Nikita Malcolm, 1st Year Behavioral Sciences and Health Education Student
When I woke up this morning, I knew it was going to be a very long day. One of those days where you plan all of your coffee breaks before you even get out of bed. Before getting up, I thought of all the things I had on the agenda for today: work at my REAL position, two classes back at Rollins (a global health elective and a core epidemiology course), meeting with a classmate to plan a project, and then a student organization, ABPHS, was hosting an event that I was very interested in attending titled “Unspoken Truths: The Ethics of Working with Underserved Populations.” Ready, set, go!
Fast-forward a few hours and three cups of coffee later to my meeting with my classmate. Tomorrow, my classmate and I are leading a class discussion on two of the readings assigned for class. The two articles discuss two HIV prevention-based health education curricula, designed by some of Rollin’s very own public health superstars, including Dr. Gina Wingood in the BSHE department. As my classmate and I were discussing the articles, the creativity of the curriculum content, and the lessons to be learned from the implementation of the programs, we soon discovered that we both work at an HIV clinic for our REAL positions. When we realized we had similar interests and that these articles coincidentally aligned with our interests, we launched into a 90 minute long discussion on our work, our experiences at the clinic, barriers to reaching the target populations of our research studies, the ethical codes we followed in our own work, and so much more. Our discussion was so absorbing that I completely missed the Unspoken Truths event, as I was caught up in my own fascinating discussion on ethics in public health with my classmate.
And this is a part of the reason why I came to Rollins. The other students here at Rollins are one of my favorite things about the school! All of the students here bring such a variety of ideas, opinions and experiences to the program, and there are so many opportunities to learn from one another both inside and outside of the classroom. Whether it’s the classmate who spent two years living and working in Thailand before coming to Rollins or the classmate who volunteered as a patient navigator throughout their undergraduate career, we all have so much to contribute to the learning experience here. It’s so easy to get caught up in too-long conversations after too-long days, but it is so worthwhile to examine public health topics we’re passionate about with one another.