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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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Goodbye, Summer! Hello, Fall semester! ⟩
August 26, 2014, by Claire

Fieldwork What are OS/OT?

Hello again!

It has been a fantastic summer full of learning, and it’s good to be back. To pick up where we left off from my first post, commencement was great! Dr. Elizabeth Yerxa was our commencement speaker, and I felt like all of us were a little starstruck because she is such a distinguished member in the field of occupational therapy. The following Monday, I began my first Level II Fieldwork at a private pediatric clinic called PlaySteps in Northern California. It was an incredible experience because I was able to have some kids on my own caseload and the occupational therapists there provided great mentorship. I learned pretty quickly that observing a therapist working with a kid is very different from actually treating the kid yourself. It seems to require many years of experience to have reflexes as fast as the therapists’ that I observed during fieldwork! One of the highlights from this summer was being able to build up rapport with the kids and think of creative activities that match with their interests. For example, one kid that was on my caseload had difficulty keeping up with his peers during writing tasks and we worked on handwriting together. He told me that he was reading the Magic Tree House book series recently, which I was excited about because I read them when I was a kid too! We decoded mystery notes with number-letter codes. It was fun! One fulfilling moment was when we finished a session, and a kid casually commented while leaving, “I like OT.” WHOOHOO! One challenge for me was maintaining flexibility with how a session may go — sometimes a kid doesn’t show up, other times an activity simply doesn’t go as planned. I definitely felt myself grow in the skills of a pediatric occupational therapist, but also recognized that there are many many many things left to learn.

Here’s to another great school year!


Back in full effect! ⟩
August 26, 2014, by Brenda


Hello everyone! It’s hard to believe that only a few years ago I was living in the bay area wondering what my next move was going to be. And now here I am! I have really enjoyed my time here at USC and look forward to what this new school year will bring. This summer I had the opportunity to complete my Level II fieldwork at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, Ca and it was awesome! I really enjoyed the acute rehab setting and learned so much from my patients. I am excited to continue learning the beauty and wonders occupational therapy holds. This profession is simply the best and I am so grateful to be a part of it.


One Step Closer ⟩
August 21, 2014, by Claire

Fieldwork Getting Involved What are OS/OT?

It is a couple days before USC Commencement 2014! It’s hard to believe that my time as an undergraduate at USC is officially coming to an end. “Officially,” because I feel like I’ve been done with my undergrad for forever, but now I’m finally getting the diploma! Hooray! People often get confused about my class standing, actually. (“So . . . you’re both an undergrad and grad student right now?”) I technically finished all my undergraduate credits in my third year and this past year was my first year Master’s. When I tell friends that I’m staying another year, they think I’m a super senior when actually it’s to wrap up the master’s degree in occupational therapy. Talk about some identity crisis!

So, we are done with the first year in the program!! Most of us have two weeks off until the start of Level II fieldwork. This year has been absolutely amazing. I befriended so many talented classmates with a huge variety of backgrounds that all the passion to become occupational therapists. The faculty has lots of experience (seriously, mad respect for them). The two immersions that I went through this year were mental health and pediatrics. This summer, my Level II fieldwork will be at a pediatric clinic in Northern California. Part of me is super excited and another part of me is going EEPS! I am sure it will be a very valuable learning experience, and I’m looking forward to it.

Looking back to my first moments at USC, it has been so cool to see how OT is now a much more well-known area of study among the students. When I came in to USC with a Pre-Occupational Therapy emphasis, I remember needing to explain what OT is to basically every person that I met. (Wow, this is a major throwback to four years ago. I’ll try not to be too sentimental.) Now, I’m meeting a lot of first and second year undergrads who are already applying into the OT program, which is awesome! I am aware that the program is becoming increasingly competitive, and some of my advice to undergrads is to get involved! I was active in the USC Pre-OT club, which was a great way to see OT in practice. USC OT elective classes are informative, fun, and a good way to meet faculty (hint: letters of recs!). Volunteering and getting as much exposure to OT is also definitely recommended — that’s how I first learned about OT too! I was in high school trying to collect some community service hours to graduate and I met OTs at the center that I was volunteering at. I loved the idea of improving health and development through fun (we were working with children), did some research about OT, and found myself here at USC.

There’s so much to learn still about OT! I will be keeping you updated as the summer goes on! Congratulations to the Class of 2014, hooray, everyone!


Leaving Los Angeles . . . ⟩
May 12, 2014, by Kate

Fieldwork Living in LA

This summer, I am embarking on an adventure! I will be completing my second Level II fieldwork in Seattle. I am pretty excited, as I’ve never really lived in the Pacific Northwest. My parents moved to West Seattle in 2006, right when I graduated from USC (the first time). I will be moving in with them for the summer, living in the basement apartment of their house. My fieldwork is in Puyallup, at a children’s therapy clinic. I’m excited for a little bit more green scenery and some occasional raindrops! I’ve lived in Los Angeles since I came to USC in 2002 for undergrad, and it has been a truly magical experience. I love the weather — there is no place else like it in the world!! I also love the variety of experiences that LA offers — from the best restaurants, to the magic of Hollywood, to sunny beaches, to great hiking, to art and history, this city has a place in my heart. I know I will be back in August to begin my doctorate work, but it is going to be welcome adventure to experience something new for 12 weeks!

Which reminds me . . . It is my last day as a Student Ambassador! I have loved the last 9 months writing this blog and representing the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. I have learned and grown a lot, and now I am ready to accept my diploma this Friday. So, here’s to the future!! Cheers!


One Week Down, 17 More To Go ⟩
January 23, 2014, by Ryan


Well, I have finished my first week of my last semester of school! (I am probably going to use that phrase a lot because it sounds so great . . . “my last semester!”) I am very excited about my classes. I have loved how our schedules have been set up for us so far this past year and a half, but it is really nice to be in classes that I have chosen. There is a different excitement about each class. Yesterday, I had my first clinical observation at Keck Medical Center for my Acute Care course I am taking. I was a little nervous at first because I haven’t spent a lot of time in hospitals, but that is why I signed up for this course! Last semester, I completed my Level I Fieldwork for Adult Rehab in a hand clinic so I wasn’t able to see a big variety of diagnoses.

I really enjoyed my experience at Keck. The beginning of the morning was spent completing our orientation and filling out paper work. Then I was able to shadow Dr. Don Gordon who is a practicing therapist at Keck and has been a guest lecture for two of my classes since I’ve been in the program. He is very nice and an engaging speaker so I was happy to hang out with him yesterday as well as see him in action. It was great! I saw three patients with a variety of reasons for being in the hospital; one individual had recent spinal surgery, another person had gastrointestinal problems, and then I saw a man living with liver dysfunction and Hepatitis. Observing Dr. Gordon, I truly saw a client-centered approach with each patient we saw. He does a wonderful job sitting to talk and listen to his patients. Each person had their own difficulties that were causing them discomfort but I could see how they all appreciated the time we took to just talk and hear about who they were. The focus was not only on their physical impairments but also on the things or people in their lives before coming to the hospital or even before they were sick or had any pain. I left very uplifted and inspired! I love OT!!! (Another phrase I think I use a lot, but I mean it . . . I LOVE OT!!).

Here are my classmates and I waiting to start our shifts

Here are my classmates and I waiting to start our shifts . . .

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