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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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Yoojin

23 Truths for 2023 >

by Yoojin

Community First-Gen School/Life Balance

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Happy New Year Chan! I compiled some of my favorite quotes. There’s a good mix of bookmarked lines from cherished books, reminders for when life is a little rough, and encouragements to live a compassionate and sacrificial life.

  1. “To me, there was magic in learning.” — Michelle Obama, Becoming
  2. “Occupational therapy is more than a job. For many it is a calling. We felt drawn to it.” — Amy Lamb, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA
  3. “Do what is good. Advocate for what is right. And fight for what is important.” — Bryan Morales
  4. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
  5. “There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.” — John Green, Turtles All the Way Down
  6. “It always seems impossible until it is done.” — Nelson Mandela
  7. “I wasn’t going to let one person’s opinion dislodge everything I thought I knew about myself.” — Michelle Obama, Becoming
  8. “We don’t do all our growing up between birth and adolescence or even our twenties. If we’re fortunate, we never stop.” — Diane Guerrero, In the Country We Love: My Family Divided
  9. “The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional.” — Max Lucado, Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World
  10. “Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” — Bob Kerrey
  11. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” — Plato
  12. “We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up.” — 2 Corinthians 4:8
  13. “An education is not so much about making a living as making a person.” — Tara Westover, Educated
  14. “Why can’t I just eat my waffle?” — Barack Obama
  15. “Listening to an underserved population is how you begin to understand them and serve them better.” — Constance Wu
  16. “Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” — Proverbs 17:17
  17. “Being yourself is all it takes. If you want to impress someone don’t be someone else just be yourself.” — Selena Gomez
  18. “Living without passion is like being dead.” — Jungkook
  19. “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” — Eleanor Brownn
  20. “Family is the most important thing in the world.” — Princess Diana
  21. “It was possible, I knew, to live on two planes at once — to have one’s feet planted in reality but pointed in the direction of progress.” — Michelle Obama, Becoming
  22. “Fall seven times, get up eight.” — Naoki Higashida
  23. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” — John F. Kennedy

Yoojin

A Week in the Life! >

by Yoojin

Classes Community Living in LA School/Life Balance

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As a student ambassador, one of the questions I get the most is how my weekly schedule looks like. Do I have time for a part-time job? What about hobbies? Hanging out with friends and family? Basically, when I enroll in this program, will I have a life outside of school? The short answer is yes. I have a great balance of academics and engaging in my favorite occupations.

With that being said, here’s a little glance into a typical week:

Monday: aside from class from 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM, I go to the gym, go grocery shopping, or just sleep in. In the evening, I try to catch the sunset (at least I did before Daylight Savings ended) on one of my favorite short hikes near HSC, Ascot Hills. All USC students have a free membership for the three gyms on UPC and one at HSC.

Tuesday: Level I Fieldwork, a once-a-week hands-on experience at a site in the community (ex. hospital, private clinic, community center, permanent supportive housing, school). I’m here from 10 AM – 4 PM, but your hours will depend on your specific site.

Wednesday: class from 9 AM – 4:30 PM, with a 1.5-hour lunch break to eat lunch and work on a drawing in the craft restorative classroom with my friends. Throughout the semester, there are events led by various student organizations. This week, I attended an open forum with students and Chan leadership to discuss the recent administrative changes in Chan admissions leadership regarding holistic admissions and diversity.

Thursday: class from 9 AM – 4:30 PM, with a 1.5-hour lunch break where I usually work and grab Dunkin’ Donuts from on campus and attend a meeting. Global Initiatives (GI), USC Occupational Therapy and Science Council (OTSC), and Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD) are hosting a Friendsgiving dinner.

Friday: I have no class or fieldwork, so I run errands. In the evening, I go out with friends. LA has so many things to do. Here’s a previous student blog about some activities.

I’ve also picked up a handful of occupations over the summer that I mentioned in my previous blog. Work-life balance needs active effort to achieve, but it’s definitely doable in OT school.

Yoojin

An OT (student) Needs Her Occupations! >

by Yoojin

Fieldwork Living in LA School/Life Balance

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I have a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy, and I’ve known what OT was for more years of my life than I have not, but this summer I rediscovered the importance of engaging in meaningful activities to add purpose to each day, especially in the midst of stressful life changes (permission granted to say “Duh!” at this point).

This summer was one of the most challenging yet rewarding summers of my life. I spent it completing my Level II fieldwork at a fast-paced outpatient pediatric clinic. Just three days after graduation, I was learning terminology that sounded like a new language, loading up on snacks and interesting podcasts for my 1.5-hour commute, and stomaching my new identity as a post-grad without a real break in between the semesters.

Unsurprisingly, I was burnt out and questioning my competency as an OT student and future clinician. To say the very least, I was exhausted at the end of each day. I felt fulfillment providing care to the (most adorable) kiddos at the clinic, but everyday I was sighing along to the exhaust pipe on my car as Henry (my car) and I made the trip each day. Though only 12 weeks, I knew this current lifestyle was not sustainable for even a short summer. More naps and cups of coffee were not going to cut it for me. I wanted to practice the healthy habits I was taught (and am teaching others) to instill a lifestyle I was proud of and could carry with me to when I am working.

Even though I knew the OT principles and research behind engaging in occupations, it was a little hard to get started. Nothing could beat the thought of being at home, but I remembered how I felt after I forced myself to go on a short run at the park after an especially difficult day at fieldwork. It was an amazing way to decompress and I didn’t even feel significantly more tired!

I thought of my favorite restorative occupations, and reached out to my friends to join me! I spent the remainder of my summer balancing school and life: hiking, making clay ring dishes, running, going to concerts, and trying out new restaurants are some of my fondest memories. I still engage in all these occupations and they bring so much more meaning into my everyday life.

Here’s a little photo recap of my summer!

One of my favorite hikes in LA!

One of my favorite hikes in LA!

At Barcari in Silver Lake

At Barcari in Silver Lake!

Running a short race after a summer of running

Running a short race after a summer of running!

Yoojin

From Enemies to Friends . . . to Lovers: My Occupational Therapy Journey! >

by Yoojin

Admissions First-Gen What are OS/OT?

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(Spoiler: they fall in love at the end!)

When I tell folks that I’ve known about OT since before I even knew how to spell the words, they tell me how lucky I am to have discovered my passion at a very young age, especially in such a niche profession.

And don’t get me wrong, they’re totally right! I see how there is a perfect plan for me, part of which is to attend OT school to become an occupational therapist. However, like most people outside of the healthcare community who know what OT are: there’s a good chance it’s because they or a loved one have experience with receiving therapy services.

My love story with OT starts like this: OT wasn’t always a great passion of mine. In fact, at one point in my life I despised it so much I didn’t want to go into the healthcare field at all! (Here’s some context about me now: those around me can attest that OT is one of my favorite things to blabber about. In fact, someone I met recently asked, “So, is OT just like, your thing, Yoojin?” after I spent a good chunk of our conversation talking about my first Level II fieldwork this past summer. Well, maybe I should’ve dialed it down…he was a physical therapist after all 🤔).

Similar to a relationship between a pair of friends or lovers, it’s hard to remember the rockier parts of my relationship with OT because it’s at such a healthy state right now. But as I look back on my journey of grace, forgiveness, and love in my relationship with OT, I know it’s one that I really want to share. So here it goes….

I wouldn’t exactly say that I “discovered” OT, because that would imply that I was in search of something of the sort. Hm. So would it be more like I was “inescapably, involuntarily compelled into learning about OT”? That makes it sound like someone committed a crime against me. Well, that’s exactly how I felt throughout my childhood as a family member of someone who’s receiving OT services. I was too young to stay home alone, so I was forced to tag along. To almost every. Single. Appointment.

This meant I missed out on playdates and hanging out on the playground after class, both foolish, yet simple pleasures for a little selfish, elementary-aged Yoojin. But, I mean, why was I forced to play the third parent and the unpaid translator (shoutout to us first-gen children of immigrants!) rather than play tag or house? I cringe now at my shallow desires, but my years of frustration from holding such roles grew into a seed of bitterness in my heart toward OT and the clinic, the place where my childish dreams laid to rest. As much as I knew how much it strained my parents to be caregivers and parents, I pushed them away and continued to wallow in my self-pity.

It wasn’t until years later when it came to applying for college when things finally started to shift, and I took several weeks to reflect on what I really wanted to do. After countless talks with my mentors, late nights thinking, and tears spilled over wondering if I was destined to do nothing, I realized that OT was the only profession that I’d spent hundreds of hours observing and knew for a fact what I’d be getting myself into: a selfless, fulfilling, individual-oriented profession that works to improve the lives of clients by helping them achieve their personal goals.

During this time, my family and I exchanged so much grace and forgiveness. I fell more in love with OT as I rediscovered it on my own terms. Since applying and getting into the BS-MA (now the BS-OTD) program right here at USC, I’ve grown so much appreciation and love for this profession and never looked back. Love truly does conquer all! In my case, I was able to loosen my hardened heart filled with misplaced hatred for OT and foster it into a deepened empathy for my future clients’ needs. Give me all those cheesy pins and notepads that say “I ❤️ OT,” because I really, really do!

Me, over-the-world at the Admitted Student Reception in 2018!

Me, over-the-world at the Admitted Student Reception in 2018!