Amid the hustle and bustle of studying for her “final finals” of graduate school, Melody McKay continues to seek the same work-life balance she has been mastering since her first day in the master’s degree in occupational therapy program at the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.

McKay represents numerous graduates who transitioned from previous professions to a career in occupational therapy. After she earned her bachelor’s degree at Stanford University, McKay pursued her passion for working with people though Human Resources. On maternity leave with her first child she discovered occupational therapy and enrolled in prerequisite courses with a 3-month-old.

“When I was accepted to USC, I was pregnant with my second child,” McKay said. “I was so excited but wondered, ‘How am I going to manage this?’ ”

Two years later and with two young children, McKay is one of many USC Trojans who are not only full-time students but full-time parents as well.

“I could not have finished the program without an amazing support system — my husband and mom,” McKay said.

And the most significant mantra is one she hopes to communicate to her future clients when she becomes a licensed occupational therapist.

“Through USC I learned that lifestyle balance is about choosing what matters to you most.”

— Bryan Kang