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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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Wake Up Call >

by Catherine

Life Hacks Videos

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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 masters 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.

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 >

by Japeth

Admissions Diversity International Videos

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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!


Being Waitlisted >

by Marilyn

1 comment

Admissions Videos

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The feelings one has when learning that they are waitlisted from a top-choice school can vary among each student. However, the reality is that there is still a possibility of gaining admittance to the institution. In this video, three MA-II 2nd year students (Nicole Yoon, Daniel Padilla, and I) discuss our experience with being waitlisted for the USC OT program. I am definitely not tech-savvy, so bear with me. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and hear about how we navigated this experience.

Fight on!


OT in the HOUSE >

by Noelle

Housing and Transportation Living in LA Videos

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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


Before I Let Go… One Last Blog >

by Serena

Diversity Videos

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It is nearly unbelievable to think that my time in USC’s Occupational Therapy Master’s program is coming to an end. And Before I Let Go… I had to post one last time about my graduation ceremony and a surprise Beyonce dance video that is near the end of the blog!

At USC’s Occupational Therapy Graduation ceremony in a feeling of utter bliss and joy after receiving my master’s degree and Award for Professional Promise and Personal Excellence.

It is a bittersweet feeling to come to the end of a program that has given me so much! One of the most difficult parts is saying goodbye to the friends and mentors that I have made while in the program.

At USC’s Black Graduate ceremony with Miriam Brown and Natasha Strickland.

At USC’s Occupational Therapy Graduation ceremony with another student ambassador and friend, Jessica Pederson.

With a few of my friends and cousin at USC’s Occupational Therapy Graduation ceremony.

At USC’s Occupational Therapy Graduation ceremony with a few of my mentors. (Top to Bottom, Left to Right)  Dr. Stefanie Bodison, Dr. Julie McLaughlin Gray, Ms. Bianca Ojeda, and Dr. Camille Dieterle.

I am thankful to have received a master’s degree but I am most grateful for the lifelong friendships I have formed and mentors I have gained while in the program. We have memories, pictures, and videos that we will cherish forever. In honor of graduation here is one of my favorite videos some of my friends and I put together with the help of our friend in USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.

Lastly, I would like to thank my family for supporting me during my OT and life’s journey. At a time of great accomplishments comes the need to remember how you achieved your successes. Without my family I would not be who I am or where I am today. As OTs we know that the community and social supports play a huge role in quality of life and health. My personal accomplishments will always and forever be my community’s accomplishments, my family’s accomplishments. 

At USC’s Occupational Therapy Graduation ceremony with my family. (Left to Right: My dad, baby sister, me, mom, and middle sister)

At USC’s Occupational Therapy Graduation ceremony with other family members. (Left to Right: grandfather, mom, me, and aunt)

My graduation cap decorated by my mother in memory of my grandmother who instilled courage, exceptional work ethics, and kindness into my heart.

Thankfully, I will be staying at USC for another year to complete my doctorate at USC’s Occupational Therapy Faculty Practice (OTFP). At the OTFP I will be pursuing my interests in health and wellness by receiving mentorship while delivering Lifestyle Redesign® interventions to promote healthier habits and routines.

Fight On!

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