As my practicum comes to an end and I reflect on the past three months, I am filled with so much gratitude. My practicum was not entirely what I expected but nonetheless, it was an experience that helped me grow as a public health professional and gave me insight into the field of global health in action. At the beginning of my practicum, I encountered some unforeseen challenges that stemmed from my lack of self-confidence. When given assignments and tasks with minimal instruction, I immediately thought, “How am I going to do this? Am I prepared for this?” I was terrified of doing a bad job and potentially letting someone down. In essence, I was doubting myself and my abilities. As I threw myself into my work, I quickly learned an important lesson: although I may not have all the answers, I have the skills to do this work. I had to remind myself that after a year of training through the MPH program, I have been equipped with a toolset of basic skills to get started with any task given to me. This realization gave me a life raft to keep me afloat through all the hard tasks and moments of doubt. Now, three months later, I am proud of the work I’ve done and have grown both personally and professionally through this experience.

A back porch bonfire with my roommates—a frequent tradition

Outside of my practicum work, life has been at a steady pace with many fun and memorable moments. Truly, the small things in life, such as back porch bonfires and long walks after work, are the sweetest! My favorite parts of the summer have been filled with self-care and time with friends and family. I am so thankful for the summer of 2021. Life is slowly becoming “normal” again and I am hopeful for a fun, fruitful school year to come!

-Paulina