blog, I’m taking the time to write about my favorite non-OT related occupation: indoor cycling.
I began indoor cycling consistently in 2019 after I signed up for a class with an on-campus club I was a part of. My first class was rocky: I slept through my alarm, showed up late, and my foot got unclipped from the bike so I wasn’t able to take half of the class. Luckily, thanks to a new rider feedback form, the studio gave me a free class to try again, so I gave it another shot. This second class is where my love for cycling sprouted.
SoulCycle advertises itself as an “immersive and intense full-body workout,” and I can certainly attest to that. I fell in love with SoulCycle because I appreciated being able to work out both my body and my mind during class, mindfully listening to the inspiring words the instructors spoke while also cuing the exercise progression. I loved the classes so much that I ended up working for the company as Front Desk staff, something that I do even to this day while in OT school.
My love for indoor cycling exemplifies the power of meaningful occupations. Through the activity, I am able to provide myself a just-right challenge, keeping me engaged and motivated each time I go. Because of my commitment to this occupation, I am able to live a more balanced lifestyle in which my life isn’t consumed with only school and work. I’ve been able to remind myself that I am not just an occupational therapy student and have a life outside of school that I value and prioritize. I’m a well-rounded occupational being! This is something I think OT graduate students tend to forget, which is why I’m trying to remind others through this blog.
4 years later and nearly 500 classes later, I still consider indoor cycling one of my favorite occupations. Truly, I am so grateful for SoulCycle’s ability to keep me grounded during the trials and tribulations of school.
New Year, New Me? ⟩
January 17, 2023, by Tania
Starting a new year can feel weird at times because there is this weird societal pressure of being the best new version of yourself. However, if you ask me, I am already a different person from 5 months ago. In fact, each day we evolve. At times, we sit reminiscing on the things we didn’t accomplish the years before. Our minds go on and on about the should ofs and could ofs but we don’t have control over those anymore.
Maybe this year is not about reinventing or being the newest best version of yourself but instead about being patient, caring, and loving to the person you are right now. I invite you to instead or in conjunction with writing new year’s resolutions, take the time to celebrate ALL your accomplishments (big and small) and appreciate your life’s journey. This year block the outside noise!
This is because as first-generation, low-income, Latinx students we usually carry the weight of our families. We are forced to create our paths, we navigate unknown territories and we receive plenty of no’s along the way. Being the first in the family to do something different requires many “mistakes” that later turn into lessons for those that come after us. However, the beauty of being a first-generation, low-income, Latinx student is that we don’t take NO for an answer. It may take us longer, it may take us a few tears, and it may take us finding different ways to get there, but we are determined to accomplish what our heads and hearts set themselves to do because our families already sacrifice too much. We know how it was before so the only direction is forward. In my case, little Tania didn’t wake up every day at 3 am to commute across the US-Mexico border for 10 years for today’s Tania to give up now.
Little me would be so proud to see what was once a dream is now a reality. Present day Tania is working towards becoming a doctor in occupational therapy and accepted a paid residency at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles: University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD)!
This 2023 there is no newest best version of me and there is no need for the newest best version of yourself either. So as hard as it can be, appreciate the now and be patient with who you are because past you once dreamed of who and where you are today. I’m sure little you is proud of how far you have come and your validation is the one that matters!