Living in LA
These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things ⟩
January 21, 2023, by Mika
Hello again and Happy New Year, my friends!
I wanted to start off the year with a blogpost about one my favorite childhood songs from the movie, The Sound of Music. If you have watched the movie, you might have remembered the scene where Fräulein Maria comforts the children amidst a storm. She tells them (or rather, sings to them) that whenever she feels scared or sad, she remembers her favorite things to help herself cheer up. Now, as a material girl, I kind of used this coping strategy as well to help me adapt to life here in Los Angeles. With that, I present to you some of my favorite things or must-have’s that helped me the past months.
1. Water Filter Pitcher
Moving to a new country requires you to find ways on how locals get their basics, like food or water. Based on the suggestions of some friends and family living in the States, they recommended me to get the Brita water filter pitcher. So far, I don’t have any problems with this brand that I bought; however, you can also opt to buy cheaper brands. These water filters also come in different sizes (even in a dispenser) and are available in local supermarkets like Target and Walmart.
2. Tide Pods
This has been a game changer for me doing laundry since it makes everything more efficient and quicker. This was not a common product back at home so when I discovered this, I really felt like a caveman discovering new technology.
3. Sink Garbage Disposal Unit
Okay, this device got me shouting U.S.A., U.S.A.! to my friends back at home LOL. Again, we don’t have this technology so I was happy to discover this in most American households since it made washing the dishes more convenient.
4. Air Fryer
This is not new technology for me but it definitely helped me save time in cooking meals in between studying. Shoutout to my lovely roommate for sharing this with all of us in the apartment!
5. Tabo (Dipper)
The Filipino in me is definitely showing with this one. I definitely cannot do my self-care occupations or other household chores without my beloved tabo or dipper. Although you can purchase these through Amazon or in Filipino supermarkets, I was able to buy a portable one (it was made of a rubber-like material so I could fold it to fit in my luggage) back home in the Philippines.
From what I understand, most locals use vacuum cleaners to clean their floors. However, I like to go Filipino old school and use a broom and a dustpan to clean some of my floors. For those who prefer cleaning this way like me, I wanted to share that I bought a detachable dustpan back at home and brought it here since most of the dustpans here were hand-held and quite-small, which often triggered my back pain when cleaning.
7. Mobile Applications
I found several mobile applications that had made my stay here in L.A. more convenient. Here are a few I found helpful:
- Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft
- Public transportation apps like Transit and Tap
- Online shopping apps like Amazon (As a student, you can get Amazon Prime for free for 6 months!)
- Food and grocery delivery apps like Door Dash, Uber Eats, Amazon Fresh and Wee! (an Asian grocery delivery application)
- Yelp to find recommendations of places to eat around the area
- USC Gateway mobile app to help you know everything that’s happening in campus and to navigate your university life
8. Gifts (and snacks!) from home
Moving out of your comfort zone to a new country will bring about bouts of homesickness and loneliness from time to time. That is normal — it’s okay not to feel okay sometimes! To help me get through those moments, I’m blessed to have a good set of family and friends who sent some gifts and snacks to help me remember home. It definitely also helped that social media made keeping in touch with them possible!
And that’s the end of my list! What about you, what are your favorite things that get you by?
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.
Finding Housing in LA When Moving from Out of State! ⟩
January 9, 2023, by Leah
While from Northern California, I had been living in Seattle, WA for a few years before moving to LA for USC.
Things I considered when looking for housing in LA
While there are plenty of benefits to living in Currie Hall (convenience / community aspect of living around a lot of other OT students) I thought it was too expensive for my budget. I wanted to find something more affordable in the East LA area. I paid $860/month the first year and now $950/month (boo inflation) but I still found this more affordable than a lot of other options I was seeing.
Some neighborhoods I checked out
Alhambra, Pasadena, Highland Park, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, Arcadia, Los Feliz, and Silverlake.
Who to live with
I was interested in living with other graduate students since we would be understanding of each other’s schedules and interests. I moved in with 2 second year physical therapy students. I loved that we were in fields similar enough to be excited about what the other person was studying, but I felt like it relieved me from pressure of always having to talk about school with roommates. It was also super helpful that the apartment was already mostly furnished since I did not have furniture from when I lived in Washington.
My interests / hobbies
While living in Seattle, some of my favorite occupations included being outdoors hiking or camping. I decided to live in the Alhambra area due to its easy access to the Los Angeles National Forest. I love seeing mountains from my window and being only 20 minutes away from several trailheads. If you are really interested in the beach / surfing / etc. then West LA might be a better fit!
Helpful Facebook pages I joined
- USC Graduate Student Housing
- Young Females: LA — Los Angeles Housing, Rentals, Rooms and Sublets
- House Apts Room for rent in Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Alhambra, Arcadia
Hidden Gems at USC ⟩
December 15, 2022, by Leah Mary
I’ve been at USC since 2016 (WOW), and during my time here, I’ve found some fun places to hang out and events to participate in that I would love to share with you all!
Rock and Reilly’s or Study Hall (UPC)
Rock and Reilly’s or Study Hall are classic USC spots for a fun sit-down restaurant and bar to grab food with friends and watch USC and professional sports! I would always go with friends to hang out and celebrate good times!
USC Break On 2: Salsa Night (UPC)
The first Friday of every month, Break On 2 hosts a salsa night at Mudd Hall. The first hour is a workshop where they teach people tips and tricks, and then the rest of the night, you dance! Sometimes there is even a live band! It’s a 5 dollar entrance fee, but it is worth every penny.
Doheny Library (UPC)
This is the best Library to study at. Every time I study there, I feel like I am at Hogwarts. It is so beautiful.
Free gym memberships with fun open recreations
The perk of being a USC student is getting access to Lyon center, HSC Fitness Center, and Village Fitness center. At Lyon center, they have open recreation hours for badminton, indoor volleyball, Uytengsu outdoor pool, and the PED indoor pool.
Farmer’s market at McCarthy Quad (UPC) or Pappas Quad (HSC)
At UPC, there is a farmer’s market with fresh produce, boxed foods, and jewelry most Wednesdays 11am-3pm. I believe HSC also has a farmer’s market most Wednesdays. These are great places to relax and hammock!
Rose Garden (UPC)
Near the USC Colosseum is a beautiful rose garden where you can take pictures or have a nice picnic. Close to the rose garden, there is also the natural history museum!
Have fun exploring!
Chika with Mika: Life as a Post-Professional Master’s Student 2022 Edition ⟩
November 18, 2022, by Mika
So in Tagalog, chika means “chit-chat”. For this month’s blog post (or rather vlog post), I wanted to chika with you what’s it like to be a post-professional master’s student here in USC Chan! Get to see the Health Science Campus where we have most of our classes and meet some of my friends here in the program. I also shared some clips of my adventures here in LA, particularly in the Grand Central Market, Griffith Park, and Venice Beach!