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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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Dear Class of 2020 ⟩
April 29, 2020, by Marilyn

Life Hacks Videos

To all of the graduates of Class of 2020 or anyone who was about to be celebrated, but due to the pandemic things have changed — this is for you! I know at a certain point we had to grieve the change of an expectation due to things not going as planned (graduation, fieldwork, last day of class celebration with peers, etc.). However, I genuinely believe these changes are outside of our control, so we learned how to become flexible and developed the faith to trust the process. We have discovered the greatness of leaning on our village of family, peers, mentors, staff, and faculty now more than ever for support. And they have risen to the occasion!

As we move on to a different phase of life academically or professionally there will be moments that our highest accomplishments will not be celebrated or may go unnoticed, but that does not mean you didn’t accomplish it! If you ever forget how great you are, please remember how you were able to navigate this experience and you will remind yourself that you are prepared! If you are a prospective student or a student in the program I hope this video can show you how student life was like before COVID-19.

We will see each other soon!



A Day in the Life of Zoom University ⟩
April 13, 2020, by Marilyn

Classes Life Hacks Videos

Throughout my undergraduate and graduate career, I avoided taking online classes for the simple fact that I enjoy interacting with peers and professors in a classroom setting. Due to the unprecedented circumstances with the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been receiving questions from prospective and newly admitted students about how I have been navigating the change to online class instruction. I share in this video strategies that I have incorporated into my home environment to support my online learning. I also discuss how I engage in mental health check-ins to assess how I am doing with the various transitions I am navigating as a student — both professionally and personally. We can get through this together and do not forget to FIGHT ON!


A Social Distance Challenge ⟩
April 10, 2020, by Kat

Diversity Videos

#pushupchallenge #seeajerseypostajersey #untiltomorrow

You already know I had to get in on the #dontrushchallenge with the song by Young T & Bugsey. The song has so much rhythm and swag! If you know me, you know I can’t help but dance when I hear hip hop vibes mixed with Caribbean flow. My fellow current Black OT master and doctorate students alongside alumni licensed OTs worked together on this video. The goal was to showcase the growing ethnic diversity not only within the USC program but also OT in general. We also demonstrated the versatility that an OT degree can have. The fields of acute care, outpatient rehab, health and wellness, research, home health pediatrics, and early intervention were represented in the video. What better time to showcase how amazing occupational therapy is than during OT month?!

Diversity is powerful. Females are powerful. Check out our rendition of the #dontrushchallenge! (We do not own the rights to this music)


Wake Up Call ⟩
April 9, 2020, by Catherine

Life Hacks Videos

Last week, I wasn’t feeling so great. It may have been the constant news being consumed or the overall sense of anxiety that has accompanied the new norm. While the rationale part of me knew that it was very unlikely that I had been infected with COVID-19, the wave of “what ifs” and leaps of the imagination to the worst case scenarios could not be stopped. Long story short, after some rest, extra fluids and time away from the news, felt better. It was my body telling me that I needed to slow down. The unforeseeable changes and disruptions in my daily occupations had challenged my wellbeing and had created unfamiliar reactions.

As an OT, my tool box is filled with strategies and interventions to help others, my focus had been on making sure my family and friends were adjusting the best way possible. I was not being mindful of my own needs, and as a result had burned out. Caregiver and provider burnout has been a topic of discussion throughout the master’s and clinical doctorate programs. Managing a household, residency and school assignments, from the same physical space has forced me to wear multiple hats at once. In the beginning, like many others, I jumped into action, trying to provide a safe environment for my family to cope. In the process, forgetting about myself.

Ironically, I had researched and developed a program during my Level 2 fieldwork, to provide providers in a hospital setting, strategies to respond to the state of vital exhaustion that was caused by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and the overall decreased sense of personal accomplishment. Now more than ever, the current pandemic has created a constant state of fight or flight adrenaline rushes in our communities, to our healthcare frontline workers and other positions of essential service providers, and to our individual selves.

Best practice recommendations include initiating a wellness audit of the workplace, where the leadership would support the team of care providers in identifying sources, providing education and resources, and encouraging team members to express needs and set SMART goals to promote work life balance. Evidence also supports that in times of burnout, being mindful of our core values helps us stay grounded and motivated towards our personal and professional goals in difficult times. I have seen that many of my colleagues who enter healthcare professions share a common passion of helping others, empowering them to thrive in their everyday lives. But in times like these, I want to remind us all that we not only should be compassionate to the needs of others, but our own as well.

On that note, I would like to share some occupations that are important to me and have helped me re-calibrate and stay grounded.

A box of paints

Coffee, and stack of books

Zooming with friends

Also, if you are willing and able, I invite you to help out our frontline healthcare and essential workers in your area. If you are in the LA area, and would like to help out our frontline workers at Keck, please visit this website. Together we will fight on!


The Building Blocks of the Pre-Master’s Program ⟩
February 14, 2020, by Japeth

Admissions Diversity International Videos

Coming from a country where English language is not the official language may be difficult for some students who intend to go abroad for continuing education. This is what I also felt when I was still applying to the program. Questions such as “Will I be able to speak confidently?” or “Can I express myself and my thoughts properly?” were always on my mind. International students also need to take an English Proficiency Exam (IELTS or TOEFL) and must reach a score that is accepted by the department. This requirement is difficult, to be honest! Aside from this, students who are planning to enter graduate school must also take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), which includes questions about analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. This exam is just equally difficult, if not more, as the IELTS or TOEFL.

For interested international students who might be worried on their performance on these tests, don’t fret! I am happy to share about USC’s Pre-Master’s Program, which aims to help students improve their performance and scores!

Below is a video featuring Yen Ting Ni and Yi Fan Lin, both went through the Pre-Master’s program before joining this year’s Post-Professional MA in OT cohort.

I hope this video is helpful to future applicants and students! Also, I would like to share with you about what changes the Admissions Team has been doing! The admissions team headed by Dr. Arameh Anvarizadeh, together with Dr. Kristin Nxumalo and Dr. Amber Bennett, has changed how admissions look like! USC Chan has moved towards what we call the “new admission holistic process”, where all components of the admission criteria are given equal importance and value.

Fight On!

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