By: Nimmy Josephine Thomas, 1st Year Global Epidemiology
By now you have probably read about all the exciting things that Atlanta has to offer and are wondering how it is that we manage to enjoy the city and still survive school. Trust me, it is a constant struggle, and it becomes an even greater struggle when you hear about all the things that you get to do just at Emory: lunch & learns, global health case competitions, Convos on Tap etc. There are exciting events and opportunities every week – trust me you will receive plenty of emails about them! But, as with all graduate programs, you will still be spending a fair amount of time in the classroom. So, I want to share with you a little bit about what happens in our classrooms because a question that I often get from friends and family members is,
“What exactly do you learn in public health school?”
If you are a first year epidemiology student, you will hear that it’s all about learning a new language. You will see plenty of definition slides and sometimes it’s words that you already know that have a different meaning in epidemiology.
And if you are like me and have no previous experience with SAS, you will quite literally learn a new language. SAS is the programming software that we use for all of our required epidemiology and biostatistics courses. Don’t be nervous if you don’t have any previous programming experience, a lot of us didn’t come from that background either, and you will get plenty of experience with this program in the introductory lab courses in biostatistics and a programming in SAS course.
Once you have picked up this new vocabulary and learned how to code in SAS, you will be halfway there to becoming an epidemiologist. Your required coursework in your first year will teach you how to design, conduct, and analyze epidemiologic studies. You will get to put all of that knowledge to practice in your thesis project in your second year!
And as with all language classes, you need conversation partners. Luckily, EPI is one of the largest departments at Rollins, so you will have plenty of partners to give you that extra nudge along the way.