A little while ago, the University of South Carolina's Facebook page posted a video that's resonated with me in a way that no other university promotion materials ever have (link). It's that "Welcome home" at the end, I think.
I remember my very first day at USC, the way the crisp January air and the old trees welcomed me out after my intro to health promotion course. But it wasn't just the red bricks and the squirrels around the Horseshoe...it was that I finally had found my people. My bachelor's degree was in biology, from a small liberal arts school that didn't have a lot of options. I'd moved on from there to an internship in molecular toxicology, all the while wishing that I knew how to connect my interests in natural science to my interest in community. I wanted, desperately, to see how all that fascinating science actually affected people. I wrestled with next steps, tried to find volunteer opportunities and ways to dabble in community work on the side. Finally, a researcher in the lab next to mine asked if I'd ever considered going into public health fulltime. It was like a door swung open, and about six months later I was accepted into USC's MPH program.
And finally, I was home. Here were people who cared about science and also the nuances of how that science changes people's lives. As I get ready for my first semester at Minnesota State, I keep coming back to that feeling. Who will my students be? And for those whose home is in health promotion, how can I help them find their way there faster than I did?