OS/OT Student Blog
So excited for Thanksgiving! →
Nov 26, 2013, by Ryan
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Holy Moly, am I ready for a break! This has been such a great semester and I can’t believe that I only have one more semester here at school, but I am definitely ready for a couple days off to stuff myself with family and turkey! Last week was my last day at my Level 1 Fieldwork site. I was really sad, and surprised how sad I was. At first, I was excited to have Wednesdays off for the last couple weeks of school. I brought in “thank you” gifts for all the staff and was very happy with what I came up with. During my time at the clinic, they moved locations and had a small display of plants that I wanted to add to so I brought them a beautiful orchid (that matched the color scheme of the other plants), I thought that was a nice touch. There was a day that we shared what socks we all were wearing under our scrubs and they all had crazy colored socks…soooo, I found some crazy socks at Macy’s (3 in a pack, with 3 therapists in the office…perfect!). Then on another day, a patient had found an amazing recipe for brownies in a magazine so I made a couple of copies for people in the office. Of course, I had to make the brownies…and they were amazing!!! I realized that I had put in so much time and wanted to give such thoughtful gifts for the therapists because I liked the clinic so much. I thought the therapists were very nice, fun, and relaxed especially during stressful moments in the clinic. They also did a great job at challenging me with questions and little projects throughout my time there to make my experience educational as well. The patients that came into the clinic during my fieldwork were great, too! I saw a lot of interesting injuries and impairments. I met many people who enjoyed sharing their stories as well as hearing about my own, and most importantly…what is occupational therapy. Man, in a hand clinic a lot of people came in thinking they were getting physical therapy! I was quick to tell them that was not the case. I think the therapists on site gained some new ways to explain OT in a short and concise way, too. Well, I had a great last day and I think I have made great contacts for when I start to practice. So now I am ready to finish the semester after the thanksgiving break and complete my 3 exams, 2 presentations, and 2 papers in the next 2 weeks!!! Eeeekkk! Well, I am thankful for my amazing family and friends that constantly lift me up and for finding the greatest profession in the world at the most supportive and inspiring school! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
P.S. Just wanted to share that I am listening to Christmas music in the office as I wrote this
Class Project →
Nov 18, 2013, by Ryan
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I recently had to interview an older adult (65+) and write a paper about their changes in roles, responsibilities, and occupations. I interviewed Walter (fake name for privacy purposes) who is actually my dad. In order for me to fit in this interview, I chose to interview my father and I know very little people over 65 years old. My grandparents have all passed away; I have a great-aunt and 2 friends but could not coordinate schedules…so it ended up being my 66 ¾ year old dad. And I am so glad it worked out this way. I did not grow up with my father and have built a relationship with him as an adult so I enjoyed sharing this time with him. I also don’t get to see him that often and I learned a lot about his past.
I don’t think he really understood that I was interested in his activities/occupations but he shared a lot about his views and interests throughout his life. He was very politically involved and had interest in the Black Panthers which was very surprising to me. I have rarely seen my dad mad, or even mean to a single person. He is the sweetest, fun loving guy and I could not see him relating to violence. He explained that he grew up in Los Angeles in the 1960’s and 70’s, around gangs and violence so that was all he knew. He even expressed that he never thought he would have lived as long as he has. As we continued to talk about the activities he has transitioned to now I noticed a shift in the way he looks at his life. When my dad was young he was a bit more selfish in his thinking about did not think of the future. Now his main activity is working to support his family and prepare himself for retirement in the next year. Also within the last couple years, he has changed to eat healthier food and has expressed wanting to be more involved with his family, especially his grandkids.
I think my dad has become wiser in his older age and he agrees. He no longer feels he is self-destructive; he just wants to make people laugh and help his family. This interview was such a great gift. I really enjoyed seeing another side of my dad and I think I will try to do a few more recorded interviews for myself to keep. I appreciate his positive attitude about aging and I hope to help others see the value in finding meaning throughout your life if I work with older adults. I also will take this information with me as I get older and hope to age as gracefully as my dad.
Happy Veteran’s Day! →
Nov 12, 2013, by Ryan
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I was able to help out as a Student Ambassador at the Veteran’s Appreciation Reception dinner last night. I helped set up and took photographs to document this great event. I wanted to attend this event because my grandfather and father served in the army, my grandmother was a women’s marine, and my uncle was in the navy. I have a connection to people who have served and think it is a great idea to show our appreciation. Also, being in the master’s program I have learned about the many ways we can support this population through occupational therapy. And what an awesome way to spend Veteran’s Day!
The reception dinner was held at the Town and Gown building on the University Park Campus, a beautiful dining hall with amazing chandeliers in an old brick building. As I walked around taking pictures I would talk to individuals who have served or are connected to the population in some way. There was a woman I met who is in the social work program and wants to work with veterans when she graduates. Her brothers, father, and uncles have all served in the army so this population is close to her heart and you can tell by talking with her. She expressed such passion for veterans and talked about going to meetings for veterans to start building connections before graduating. She actually gave me her contact information once she found out I was in the OT program so if the opportunity presented itself, we could collaborate in some way to help out this population.
I also met a man that had a service dog. He explained that once he returned from service, he had so much anger and would seek out violence. He would go out to bars wanting to pick fights and started carrying a gun illegally. He was going to therapy and making progress, but couldn’t shake the desire to be violent. He became connected to Pets for Vets and expressed that he need help or was going to buy another gun. They provided him with a stray dog and it changed his life. The process of caring for an animal, having someone that counted on him, someone to come home to, he lost the desire for violence. Isn’t that amazing!
This event was great and opened my eyes to the many young veterans coming home and needing support. I am so glad that OT is so broad and able to help this population. For those out there interested in OT and veterans, know that there is so much we can do. OT’s look at the whole person and that is exactly what vets need, from psychosocial to biomechanical. Yay, OT!
I love being active, why don’t I do it more!?!?! →
Oct 28, 2013, by Ryan
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So, I hurt my neck a couple weeks ago. One weekend I dove into a swimming pool, like a fancy diver, and came out of the water with sharp pains shooting down my neck. By the end of the day, I could barely turn my head side to side. I slept flat on my back, waking up every hour in pain if I turned my head while I was sleeping. So, of course, I took advantage of my student health insurance and went to the doctor who gave me a diagnosis of a cervical muscle spasm and prescribed muscle relaxers and physical therapy visits. Well, I tried to make an appointment for PT but couldn’t get in for two weeks!
I had to do something in the meantime, so I put on my occupational therapy hat and thought, ‘What would be best for my body right now?’ Why did I get a muscle spasm in the first place? Is it because I have hunched my shoulders for years whenever I’m stressed? Yes, this definitely could be a contributing factor. Huh, what about exercise?! I am not as active as I used to be. I get so caught up in school and staying on top of my coursework that I quickly take out physical activity. I should know better. Just last year, I was working out three times a week at the gym on campus in the mornings before class, and would share with all of my classmates how much better I felt throughout the day (which includes a lot of sitting in lecture) because of this routine. Also, we have had lectures relating to occupational balance and lifestyle balance, the importance of having a balance between work and play, activities of leisure and activities of importance.
This experience with my neck has reminded me of this importance. I quickly went to the gym the Monday after my neck starting hurting (and after I received my muscle relaxers), and as soon as I did the elliptical (just for 30 minutes, don’t want to go crazy) with some stretching afterwards I felt so much better. And have been continually feeling better! I love working out and being active! I feel so much happier, healthier, and ready to face all the stress that continues to be in my life…because I’m in grad school folks! Thank you, occupational therapy, for giving me the tools to look at my life in a better and healthier way!
USC Division of OS/OT Rocks! →
Oct 21, 2013, by Ryan
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Let’s see, today I want to talk about how much I love having such supportive faculty and staff here at USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. I have been feeling very overwhelmed this semester, of course, because there is a lot I have to learn in order to be such a fantastic OT but I have also taken on more activities this semester. One, that I am a Student Ambassador, which includes 10 hours a week of assisting the Admissions team by pumping up prospective students during the stressful time of either choosing a career in occupational therapy and/or choosing the number one school in the country for OT (USC, of course).
I am also working in a non-profit group called Active Minds and helping start a chapter at USC to educate students about mental illness issues as well as promote mental well-being throughout our lives. The first month of school I thought I could handle the stress of the my course workload on my own because I did it last year, but eventually I decided one day after class to talk to my professor about how much trouble I was having completing all the assignments on time. She made me feel so much better by giving me suggestions on ways to catch up and suggested meeting the following week to see if I need any more help.
In addition, I have decided to take advantage of the OT Faculty Practice on campus and receive free (because of the student health insurance) OT services to help me manage all the extra work I have been trying to do this semester. My occupational therapist is great! The first session seemed so simple and then I realized amazingly she had switched it around so that I was doing the work without even realizing it. So good, right?! This has caused me to slowly start taking on ways to look at my schedule and organize it in a more efficient and meaningful way. And she has done this in such a collaborative way that makes me feel so empowered, that I could eventually do on my own. I love Occupational Therapy! These are just two more experiences that have given me more insight into other facets of occupational therapy and will be a great addition for when I finally become a practitioner myself.