Five Tips for Starting Off the School Year Strong!
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Starting a new school year or semester is a great opportunity to reassess your commitments and reflect on what you’re most passionate about. As a new semester dawns, it’s helpful to think ahead to what you enjoy and what might support a strong job, volunteer or grad school application.
We sat down with some thought leaders in Global Health who shared with us some important tips and insights.
1. Get involved!
“Something I think I would have done more is get involved in some sort of volunteer cause, or some sort of extracurricular that I was really passionate about. My friends who did undergrads in commerce got super involved in the commerce society, and they loved it, and it was a great starting point for their career and some of that stuff you don’t get from classes. I think you need to find something you’re passionate about and dedicate some time to that. I’m all for having fun in university and not everything has to be school, but it’s such a great place to figure out who you are and what you want to do and not only what you’re socially interested in, but also what you’re academically interested in, which is something you don’t always get from classes. That would be my first step, and something I wish I had done more of.” – Alexandra McKnight
2. Cultivate mentor-mentee relationships!
“I would say seek out your role models and build those mentor-mentee relationships. Whose work do you value and where would you see your role models? I was very fortunate that way, when I was very young, I was able to build some relationships with some really interesting people that I thought of as role models who subsequently opened doors for me.” – Gisele Yasmeen
3. Find a topic you’re passionate about and pursue opportunities within that
“My first piece of advice would be to choose a health issue that you feel strongly about—maybe that’s HIV/AIDs, maybe it’s looking at gender based violence, maybe it’s something else. Find organizations in your community that are working on that issue, and be insistent in being involved. Learn about it first, get your feet wet in terms of the practice of that health issue, and then look at making yourself a resource to those folks who are in decision making space. Let them know that ultimately, with any global health issue, and any issue at large, it’s young people today who will ultimately be charged with carrying forward the solutions and the ideas, and the outputs of what is being decided today.” – Max Seunik
4. Remember to network!
“Thinking back to my undergraduate days, I would remind myself to network more with my colleagues and my professors, as they are a valuable resource. Most global health opportunities come through networking.” – Mbaita Shawa
5. Be critical about your perspective and role in the global health ecosystem
“If you’re going into global health, be highly critical–don’t go in thinking this is necessarily a force of good because it’s the delivery of healthcare.” – Krystyna Adams
“Be cognizant of where your voice can be the most impactful, and where it can be the most impactful in opening spaces for other people. That’s a fine balance—a delicate dance— and not something you’re always going to get right, but if you’re able to listen to those around you who have lived experiences or frankly know more than you, then it’s easier to guide that decision making process.” – Max Seunik
About the Author:
Sara Rotenberg is a student studying Global Health. Sara worked in stem cell research before discovering global health, and has since worked on health policy for children and youth in care, equitable access for vaccines for emerging epidemics, and on how population structures impact economic emergence.