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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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WOMEN.

Teresa


by Teresa

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Community Diversity First-Gen

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That’s it. That’s the post.

As Women’s History Month comes to an end, I’ve been reflecting on all the women who’ve helped shape me into the woman I am today while I learn how to use my voice for all the women to come. Here are some of them:

From left to right: Daniela, Michelle, Miranda, myself, Maggie, Denisse, Emily, China, Lizzo

From left to right: Daniela, Michelle, Miranda, myself, Maggie, Denisse, Emily, China, Lizzo

Over 75% of occupational therapists in America are women and I can’t wait to become one of them. To enter a profession filled with such intelligent, warm, compassionate, and beautiful individuals such as the ones pictured alongside me here always reassures me that I followed the right path. Both in and out of the classroom, I learn so much from their strength, resilience, and experiences. With all of us being at Chan at the same time and learning from our professors who are some of the most powerful women I’ve encountered in this profession, we are constantly challenged to grow into our power as well.

Top row from left to right: Michelle, Yuka, Courtney, Ann, Connie; Bottom row from left to right: Joan, myself, Kristine

Top row from left to right: Michelle, Yuka, Courtney, Ann, Connie
Bottom row from left to right: Joan, myself, Kristine

From middle school to undergrad, I’ve found lifelong friends along the way and I am so proud of the women we’ve become and are on our way to becoming! It’s extremely empowering to see my friends achieving their goals and doing the things we talked about growing up. I love hearing their stories about their respective fields – marketing, medicine, accounting, nursing, business, social work – and only hope they feel the same whenever I talk about OT. At this point, I’m pretty sure they could give you a pretty good definition of what occupation is 😉 Whether it be moving across the country to start a new job, going to graduate school, or buying a home, I love to see my favorite women succeed. It motivates me to work toward my dreams as well, so that we can all celebrate our wins together. #WomenPostingWs

Me, my sister, Kim (USC Price MHA ’16), and our nieces manifesting Fight On ✌️ for me at my graduation from UCLA in 2018

Me, my sister, Kim (USC Price MHA ’16), and our nieces manifesting Fight On ✌️ for me at my graduation from UCLA in 2018

Last but not least, there’s all the women in my family who have played a crucial role in who I am. Coming from a family of refugees and immigrants, obtaining degrees from all these fancy universities sometimes feels… snobby, even though it’s the very reason they came here – better opportunities for those who came after, for me. I think about this a lot and even more so once I became an aunt to two beautiful girls. While the strength, resilience, and sacrifices of my grandma, mom, aunts, and sisters have shaped who I am, my nieces help shape the woman I want to become.

When taken together, I am reminded of the complexities of being a woman, the many roles and expectations it comes with (both good and bad), and how this experience becomes further convoluted by things out of one’s control, including gender identity, being BIPOC, and the imposition of traditional gender roles. When I think about my own intersectionality, it is in relation to a new skill – learning how to use my voice to take up space. Growing up, I was told to become the docile, hardworking, obedient Vietnamese girl I was meant to be. As the youngest daughter, my thoughts often came last and my opinions were seldom considered as a serious contributor to the conversation. So as I grew into womanhood, being told that my voice mattered felt unnatural sometimes. It can still be difficult to organize my thoughts and convey them as a seamlessly delivered statement, without anticipating being silenced. I still haven’t figured out the surefire way to rectify this, but I do know how empowering it is when I use my voice and have folks right there alongside me, listening and lifting. I’d like to leave you with a poem I admire; it is my hope you use it to uplift the voices of all the women in your life, this month and every month until the end of time.

 

Hear me as a woman.
Have me as your sister.
On purpled battlefield breaking day,
So I might say our victory is just beginning,
See me as change,
Say I am movement,
That I am the year
And I am the era
Of the women.

“Won’t You Be My Sister?”
by Amanda Gorman

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