Non-Traditional Student Experience (Working World → Rollins)

By: Joya Faruque – 1st Year – Behavioral Sciences & Health Education

pasted image 0 (1)If you’ve been out in the working world, are new to public health, and are a little worried about going back to school, this blog post is for you!

Career Before Rollins:

I thought I would teach forever, as I genuinely loved teaching special education preschool at a local public school.  My work life consisted of going to work, spending all my time and energy working with the kids, collaborating with other dedicated teachers, and building connections between our school and the community at large.  Honestly after 3 years of working, the daily routine after 12 hour days, I would be happy to watch Netflix, pay bills, eat, and go to bed.

But then I realized that I had the potential to make MORE IMPACT; I just needed the skills, tools, and opportunity to do it.  After identifying that my goals were in line with that of the BSHE program, I chose Rollins.

unnamedConcerns/Considerations About Going Back To School

  • I’m too old to go back to school; I like DOING, not sitting and studying for days on end.  I have so many responsibilities and family priorities, I can’t fit in school.
  • How am I supposed to study for a GRE while working?!
  • I probably won’t be able to connect with peer right out of college; there’s like a 5 year age gap, right?
  • What exactly is a literature review/qualitative research/epidemiology?
  • How in the world am I going to pay for this?
  • I’ve spent about 12 hours googling public health terms, but I’m still not sure what exactly it is;  What do all these public health acronyms mean?
  • I have absolutely ZERO formal research experience.
  • Health literacy? I have a hard understanding my own medical bills.
  • Do I have what it takes to completely change career paths?  Will I be at a disadvantage in the job market post-Rollins? What is networking?

pasted image 0 (2)Reality:

I Belong at Rollins

  • Rollins students are truly diverse!  There are so many people with different experiences, and you learn so much about the world at large through your classmates!  I have peers my age, older, younger, and from all over the world!
  • GRE-Prep and Application is SO much more accessible and relatively less expensive than it used to be 10-15 years ago!  Now, there are websites and mobile apps that can help you study!
  • Honestly, I have learned SO MUCH from my younger classmates who are right out of college! On teams, they bring such a different perspective and skill set, and they value how my personal experience and background is an asset to the team.  So much of public health work is collaborative, so there’s room for everybody to make an impact! Also, they have great resources for a newbie like me to learn from!
  • There are classes all about research methods, qualitative research, and quantitative research, health literacy, and the business of healthcare.  Online access to the amazing Health Sciences library resources has kept me sharp and helped me fill in the gaps in my knowledge.
  • There are SO MANY job opportunities.  Check out the REAL program resources! Complete your FAFSA early! There are SO MANY local, national, and international opportunities out there that can help you build your skill set and gain public health experience while at Rollins.
  • The Office of Career Development provides LIFETIME service!  They will help you recognize your pre-existing skills, navigate the job market, practice interviewing, and build your network!

While many programs around the country have diverse student bodies, the Rollins culture of authentic, professional, and friendly collaboration is truly unique.  At Rollins, students naturally collaborate with one another, as opposed to competing with one another. I believe that this culture of group learning and community growth is what helps us create well informed, well-rounded, feasible strategies for problem-solving in the Public Health realm, and the network created at Rollins in just two years will continue to promote growth years into our post-graduation professional careers.

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