Friday, September 27, 2013

Mini Mentorship

Today was the 6th Annual Vaccine Day at JHSPH and every year for the last couple years one of my previous professors has taken her Global Health students to meet some people at Hopkins (like Marie Diener West and various faculty in the nutrition department) as well as sit on the Vaccine Day lecture. I went last year when I was her student and Dr. Bill Foege was the speaker. This year it was Dr. Bruce Alyward. He talked about the global Polio eradication program where he is the World Health Organization Assistant Director of General Polio, Emergencies and Country Collaboration. It was a great talk.

Before the actual program, my former professor took the students on a tour of the Bloomberg building and took them to the outdoor terrace area where they could see the city and I took the time to introduce myself and explain a bit of what I do as well as some of the history of Hopkins and the East Baltimore community.

As we got ready for the event and a good amount afterwards, I helped field questions. They really wanted to know how I got my job and how they could get an internship or apply for Hopkins for grad school. It was great being able to give them advice.

I honestly never thought I would be one of those people but I really felt good trying to give them advice that I didn't have at their age. A good number of them had minors or were double majoring so they were definitely more ambitious than I was. I tried to give them practical advice and not the same regurgitated advice that everyone gives. I really felt like I was personally invested in them and honestly it was the first time I'd ever met them (except one of my summer interns).

I think it really reiterated my goal to eventually teach healthcare at the college level. I just feel such a connection with them. I think a lot of it is also that I was in school not that long ago. I've only been out of college for a little under a year so often times I feel like I haven't really left.

I can't wait to really give back. I sadly haven't been able to get my schedule together to volunteer and stuff like I'd like but hopefully I can help more students. I really hope that they can use my advice and do it 100 times better. Its a great feeling helping others to go down the path to reach their goals. 

I know I'm going to get a bunch of emails once my old professor gives them my contact information. So much happened I haven't really taken it all in yet. All I know is my voice is horse and I'm exhausted. But its a good exhausted. I can't wait to be able to do this full time one day.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hindsight Really Is 20/20

Today I was given permission by my boss to go to my old job at the USDA in order to get a new badge. I am on extended leave without pay currently. I have two admin. that I love that I helped train before I started working at Hopkins. I didn't always have the answers but I tried to the best of my abilities. There was a lot of just giving them the names and numbers of people that I knew could help better than I could. I enjoyed spending time with them today.

But, it was weird seeing how much the office has changed...and hasn't changed at all. The political, catty, depressing nature was still there. The internal fighting and unnecessary backstabbing was seemingly present as well. That is one of the major reasons I don't miss the government. The stress they fell everyday coming to work was how I felt in my last few months there. I was ready to leave. I was ready to never work for the government again. While there are people there that I love and can honestly call lifelong friends, there were also people that seemed as if their sole purpose was to make work miserable.

There were times when I questioned whether I should have taken my current job, considering the pay is small in comparison to a government job I could've gotten with my degree. But my job is where I feel comfortable. I am surrounded by people that I enjoy their company and they enjoy mine. They respect my opinions and they are eager to offer help/mentorship. I feel like I am growing as a health professional at my job. I also know that it has helped give me the opportunity to do what I've always wanted and thats go to graduate school.

I now see that I made the right decision. I left a place where I potentially could have made more money but I wouldn't have been happy. All the stress of wondering if I made the right decision is mute. The grass isn't always greener but in this case, this side sure is nice and green.

I spent the majority of 2013 stressed over finances, student loans, moving out of my mother's house, my health and my relationship with my boyfriend. I spent a lot of time in "what-if" land. I don't have time for what-if land. I have to just make things happen. Hindsight is 20/20 for a reason. I can play what-if and never get anywhere or I can acknowledge it, change it, and move on. Ultimately, it's about growing as a person.

I really hope the environment of my old office changes. I really think that more could get done and people would be happier. But for the time being, I'm going to continue to be grateful for being where I am. My boss saw something in me that I didn't know that I had.