My idea of graduate school, before actually being in graduate school, was that all it would be is classes, internships, projects and papers, and a culminating (daunting) thesis. Being at Rollins for the last year and a half has shown me that graduate school, Rollins, in particular, is so much more than that. I’ve come to realize that Rollins, like most everything in life, is what you make it. You could go to class, go to work, and go home OR you could get involved with one of the numerous student organizations on campus.
The organizations range from topical/research areas of interest to identity-based clubs to professional organizations. The most rewarding part about getting involved in these organizations is that you get to meet and plan events with people that have the same interests and passions that you do. There’s not a week that goes by at Rollins without a General Body Meeting from one of our organizations – which generally means free lunch (yay)! Organizations bring in distinguished guest speakers, play board games, and discuss some of the most pressing issues in public health. In the past year, I have been on the executive board for the Association for Black Public Health Students and the Emory Reproductive Health Association. Being involved in these organizations has furthered my passion for public health issues in these areas, taught me about how I best fit into a team and showed me my capacity for being a leader.
While joining an organization at Rollins may be a big-time commitment, it has taught me invaluable skills such as how to work with a team to achieve a common goal, how to be an empathetic leader, how to plan events, and how to make a lasting impact. Your experience in grad school will be your independent journey. My advice is to take as many opportunities as you can, get to know as many people as you can, push past your comfort zone, and discover the things that set your heart on fire. A student org at Rollins may be the first step.
A list of all the organizations at Rollins School of Public Health: https://www.sph.emory.edu/rollins-life/orgs/index.html