By: Jeneice George – Health Policy and Management
Due to the worldwide health crisis, we are in times where we must practice social distancing. As a result, many gatherings and events have canceled, multiple states have issued lockdowns, residents are encouraged to stay indoors, and social distancing has been nearly a worldwide practice. These are times where we must come together as a community to support one another and protect our health. While you are enjoying time inside, there are a few things to you can do that will keep you occupied these next few months. By no means is this a definitive list, there is much more things to do to get pumped for grad school in general and making the move if you are not from the local area of Atlanta, Georgia!
- Attend Visit Emory Virtual Event
Visit Emory is a very valuable experience and it was the main reason who I chose to come to Rollins. Although Visit Emory will now be a virtual event, there are still ways to take advantage of the program and gain valuable insight into Rollins as well as your program of choice. Visit Emory is essentially a preview into what life at Rollins will be like. My situation is a little different in that I attended Visit Emory twice in a row since I deferred my enrollment for another year. The first time I loved it and enjoyed learning about the resources available as well as the clubs and activities. However due to circumstances I took another gap year and decided to enroll the next school year. The second time was just as amazing as the first, probably more so since I knew I was attending that fall! Along with meeting with your department, you get a chance to meet other students in your program! I enjoyed meeting students in my department because I met some of my best friends that I have to this day! I encourage you to attend the virtual Visit Emory event and learn everything you can about this amazing school!
- Reach out to current students in your department
Another thing that will be very helpful to learn more about life in Atlanta and Rollins as well as your department is to reach out to current students! I found this very effective in learning about Rollins from a student’s perspective. I reached out to Rollins Ambassadors as well as current students from the Facebook admit group and asked a lot of questions and general inquiries about life as a Rollins student. Everyone that I reached out to was more than happy to answer my questions and concerns. As a Health Policy & Management student on the management track, one of my main concerns was figuring out which career path I wanted to follow or whether my first-choice program was a right fit for me. After reaching out to the general RSPH Ambassadors contact, I was connected to a first year HPM student on the management track and I was able to ask her questions about what classes she was taking or plan on taking, her experiences with the classes, as well as what kind of REAL jobs she applied to and was working at. While you’re anxiously waiting for the fall to begin your Rollins journey, feel free to connect with current students and alleviate your worries and concerns about life as a grad student!
- Read RSPH Ambassadors Blogs!
I know this is obvious and you’re literally doing it right now but read over some current and even past RSPH Ambassadors blogs to pass the time! I enjoyed reading blogs of all kinds of subject matters that current and past students shared. There were various experiences and insights I got to explore and a lot of them were helpful in navigating life in Atlanta and Rollins. For instance, I lived in Los Angeles for four years while I attended school and everything was so close together. I was used to either walking everywhere or taking public transportation which was pretty well established. I then came across a blog discussing means of transportation in Atlanta and it really did help me prepare for the hurdles and adjustment to the Atlantic public transportation system. Although it did take some time to adapt to the public transportation system in Atlanta, everything turned out fine. I did not have a car for the first 6 months of living in Atlanta and I was fine. I also learned a lot of the Emory Shuttles from reading various blogs, which I use very extensively to this day (mainly because it’s completely free :-D). In addition to learning about navigation and transportations, you can also learn more about the academic side of Rollins and get a good idea of what kind of classes to look into for your electives!
- Research projects you may be interested in
You most likely described them in your statement of purpose but now is the best time to research projects and specific faculty within your topics of interest. There are all kinds of research themes and topics in all of the departments. For instance, in HPM research topics in relation to specific diseases and health conditions include chronic disease, obesity, reproductive health, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. In addition to specific disease research, other topics that deal with determinants of health include access to health healthcare, disparities, healthcare outcomes, and health literacy. Furthermore, various approaches and research methods may spike your interest as well such as outcomes measurements, qualitative methods, econometrics, cost effectiveness analysis, and quality of life measures. Bottom line, there are so many topics that Rollins offers and there is a high likelihood that you’ll come across something that strongly relates to your career and research interests as well as your curiosity!
- Connect with other admits on the Facebook class page
Last but certainly not least, connect and interact with other admits prior to starting the new academic year! Around the admission decision season, many admits where posting introductions on the Facebook class group page and it was really awesome talking with people from various backgrounds and experiences. Talking about your hobbies, where you’re from, as well as your career goals is a very effective way to connect with others who you share similarities with. In addition to utilizing the Facebook admit group to connect with other students, the GroupMe app is also a greet platform to connect with a group of people who share common hobbies and interests! I am part of at least 5 different GroupMe groups such as my departmental program, the specific track I chose within HPM, board games, outdoor activities, as well as fitness groups! Not only can you make new friends, but this is also a good time to look for potential roommates! Talking with other admits before school starts made me feel a little less anxious and nervous about attending school on the other side of the country from my hometown because I knew there were others who felt the same way I did which made feel better.
Although social distancing may seem like an unfortunate inconvenience for many of you, it doesn’t have to put a negative cloud on your summer and/or last quarter of your undergrad program. Like a lot of people say, you have the make the best out of what you’re given…or a more cliché saying: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!