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.