Back to School

IMG_20160826_231651In my last year of college, I was a crumbling mess because I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with my life. I envy those people who knew what they wanted to do and how they were going to do it. But you know what? I’m going back to school! After a year of cringing and internal crying, I was accepted into USF’s College of Public Health for a Master’s of Public Health with a concentration in Global Communicable Diseases! My concentration may or may not change because, again, I’m still finding my niche and passion.

After graduation I gave myself a year to figure things out, and got a job. I took a gap year to explore and take a break, and earn some money. My co-worker told me, “this is your break? This is not a break, all you’ve been doing is working, studying, and thinking about school.” He was right, and I wished to be in the mountainsides of Vietnam, or music festival hopping. I had a difficult time studying for my GRE, finishing my application, and working 40 hours. I felt like I didn’t have enough time, and I was too tired to sit down and concentrate. There were many times where I felt defeated, and almost gave up the idea of getting a Master’s degree. There were challenges, but I really wanted to go back to school. There were high levels of motivation, and then it slumps back down to laziness and hopelessness. The good news is that the hard part is over! In the end, I got the email of acceptance, and soon after I quit my first job. I could not have done it without help. Thank you to my parents who always support me because they want me to achieve my goals. Thank you to all the professors/doctors who have guided me, met with me, and answered all my questions. Thank you to the people who wrote my letters of recommendation, and thank you to my boyfriend who has been a great life coach and consultant.

I’ve always been told to keep going up, and with everything, I’ve taken nothing less. The reason why I’m going back to school is because I don’t want to do the 9-5 for the rest of my life doing the same thing, and  I want to truly enjoy my work. I had one year of full time work in a medical office, and countless years of volunteering at hospitals to know that it would drain me. I want to be in the field conducting research, contributing to scientific and medically knowledge, and work towards a better and healthier community. I talked to my professors who had years of research and working in many parts of the world. That’s what I want. With a Master’s, I’ll be able to have in depth learning and skills that makes me more marketable. I’m all about what skills and experience makes me more marketable to the jobs I want. That’s why I want more computer programming, computation and analytical skills, and research experience.

I’m excited to learn more about research methods, SAS/SPSS programming, and gain more laboratory experience. This time around, I’ll be choosing to take more in-class courses over online classes because I want to expand my network, facilitate interest in the material, and interact with students and professors. I’m also putting more effort and commitment in seizing opportunities related to public health in research, internships, fellowships, volunteering, study abroad, and graduate assistant jobs. If I’m paying for school then I’m going to make the most of it. Fortunately, my Bachelor’s degree was completely paid for through scholarships and grants, and I was able to save money from the rest of the leftover funds. I haven’t taken out loans, and I don’t plan to (only at the last and desperate resort). I will continue working, saving money, and completely relying on myself to pay for my Master’s degree. This is not cheap either…

I had my first class on Thursday, and there’s excitement, and then dread as I view the assignments and notices of exams and recommended time for studying. I’ll probably have more moments of stress because of work, school, projects, and finances, but it’ll all be okay! I can do this-I got this! My advice for those who just graduated from college, in their last year of college, or thinking of going back to school: Spend money within your means, keep track of your money, and don’t sweat it! Don’t rush into a career or more education if you’re not committed or if the benefits do not outweigh the costs! I encourage people to diversify their experience, find passion, and live in happiness.

Next post: How am I juggling both school, work, and commuting again.




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