Julia Coffey-Esquivel, 2nd year Behavioral Science and Health Education student
First off, I want to congratulate any admitted students reading this blog! I have a little over half a semester left here at Rollins and I am jealous of those just beginning their public health journeys!
To keep with the theme, I thought I would write about what I will miss and what life may look like after Rollins. As my classmates and I begin to apply for jobs and have conversations about where we are headed next, we are all filled with bittersweet feelings. Happy to be using the skills we have acquired to affect change, but sad that these dreams may lead us away from one another.
Last night, the Graduate Student Government Association (GSGA) rented out this beautiful science museum in Atlanta, with free IMAX shows, drinks and food. People from all graduate schools attended but you couldn’t walk anywhere without bumping into someone from Rollins. While we often see each other at school, it is still thrilling two years in to have all your favorite people in one spot. I have gotten used to Saturdays at my apartments, “studying” with my friends while we drink coffee, or grabbing Ethiopian food after class, or attending Conversations on Tap on Fridays. I will miss living in vibrant city that I can explore with people who have come to mean a lot to me, and I will even simply miss just walking into the café and seeing hundreds of familiar and smiling faces.
But there is a sweet part to this. All of my friends, all of my Rollins colleagues, are all going on to do major things. One of my best friends is being flown out to a prestigious research institution because they want her to head up a large project addressing obesity in the Latino community. Another friend got into all the places she applied for post-bac and will be heading to med school after, having learned health education skills that she hopes to use in Native American communities. Another friend is wrapping up her thesis earlier than she thought, as the CDC wants her to publish it. I could go on forever about the many cool, inspiring, impactful things that my Rollins people are going on to do.
And while I am sad this may mean living in different cities, where we can’t just go grab food or have coffee at my apartment, it would be too selfish of me to keep these people near. Rollins students are all united by the same sentiment: that health is a human right and improving health can change the world for the better. My friends will be literally all over the world, making major change and improving lives. I am honored to not only have their friendship, but to get to witness their passion and influence. I know in different ways they will all leave a legacy and lasting imprint on whatever community or health issue they are working with. They came here with the passion to do so, but they will leave Rollins with the skills and tools to realize these dreams.
While it is bittersweet, ultimately I am excited to see what is next for my classmates, and even for myself. For now, I will continue to be in awe of their accomplishments and what they will accomplish in their future, but hope in the meantime, we can make the most of the time we have left together. There are already so many things on our social calendars, balanced with the demands of last semester work. Happy to be so engaged with our work and one another’s lives, but sad we have a semester to fit it all in along with our theses and 20 page papers. We will get it all in though and have a great time doing it!