Kyle Shoji-Class of 2011

"Catering to ones mental health and taking a break every once in a while is just as important as working hard to finish up assignments."

Advantage Scholar 

Human Occupation Major   


First Steps

   I knew that I wanted to go into Occupational Therapy since high school and searched for colleges with an OT program.  Since none of the colleges in Hawaii, where I am from, offered such a program, I looked to schools on the west coast.  Pacific came up on my search, and I found that it had a substantial population of students from Hawaii. That made me more comfortable with leaving home to go to Pacific, as I would have some common interests with the people there. My personal experiences with Occupational Therapy as a child definitely pushed me to go down this career path.  I was able to see firsthand the benefits that it brought clients. I officially majored in human occupation, since I was accepted into graduate school through the 3/3 program.  Had I gone the standard route, I would have majored in sociology, which I felt nicely blended the social aspects of healthcare with the natural science prerequisite classes I took. Through my personal experiences, I was able to see how Occupational Therapy was able to promote a higher quality of life for individuals.

    Having a calm demeanor during intense situations is the attribute that has aided me the most during my fieldwork experiences.  It helps me to build rapport and a relationship with my clients, who are often going through some difficult circumstances in their lives. My ability to remain composed and also pass on that composition or calm to clients will help me in building a relationship with them.  Being humble and open to feedback, especially as a beginning practitioner, will aide my learning and growth into an experienced practitioner.  I would suggest that students looking to pursue Occupational Therapy shadow OT’s in a variety of settings to get a better feel of the profession. 

Finding a Pathway 

    The Advantage Program offered a variety of resources on how to fill out an application and answer essay questions.   The program also gave us many opportunities for mock interviews to prepare us for the graduate school admissions process. I knew that I would be given the opportunity for a guaranteed interview for graduate school as well as training on building my interviewing skills. The mock interviews were really helpful in making me feel more confident about my actual interview day.  I was able to practice what I would say and received feedback from the staff.  Also, the advice on how to structure essays for the graduate school application was beneficial in making my application more fully stand out. The Advantage Program gave me the opportunity to network with the staff at the Career Development Center.  Some of the staff would actually give presentations for graduate school classes on resume building and interviewing skills.  Having familiarity with staff made me feel more comfortable about approaching them for one on one help with structuring my resume.

Choices and Challenges 

    Knowing earlier the prerequisites for graduate school would have been beneficial, so that I wasn’t as rushed in trying to sign up for classes towards the end.  If there is something you’re remotely interested, you should take a look at the prerequisite classes to find matches between those classes and the elective classes you can take for your major. One major challenge I encountered was the increased amount of time spent in class compared to undergraduate.  In undergraduate, you’ll have maybe 2-3 classes a day that are about an hour or two long with breaks in between.  For graduate school I was in class seven hours a day, almost every weekday.  After class, I would have to work on assignments or do some reading, so there was even less free time.  Time management became increasingly crucial.  I learned to be more efficient and put forth more quality effort when it was time to work on assignments.  When I would take a break, I would try to forget about the huge workload I had waiting for me and concentrate on relaxing.  Catering to one’s mental health and taking a break every once in a while is just as important as working hard to finish up assignments.

Success and Highlights

  College is a new experience, and you make a lot of new friends.  Many times I found myself wanting to go out and have fun with everyone else, but I had to keep myself focused on schoolwork while setting aside a smaller amount of time for enjoyment. I think the small class sizes is one of the aspects that has helped me, as I feel the professors are more available for questions and are more invested in their students’ learning.

   My interprofessional practice project for graduate school was one of my most significant accomplishments.  My partner and I had to collect data and research evidence to support an occupational therapy program for at risk youth in Sandy, OR.  The research will be presented to a state senator for review in order to gain additional funding for the program. My experience working in the mental health wing of the hospital would have to be the highlight.  It opened up my awareness to a neglected population of healthcare and made me understand that mental health is just as important as physical health.

Posted by Career Development Center ( on Mar 18, 2013 at 2:14 PM

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