Faculty / Staff Resources Student Resources
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
X/Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn YouTube

Student Blog
Housing and Transportation

Show tag list


OT in the HOUSE ⟩
November 14, 2019, by Noelle

Housing and Transportation Living in LA Videos

Warning: time lapsed commute may cause motion sickness. 😬 Skip to 2:00 for just the apartment.

I want everyone to know that I made this on iMovie ON MY PHONE and I am not the most tech savvy so bear with me. 😊

I originally wanted the background music to double as my song recommendation (”Home” by Dan Croll), but alas, couldn’t make it happen. The background music is “Extra Jolly” by Mark Mothersbaugh.


Making Peace with my Commute ⟩
November 6, 2019, by Kevin

Housing and Transportation Life Hacks Living in LA

Growing up in a small town, the longest “commute” you have is around twenty minutes to go across town. Generally, people enjoyed driving and on Sunday I would go on a drive along the lake with my dad to relax and enjoy the open roads. Parking was plentiful and free. People used their car horns only for emergencies or to give friends a quick “hello” as they passed by. For much of my life, driving was a preferred occupation and something I looked forward to as part of my day. Soon after moving to Los Angeles, that all changed and driving quickly became one of my most stressful and unenjoyable occupations. My shortest commute is around twenty minutes, roads are rarely open, parking is sparse and expensive, and car horns are a little less friendly. What once was one of my most enjoyable thirty minute daily occupation was now my least enjoyable two hour daily inconvenience.

Quickly, I realized that I had taken on this pessimistic attitude toward driving and it was impacting me negatively. After coming to this realization, I chose to reframe my attitude toward my commute and find ways to make the time more enjoyable and relaxing. My first discovery on my quest to making my commute enjoyable was podcasts! Listening to podcasts and audiobooks brought back much of my enjoyment for the drive itself. Within a few weeks, I was hooked on several podcasts including Stuff You Should Know, Modern Love, and Ted Talks Daily. I now looked forward to a long drive because it gave me time to listen to a great story or learn something new.

Along with listening to podcasts, I made some other changes to my driving routine to create a more relaxing experience. First, I started using the app Waze to estimate my drive time for the next day and I would automatically add thirty minutes to all of my trips. This additional thirty minutes allowed me to relax when I encountered unexpected traffic, time to find parking, and take the slow lanes where I tend to find more friendly drivers. Next, I started walking or riding my longboard places that were close to my apartment and I found that I would usually get to my destination faster than if I had taken my car. Lastly, I began to pay more attention to the routes I took each day so I could take my eyes away from my phone’s GPS system. Knowing my daily route gave me the opportunity to relax because I was no longer concerned with missing a turn or getting lost. 

Making these changes has brought back my enjoyment of driving and reduced the stress in my life. Recently, I even started going on Sunday drives again down the coast and it feels just like when I would drive along the lake with my dad. Moving to a big city came with a lot of change, but I am happy to say that I have made peace with my commute.


Let’s Eat! ⟩
September 11, 2019, by Kevin

Housing and Transportation Life Hacks Living in LA

For many of us living in LA or new to the area eating is one of our most cherished occupations. Last year on campus, I spent some quality time “researching” the best food on the HSC campus . . . so loosen up a notch on that belt and let’s eat.

Food Trucks
While they may not always be the healthiest option, the food trucks around campus offer some of the best local cuisine your money can buy! With a wide variety of options from gyros to burgers, there is something delicious for everyone’s taste. Personally, I visited the La Estrella truck every Tuesday to get some of the best pastor tacos and burritos I’ve ever had. If you plan to go to any of the food trucks during lunch, budget at least fifteen to thirty minutes of time because the lines grow quick. Additionally, some of the trucks have an extra card charge, so plan to bring cash.

Farmer’s Markets
There are two amazing farmer’s markets on/near campus every week that have some awesome food options that are both affordable and healthy! Every Tuesday, the Keck Farmers Market comes to the Health Science Campus and quickly became popular within our cohort. It’s a little bit of a walk, so grab a friend or two and plan for about a five minute walk each way. Despite the walk, the food is well worth the trek! If you miss this farmers market, don’t worry, several of the vendors also come to the Pappas Quad located near the Norris Medical Library on Wednesday or Thursday. Some of my favorites from the Farmer’s Market include giant spicy tuna sushi burritos, pita with hummus, and pupusas. Not only are the hot meals tasty, the farmers market offers a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you aren’t sold on the farmers market already . . . then you are about to be! The market offers a healthy community eating program called the Veggie Buck program that allows you to purchase a token to double your purchases of the fresh produce. Furthermore, any produce that does not sell by the end of the week is donated and distributed to families in the community.

On-Campus Dining
If those first two options aren’t your taste, then there are great options for eating on campus. If you are looking for a quick pick-me-up before class or during breaks, check out the Quench Juice Bar. Quench has great drinks and sandwiches if you are like me and forget to pack lunch. If you are looking for more options, then take a quick walk over to the Plaza Marketplace which has some more recognizable favorites such as Starbucks and Panda Express.

Want to take your campus dining up a notch? Then reserve a table at the only full-service restaurant on campus, The Edmondson, for a special occasion.

Off-Campus Dining
There are so many great food options in Los Angeles so explore!


January 28, 2019, by Joyce

Housing and Transportation Living in LA

You got accepted into the program.
You committed. 
But now you need to start putting this dream into action.

I was overwhelmed when I first began this process. I was late to the OT house registration deadline and scrambled for housing in the first 2 months of the program. Picture this, 22 year old female moving from NYC to LA with 2 suitcases and no housing. Atrocious mess? You betcha. Luckily I had a few friends out here who let me crash on their couch for a couple of weeks. I moved 5 times before settling on a place for my first year of grad school and moved again for my second year of grad school.

So I get it. Housing is important and if your housing situation is stressful, honestly, it’s impossible to study effectively. So here are some of the tips that I gained from my experience and would like to share with you all:

  1. OT House — this is the most commonly discussed housing option. There are a few blog posts about it already so I won’t cover it but check out Caroline’s Post if you’re interested.
  2. Currie Hall — also another highly popular living space that is a 5 minute walk from classes. There are few blog posts about it here so I won’t waste your time on these.

Now that we covered those, here are some housing options that are not as widely discussed. Note — I personally chose to live near the main campus (UPC) as I found it more accessible to stores like Trader Joe’s and Target. So most of the following information will be for housing near the main campus. I broke it down by budget:

ICON PLAZA, 3584 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90007

Most commonly rented by undergraduate students, I did find a community of graduate students here. If you’re all about the amenities then this place might be the place for you. There is an indoor gym, game room, and multiple study rooms to utilize. Most commonly, students will have their own bedroom while sharing the living space, bathroom, and kitchen area with others. There are various floorplans available so you can browse if this is a place of interest!

~$900/month for a SINGLE BED SPACE or ~$1810/month for a PRIVATE 1 bed/1 bath
UNIVERSITY GATEWAY, 3335 S Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90007

This is another popular housing choice for students who want to be near campus. The pricing will really depend on your preference of having a private single bedroom apartment or if you’re open to sharing a room with another student (2 beds in 1 room) which will cut down costs. This complex also has a variety of amenities including a fitness center, study rooms, rooftop terraces, and a sun & soak deck. Underneath the apartment buildings you’ll find places to eat like Subways, Blaze Pizza, Cream, and a CVS. I lived here for about a month throughout the summer program. But their leasing comes to an end at the end of July and I didn’t feel like living here with other undergraduate students during my grad school year. But I will admit that the amenities and location was great.

Starting $899/month
The Lorenzo, 325 W Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007

Similar to the University Gateway, The Lorenzo is another popular student housing option mainly for undergraduate students though I have had met many graduate students who opt to live here. The pricing depends on whether you want a bed space vs. a private bedroom, the latter being more pricey. The Lorenzo also comes with a variety of amenities including a fitness center, study rooms, rooftop sundeck, and swimming pools.

The three apartment complexes above all come furnished.

The following information is now other leasing companies that many USC students use, both undergrad and grad students alike. Some may be furnished while others aren’t.

STUHO manages many different buildings with a variety of floorplans. This is also the leasing company that I am currently leasing from! With this company I found a private bedroom with a small kitchenette. I share bathrooms with other students on the floor but avoid roommate drama about cleaning because the company has a cleaning team that comes in once a week to tidy up all shared spaces. This company has a variety of options that you can explore to find a space that you’re comfortable with. All properties are located close to main campus. In my house alone, I found undergraduate, graduate, and even PhD students.

First Choice Housing 
Though I have never leased from this company, I have met with many students who do rent from them. Similar to the STUHO there are a variety of properties to look into. If you can recruit other graduate students you can land a property to share together!

If you’re not interested in living near any of the campuses, getting to school can still be doable especially if you are without a car (like me!). Just make sure to live near a metro line (preferable the Red or Purple) that will take you to Union Station. Because from Union Station, you can take the USC shuttle bus directly to campus (both main and HSC campus). A few popular areas are Silverlake/EchoPark, Koreatown, and Downtown LA. If you do have a car and don’t mind the commute, many students elect to live in Pasadena/Alhambra. To find these housing spots, I have found that apartments.com and zillow.com have some great listings to explore. Of course these are spots that you would most likely want to check out before signing a lease. If you can create some free time in your schedule before you start the program and you’re in the LA area, I would highly suggest blocking out a day just to explore housing options. It’s could be chaotic in a sense where you’ll probably be driving/walking a lot but you can have many viewings in one day (many which last 5-10 min).

Housing can be a stressful thing to deal with. If you have any specific questions/concerns, I am more than happy to discuss details with you! Feel free to email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Don’t be afraid to reach out as I definitely wished I did when I started the program . . . would have been in the same situation but less stressed with more information. Good luck!


HSC Master Plan and Beautification Project ⟩
September 20, 2018, by Evan

Housing and Transportation Living in LA

If you’re like me, you can’t walk past a construction site without wondering what’s going up. Here at HSC (USC Health Science Campus) there’s a lot to wonder about! We are fortunate to be in school at a time when the university and is significantly investing in infrastructure, so I thought I’d take a moment to share with you a little about some of the projects we students walk by on a daily basis.

Street Beautification Project
In process; intended to make the campus more publicly accessible and pedestrian friendly. Improvements include wider sidewalks for a safer environment and more usable public space, new vegetation including drought tolerant flora and 200 new trees, and undergrounding of overhead utilities.

Norris Healthcare Consultation Center
114,000 square foot clinical building housing USC Institute of Urology, an infusion center treating both cancer and non-cancer patients, a women’s specialty care and breast imaging center, the Transplant Institute and the Outpatient Surgery Center. Just opened in January 2018!

Hyatt House
A new 200 bed hotel with extended stay suites! Facilities will include ground floor retail with a sit down restaurant. Its convenient location right next to the San Pablo Parking structure and Curry Residential Complex will make it an ideal place for OT Families to stay when in town for the white coat ceremony.

And this is just the beginning. Keep in mind this isn’t even inclusive of all the work being done to county owned buildings at LAC-USC hospital right next door! It’s an exciting time to be a student at USC.

Page 2 of 5 |  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›