Day in the Life of a Global Health Student | Day 1 Term 2

Welcome to term two of this series! I thank God for the strength I was given to conquer the first term of my Masters and am now ready to tackle the second term with twice as much conviction.  On Mondays, instead of statistics, we have a long day of Global Health Governance and Challenges.  Those words seemed so foreign to me when I began.  This involves the analysis of the pros and cons in policy making and governance in the context of global and public health topics such as marginalisation, nutrition, maternal health, and crisis.  The very first lecture took me by surprise as I did struggle to understand governance in the private and public health sector.  Nevertheless, it is a very interesting module that will undoubtedly require hard work and a lot of background reading.  I never, in my 21 years of study, needed to consider policy, law, or governance.  This masters forces me to think about things outside of the lab and in the real world.

8:00am:  I find myself struggling to sleep at night so I tend to wake up a little later nowadays compared to before to squeeze in some more rest.  I've always been a night owl so this comes to no surprise but I was truly hoping to make the transition into an early bird.  Even if I have all devices off and across the room, I tend to begin to drift properly around 1-2am.  My mom makes me a delicious omelette packed full of veggies in the morning and if I'm lucky, I get french toast with rose essence.

9:00am: I am out the door for my morning walk.  The weather isn't as sharp and chilly so walks tend to be more pleasant.  I try to take the longer route to slip in some extra cardio.

9:30am-11:30am: Class begins and it is long.  If you look at my previous 'day in the life's' you will find that I always had a break between sessions. However, lectures tend to be a lot longer with no breather.  Since the topics are more practical and applied, it is manageable.  Plus, if you find yourself zoning out and use your laptop to take notes, you can pull up some other work to do on the side (which I do).  As this class is assessed purely through coursework and I go through the notes online prior to class, I can sort of justify myself.  Nevertheless, if it is an exam based module and the topic is something you would inevitably need to revisit, do NOT do this.  Especially if you are prone to surf social media instead of ScienceDirect or PubMed.  What we learnt this week is marginalisation of different groups in society such as aboriginals, ethnic groups, or even segregation by religion.  There are many health impacts that need to be assessed as a result of this natural divide.

11:30am-1:00pm: Last term I took the Public Health Practice module which has a project tied to it as a form of assessment.  This project's due date is February 13th so although I do have some time, I've been struggling to think of a feasible topic for a while.  Initially, I wished to intervene in rural areas to improve health literacy of mothers.  This would in turn increase the likelihood of immunising the infants.  After discussing it with my professor, we decided that such an intervention is too simple and perhaps already done.  After careful reconsideration and going back to the drawing board, we finally decided on an intervention which would be feasible during this lunch period.  It took one hour of back and forth but proved extremely beneficial.  Not going to lie, I was near to tears about the whole situation because who wants to be told to start from scratch because their idea wasn't innovative? But it truly taught me the importance of perseverance because I am a million times more happy with this idea.  It is feasible, scalable, and realistic.  Limitations are obstacles set up by your own mind.  This felt like a sign that indeed with genuine hard work and research, you will come out on the other side of your worries.

I ended up eating my lunch really quickly before class started which was pasta made with naga pickle sauce courtesy of my mother.

1:30pm-3:30pm: The two hours involved extending on the topic that we had discussed earlier.  Many lecturers and speakers are experts in their field  and have a full time job outside of the university.  Therefore, their talks are delivered in a practical and applicable sense based on their professional experiences rather than theory which is very important in public health.   You begin to realise that there is no quick fix method and underlying root issues are very difficult to tackle.  Careful consideration in policy administration is vital.

3:30pm-4:00pm: Break time!  I use this time to talk to one of my good friends on the course and also check up on my social media whilst eating an apricot and yogurt fruit and nut bar with a cup of coffee.  I am feeling deflated at this point and a lot of people seem to be leaving. Sneakily, our lecturer decided to take attendance at this point so thank goodness we stayed.

4:00pm-5:30pm:  As per usual, afternoons are dedicated to practical sessions.  We got into groups of 5 and discussed a policy, its reasoning for implementation, and the pros and cons of it.  It was a very heated debate with intense shouting.  Though I didn't say much, it was very interesting to see how other people view a situation and would wish to handle it.  It goes to show how subjective individuals are as well as government.  There is no right or wrong answer.  It is nearly impossible to impress everyone which was very evident in this case because I felt someone was going to end up beheaded. I wish I had popcorn.

5:30-6:00pm: A group of people and myself end up walking in the same direction as we all head home.  The discussion about the policy practical didn't stop in class.  There was still debate but not nearly as heated as everyone appeared less hot-heated.

6:00pm-7:00pm:  Unwinding and relaxing is so vital in my day, especially lengthier ones like today.  I did send a few emails for potential dissertation ideas and proposals but otherwise ended up just lounging, drinking coffee, watching youtube videos, and reruns of Project Runway.

7:00pm-8:00pm:  I try to squeeze in a work out, even on longer days like today.  I am currently following two work out regimes which I plan to do a detailed review on in due course as I am only on week two for both of them.  It involves body weight circuit training which targets different areas of your body each day: upper, lower, and full+cardio.

8:00pm-8:30pm: I'm pretty smelly and look like a sun-dried tomato.  A shower is definitely in order.  I finished my Vineyard Peach Shower Gel from The Body Shop and am now using the Green Tea scent that is extremely refreshing.  I am working through my bottle of Fijian Lotus Water Body Lotion which is absolutely delightful.  It keeps me feeling moisturised for 24 hours minimum as I can notice I am suffering less with dryness on my legs, back, chest, and stomach.  My eczema has flared up though on my forearms but I believe that it is stress induced from my project sitting on my head like a pile of bricks. Hopefully we should see improvement in a couple of weeks.

8:30pm-9:30pm:  I use dinner time as a way to talk to my mom more.  When I am out for the whole day like today, and deadlines are around every corner, it is difficult for me to ensure that I get enough time with her.  Even though we ended up discussing my work and intervention, it was still pleasurable.

9:30pm-12:00am: Evidently, my Mondays are not jam-packed with productivity.  The trick is to prepare around it.  As I know that my Mondays are very full and I will be mentally drained by the time I come home, I do a fair share of my studying and work at the weekend.  I have Tuesdays off for these five weeks so I can afford to slack a little with such a tight schedule.  Nevertheless, I did manage to work through the framework of my Public Health Project and gather reading material to use for reference.

12:00am: I get into bed to fall asleep.  I think my mind struggles to shut off and is constantly thinking about work, blog ideas, and many other desires.  I set my alarm for 8:00am to have a productive day tomorrow and end up drifting.

I hope you all do find these posts insightful from a first-person perspective on what a Masters in Public Health is like.  It is difficult to gauge this kind of information from a prospectus on a university website or brochure.  I am very honest in my days and routines.  Clearly on days like this, my productivity is not as high but never fear.  You are allowed more relaxed days as long as you remain on top of your work over all.

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