On year 1.

I’ve just completed my first (academic) year of graduate school, and I did – and learned – a few things. Some of them are listed here:

I moved into my first married home in Carrboro, North Carolina with my new husband – where I learned the importance of compromise, having a bathroom with double vanities, and having someone who will cook you breakfast in the morning:

Our home.

I went to the North Carolina State Fair – where I learned the great lengths that Americans (rather, North Carolinians) will go to in order to make their food as unhealthy as possible, and that I’m really just an overgrown child (good things my friends are, too.)

Big kids, playing at the fair. Photo credit: stolen from Linnea Warren's Facebook.

I started working in the Office of Global Health at UNC – where I learned about the larger context in which public health exists, met some amazing people, and challenged myself to keep my perspective focused on what happens outside the classroom.

Office of Global Health Staff

I took a break, went to Idaho, and learned how to ski:

Skiing in McCall

I explored Central America – where I challenged my assumptions about medical aid and was exposed to a new side of rural poverty.

Kitchen in a campesina home.

I became a grad student, a public health student, and a HBHE – where I learned how to use (and hate) SAS, rigorously critique scientific literature in the behavioral sciences, collect and analyze qualitative data, and develop massive grant proposals for international development projects worldwide. I developed a social marketing campaign for bed net use in Papua New Guinea to combat malaria and a four-pronged approach to eradicate sexual violence in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I learned about racial disparities for HIV/AIDS in the US and how the collapse of civil society impacted the epidemic in Ukraine, I learned about the resilience of US soldiers in the Armed Forces, and I learned about ways to achieve improvements in public health outcomes through the vehicle of nonprofits. I learned a lot of other stuff too.

The place where I learned a bunch of stuff.

It feels good to invest in myself and my learning again. After a lot of uncertainty over the years about my place in the world, it feels good to have discovered an outlet for my passion. I’ve grown personally and professionally and know I’ll go back to the workforce next year (hopefully?) re-energized, with new skills, and a renewed sense of purpose. Oh…and I’ve had a lot of fun, too.

For these things, I’m grateful.

Thanks, year 1!

My friends. On the beach. Photo credit: stolen from Caitlin Kleibor's Facebook.

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