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Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of blog posts written by Human Health students in the Health 1,2,3,4 program’s Health 497 course – Community Health Education Strategies. To see an overview of the program and this series, please read this post.
By Sarah Crowley
The Health 100 curriculum is aimed towards providing peer support to help Emory freshmen through a challenging transition in their lives. Four years later I am preparing to leave college, and the skills I learned throughout the Health 1,2,3,4 program will aid me as I undergo a similarly challenging transition period.
Looking back on the last 4 years, I have had many invaluable experiences that shaped my time at Emory. I was most impacted not by acquiring factual knowledge, but in developing skills that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. My experiences with the Health 1,2,3,4 program began in 2018 and I can confidently say that the work I have done through this program has been the most meaningful and impactful of my college career.
Not only was the Health 497 course beneficial in helping me make the most of my time in college, but it helped me develop professional skills that will follow me for the rest of my life. Most specifically, I learned adaptability, leadership and problem-solving skills that I have already had the opportunity to apply in my professional career.
While facilitating health lessons for King Middle students I had to learn to adapt to changes in the timetable or variation in participation levels while still getting through all the content in the allotted time. This taught me to think on my feet and remain calm when things didn’t go exactly according to plan. We also faced many challenges when working with community partners such as encountering different teaching styles and technological difficulties that necessitated an adaptive mindset. In the real-world, things won’t always go according to plan, so it’s important to be able to adapt to a variety of scenarios and remain flexible. Having experience with unexpected changes will make me less overwhelmed when things don’t go according to plan. Related to the skill of adaptability, unexpected changes in class forced me to think on my feet and come up with creative solutions to problems that I faced. For example, if I noticed that students were hesitant to share or speak up, I had to find engaging questions to pose that would increase participation.
Many workplaces look for employees who can effectively navigate new or challenging circumstances. Not only does problem solving help create effective solutions under pressure, but it also encourages creative ideas that go against the norm. Facilitating a class of middle school students meant that I was responsible for maintaining student engagement and participation. It also provided the unique experience of balancing authority with maintaining a positive peer relationship so that students felt comfortable sharing their personal experiences.
Whether or not you work in a leadership position in a professional environment, it is still valuable to be able to give skillful guidance to others. Leadership doesn’t only include authority, but also allows one to demonstrate accountability for their responsibilities. Not only did participation in the Health 1,2,3,4 program and Health 497 illuminate my passion for health education, but it equipped me with valuable tools that will help ease the transition to the next stage of my life.