OS/OT Student Blog
MOvember, Thanksgiving and a White Christmas →
Nov 26, 2013, by Rob
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Holiday cheer filled the office today, as I entered to Christmas music playing from the office computer courtesy of fellow ambassador Ryan. Kim was out of the office for a meeting, so we felt completely free to carol to our hearts content. Growing up with White Christmas as a winter staple and maturing into a deep voice, I’m a big Bing Crosby fan. His songs are some of the few I can belt out without embarrassing myself.
This is a time for holidays. Thanksgiving is coming up and I am feeling very grateful for all the special people in my life. Even though I won’t be able to make it back to Chicago until our winter break, it’s going to be a time to spend with friends here on the West Coast. I’ll enjoy the few days off from school and lots of delicious food.
November is also MOvember. It’s a chance to grow wild mustaches to promote awareness of men’s health issues such as prostate or testicular cancer and mental health. As someone who has seen the impact of these challenges, I feel like we have a responsibility to share our experiences and bring awareness to these issues. Things like urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, cancer and mental health issues are often hidden conditions that can cause men considerable anxiety as they try to live with these challenges. Being supportive, non-judgmental and conscious of language can make a difference.
I grow my mustache to encourage support and understanding, not only during the holidays, but for the rest of the year too. And thank you to Ryan, my MOSista, for her contribution to this month, as you can see below!
Unofficial Rose Parade mascot →
Oct 31, 2013, by Rob
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This past weekend was the Annual Conference for the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC) in Sacramento. There were lots of educational seminars, presidential addresses and opportunities for after-hours mingling. For me, the most enjoyable part was volunteering and working behind the scenes.
Helping with registration and volunteers gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of new practitioners and students. I think it always helps to see a smiling face first thing in the morning. That, and a cup of coffee.
I also have been helping promote OTAC’s effort to get a float representing occupational therapy into the 2017 Rose Parade. This is a nationwide movement, spearheaded by California therapists, focused on promoting the profession and making us more “widely recognized” the year in which we celebrate our Centennial Anniversary. To find out more about the Rose Parade and make a contribution, click here.
One way that I put my skills to use is illustrated in the picture below. Usually, I am down for just about anything, and that includes putting on a wacky hat and walking around getting attention for the Rose Parade effort. At some point in the day Sunday, a woman came up to me and offered to paint my face. I think she was only half serious, but when I challenged her to do it, she rummaged around in her bag and came up with some makeup and got to work.
The results were pretty spectacular, as you can see. I’d like to think that I was responsible for at least part of the great fundraising we did that weekend. But I wonder if I scared more people away that afternoon?! Happy Halloween!
A global reach →
Oct 24, 2013, by Rob
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Occupational therapy is a profession practiced worldwide, with 80 different nations represented in our global association, the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. USC has embraced the global nature of the profession with the MA-I program, which offers a one-year master’s degree to practicing clinicians, both from the United States and internationally.
I recently received a picture from my friend Toshi, who came from Japan last year to do his MA-I at USC. After finishing the program, he returned to Kyoto, where he works in the sub-acute care sector of adult rehabilitation. I’ve attached his picture at the bottom and I’m glad to see our buttons proudly displayed in his work space!
The opportunity to integrate with practitioners from other countries is of great value to us as students. Being exposed to a broader perspective on occupational therapy continues to challenge us to keep an open mind when it comes to our expectations on what OT should look like. And we get to meet interesting people from a variety of backgrounds and expand our interconnected network of OTs across the world.
Toshi, you may be across the world from us, but you will never be far from our hearts!
Planning for the future →
Oct 17, 2013, by Rob
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This is an exciting time to be a second-year student. After getting back from our full week of fieldwork on Monday, my Inbox started filling up for future things to do. First, I had to submit my application for the OTD program. After a lot of thought and consultation with faculty and fellow students, I decided it was the best decision for myself and my future in the profession. I’m looking forward to exploring possible residency sites in the next few month as I try to work out a fun and educational yearlong experience. Find out more on the OTD here.
I’m also starting to plan the elective courses I will be taking this spring. We have two required classes and then up to 12 additional elective units. The program is very structure for the first three semesters, but the final semester is exciting because it gives all of us students the chance to specialize in an area of interest. I’m going to be taking the Universal Design class as well as an independent study on disability studies in occupational therapy. The only sad part is that our cohorts (the three groups that we were divided into at the beginning of the program) will be splitting up. I have made some really good friends in my cohort – spending hours playing on the pediatric equipment, making splints, studying, eating lunch and basically living together for a year and a half has created tremendous camaraderie, and I’ll miss it. But that just means we will have to get some potlucks and themed parties going to bring us back together!
The last big decision on my plate is where to do my Level II Fieldwork next summer. Since I was a teaching assistant this past summer for the foundational courses the first-year’s take, I will be doing both my Level IIs back-to-back after I graduate in May. I’m going to Philadelphia for my second Level II to work on an interdisciplinary program for older adults that focuses on aging in place, something I am very passionate about. I’m still exploring places to do my first Level II here in LA. I’m leaning toward mental health, but I still have a few more weeks to get things figured out.
Whatever I choose will shape the future of my next few years in the program. But no pressure, right?
Also, a big round of applause to fellow Ambassador Jen! She has posted a whopping eight blog posts thus far. I’ll have to step up my game in the second half of the semester!
Night with a legend →
Oct 3, 2013, by Rob
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USC has a program called Visions and Voices that “features theatrical productions, music and dance performances, film screenings, lectures and workshops” in an effort to “affirm the human spirit.” I don’t know about all that, but what I do know is that because of this initiative, I got to see a rocking concert put on by Elton John!
Tickets for all these performances are free, so you can imagine the number of entries into the lottery for the limited seating available at Bovard Auditorium on the University Park Campus. I was one of the unlucky majority to be placed on the wait list, but decided to show up early anyway hoping for enough extra tickets to get a seat. There was already a long queue, but I sat down and read a book for several long minutes before making friends with a few freshman behind me. They were about to leave (a huge mistake!), so I decided to teach them how to juggle.
We were about 70 or 80 people back in line and, right before the show began, they finally started letting people in 10 at a time. When we were about five people from the front they stopped us and we got worried that they ran out of tickets. Turned out they were collecting their few remaining VIP seats and my two new friends and I ended up with orchestra-level tickets! What a rush.
And did I mention all these events are completely FREE!?
Elton John was still rocking the house at age 66. He played a bunch of older songs and the place was jumping. In the middle of the program, they did a brief sit-down interview with him, where he shared a lot of old stories as well as some of his feelings about new music and his new album. Then he played some songs from that album and finished things off with a bang. As “Rocket Man” echoed in my head, I burst out from the auditorium and happened to run into my two new friends. We shared a hug and they were clearly ecstatic, yelling out “This is why we go to USC!”
One of the many reasons why.