September 6, 2016
GUEST BLOG: Tips & Tricks for Occupational Therapy Students!
Check out this guest blog from one of our occupational therapy students. Megan Conner is a sophomore at USC in the Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s degree program. Megan has some useful advice for OT students and life at USC. Enjoy!
While walking across campus a few weeks ago, I ran into some of the new Bachelor’s to Master’s OT students who were attending their Freshman Orientation. It was so exciting to learn a bit about the newest members of the OT/Trojan family and SO crazy to think that I was in their shoes less than a year ago! This run-in also inspired my next blog post—some Tips & Tricks for those interested in undergraduate life here at USC!
Last Year’s Freshmen OT students
Although the majority of OT students at USC are applying to the Entry-Level Master’s Program, we also have the Bachelor’s to Master’s program in which students are immersed in the occupational therapy profession throughout their undergraduate experience. Because students start this program as freshmen, they are often overwhelmed with both excitement and uncertainty regarding the transition. A lot of the questions prospective undergraduate students ask me about this program are ones that I, myself remember laboring over as well. “What will my undergrad coursework be like as an OT major?” “What can I get involved in?” “How can I prepare?!”
In the hopes of easing some of these concerns, I have compiled a list of of advice I learned over my freshman year at USC—as well as an inside look into undergrad student life!
TIP #1 Get Involved!
The Involvement Fair and Service Opportunity Fair are two great ways to learn about different organizations on campus. These events provide great insight into the mission of each group and ensure that you see all of the (many) clubs and various groups that USC has to offer. I found that these fairs allowed for me to find organizations I was truly passionate about—and may have otherwise of missed out on!
The opportunities available to you vary from service organizations, to on-campus jobs, to sororities/fraternities, to religious and cultural organizations… and on and on—USC has it all! Check out https://campusactivities.usc.edu to see some of the available opportunities on campus!
And one of the best organizations out there (in my slightly biased opinion)…the Pre-OT club!
TIP #2 Take care of yourself!
Try not to spread yourself too thin!! USC does offer a plethora of ways to get involved, but don’t feel pressured to join every group on campus! The first few weeks on campus can be a little overwhelming—I would recommend taking your time to find organizations you are truly passionate about and really devoting your time to those groups! Make sure to sleep, eat nourishing food, and take time to relax!
Which brings me to my next tip…
TIP #3 Hand Sanitizer!
It is so easy to get sick while living and working around so many new people. Try and avoid germs by keeping your hands clean… and, again, try to SLEEP enough!
Tip #4 Get to know your professors!
This especially applies to OT professors and faculty members! We are fortunate to have nearly 100 OT faculty members, each one of them with a rich knowledge about the field and a passion for helping you be the best OT you can be! Office hours are a great way to meet with professors one-on-one and ask specific questions. Try and take advantage of these opportunities, I promise your professors won’t bite
TIP #5 Don’t Stress—Everything will work out!
Now I will admit that I am someone who often stresses out over the smallest of things… however, I wish I could go back and tell myself to not be so worried about everything! Whether you worry your favorite classes will fill up, that your roommate won’t shower daily, or even that you might sleep through your first class—I urge you not to panic! If there is one thing I can say, it is that everything will work out! Besides… as OT students, we are great are coming up with creative solutions to any problem we encounter, right?!
Tip #6 HAVE FUN!
At USC, the students value hard work and devotion to academic success, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t know how to unwind and have fun! From football games, to the beach, to quirky cafes, to scenic hikes—there is always something to do in LA!
And here is a sneak peek into living on campus and a typical freshman schedule!
An example of an on-campus dorm room
My Schedule during the Fall of Freshman Year: You can see it is pretty balanced between OT courses and GE courses!
Undergraduate life at USC is jam-packed with excitement and endless opportunity…and it is such an amazing time to develop a passion for OT! Hopefully this post helps to paint a better picture of life as a USC OT undergraduate.
By: Megan Conner
Class of 2019, Bachelor of Science Occupational Therapy
Class of 2020, Masters in Occupational Therapy
You can find the original blog post here.
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