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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Uselessness is Gorgeous ⟩
, by Clarissa
1 comment

Life Hacks School/Life Balance What are OS/OT?

Normally, there’s a little lull at the beginning of the semester before it goes into full swing but this semester hasn’t been like that at all. I hit the ground running once the semester began. I’m really busy and I love it. In order to stay balanced, though, I’ve started thinking a lot about concepts I learned last semester in my Health Promotion and Wellness class. Particularly, I thought about a lecture we had about happiness and how I can ensure I have personally meaningful moments in the midst of my hectic schedule.

I thought our happiness lecture related really well to an art exhibit I saw when I visited Chicago over the summer. It’s called “The Happy Show” by Stefan Sagmeister, an individual who struggled with depression after his mother’s death. Because of his depression, he became interested in whether or not people can train their minds to be happy, similar to how people train their bodies. This one particularly beautiful art piece of his was made out of post-it notes and spelled out “Uselessness is gorgeous.” It looked like this:

Uselessness is gorgeous

Sagmeister accompanied this art piece with a personal experience that relates to the concept of “flow” which we also learned about in our Health Promotion and Wellness class. One experiences flow when completely absorbed in a satisfying activity and ceases to notice the passage of time. By this art piece, he wrote:

Uselessness is gorgeous. I came up with a reputable technique to artificially produce a moment of bliss: take a scooter, drive it on a beautiful road with little traffic so I can ride without a helmet and feel the wind in my hair while listening to about a dozen carefully selected songs, music that I don’t know well (so it won’t have any baggage) but am likely going to like. And very important: there can be no purpose to the drive, just cruising without any goal. This recipe would send shivers down my spine every time. To identify something without any goal and without any function has its own beauty: it’s the difference between a walk in the park and a commute. It’s the different between art and design.

This quote also reminded me of a pediatrics lecture my professor Dr. Erna Blanche gave where she said that without participating in activities that we do “just for the heck of it,” life wouldn’t be worth living. I found that Sagmeister’s view really complemented OT’s value of participating in activities simply because they are meaningful.

As for me, the closest moment I’ve experienced to Sagmeister’s description of bliss was my climb up Yosemite’s Half Dome, pictured below. When I reached the top and looked over all of Yosemite Valley, I forgot about time and space. I have decided to incorporate more nature into my life this semester in order to encourage a work-life balance.

Half Dome, Yosemite Valley


Snow Day! ⟩
, by Rob

Life Hacks Living in LA

Last Friday I was giving a tour to a prospective student when what should we stumble upon but a giant snow pile next to Tommy Trojan on the main campus.

I’m always open to the unexpected when touring students on both of our campuses — you never know what might happen — but I was not prepared for snow! Being from Chicago, snow is nothing new to me, but after almost two years of sunny southern California, it certainly was a surprise.

Turned out, they had trucked in a load of snow and dumped it in the middle of campus for everyone to enjoy.

So naturally, I indulged my Midwestern roots (and my inner child) and had a good old fashioned snowball fight. I would love to brag about how I “won,” but the prospective student somehow managed to get snow down the back of my shirt. Fortunately for me, the snow fell between my outer shirt and inner shirt, which made the situation even more comical. Afterwards, I juggled snowballs for the first time!

Such good-natured fun was exactly what I needed in the middle of preparations for finals week. We had a big project due that morning and an essay due that afternoon. I was tired and just a little stressed. After playing in the snow, none of that seemed to matter. A little bit of occupation-based snow therapy was exactly what I needed!


I Am Thankful ⟩
, by Jen

Community Life Hacks

With Thanksgiving only one week away, I cannot help but think about all I have to be thankful for. I am thankful for the intelligent and caring faculty that is supporting me throughout my education at USC. I am thankful for my student ambassador co-workers who make my job even more enjoyable. I am thankful for my classmates who have become some of my closest friends. I am thankful for the skilled occupational therapists that have taken so much time to mentor me and enrich my learning experiences. I am thankful for my friends and family who give me space to study (or much needed study breaks) and provide me with unconditional love and support. Most of all, I am thankful that I have found a professional that will remind me every day how much I have to be thankful for.


My Room and the Person-Environment-Occupation Model ⟩
, by Clarissa

Life Hacks Living in LA School/Life Balance

This past week was so eventful with fun, fieldwork, and organizing my room! The Occupational Therapy and Science Council held a pool party at one of our classmate’s beautiful apartment complex in downtown Los Angeles, the Medici, with yummy food and good company! I also had my first day at my Level I fieldwork this week at a school-based pediatric setting, which was really cool. My clinical instructor was so great and I’m excited to go back!

Surprisingly, though, room organizing was the highlight of my week. I’ve been living out of a suitcase after returning to LA post-Level II fieldwork. Standing in that inferno of clothes and papers, I was thinking about the Person-Environment-Occupation (PEO) Model that I learned about in my Mental Health immersion last year and, yes, I started OT-ing myself. My occupation is being an OT student, my person factors included my decreased motivation to study whenever I looked at my room, and my environment was a chaos of my personal belongings (minus the one clear walkway from my door to my bed). To improve my occupational performance as a student, I went to work and I am now SO EXCITED that I like being in my room again! My bookshelf is also the new apple of my eye. The moral of the story here: stay balanced and make time for the little things.


Goals for winter break ⟩
, by Alisa

Life Hacks

I’m done with finals! Woohoo! I’m looking forward to relaxing more over winter break.

I’ll be doing a stay-cation this break, and here are some of my goals:

  • Decorate the Christmas tree (I just did last night!)
  • Learn how to play a ukulele (I purchased one over Black Friday weekend!)
  • Learn how to juggle (a friend told me I have potential 😉)
  • Master the Gangnam-style dance
  • Read Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Do more yoga

These goals should keep me busy, and I’ll keep in touch by blogging too. Do you have plans for the holidays?

It’s beginning to look and feel like Christmas!

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