From Industry to Education

17 Apr 2024, 15:30

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In the Spring of 2020, I graduated from Wayne State University with my Bachelor’s in Public Health and by summer time I was working full-time in my field as a community health worker in the American public health system. From the outside you would have thought I had achieved the ultimate dream- I worked for a reputable company and had the most amazing network of colleagues all before turning 25, but I would be lying if I said I felt fulfilled in my career. Within a couple of years, I felt like I had become stagnant- I found myself not advancing the field that I had hoped for, leaving me feeling hopeless about moving forward.

Despite all of my efforts, I was struggling to create new career opportunities. Many of the positions I wanted to obtain required a master’s degree. Although I had always considered getting my postgraduate degree, I would have never guessed that I would have chosen the route of obtaining my degree in Ireland. It was kind of a happy accident- after a couple of Google searches it turned out my ideal program, a Master of Health and Science Communications would be at Dublin City University.

At first, I thought an opportunity like this would be unobtainable- how would someone like me be able to quit their career and put everything on pause? Nevertheless, I decided to submit an application because why not? A couple of weeks later, to my surprise, I got an acceptance letter. Within that week Padraig, the Master of Health Science Communications program chair, reached out to schedule a Zoom meeting to discuss any questions or concerns I had about the course. We talked about the structure of the course, the modules, the grading system and even just what life in Dublin was like. The next thing I knew, I was clicking the submission button on my acceptance.

The fact that I was considering giving up my full-time job and uprooting my whole life across the ocean honestly made me question my sanity multiple times. However, all I could think about was the fact that I was growing more stagnant and that nothing would change if I passed up the opportunity. Six months and a lot of planning later receiving an acceptance letter I quit my job and packed my life into three suitcases.

Transitioning from working full-time to being a full-time postgraduate student was an adjustment. When I started my first semester, it had been almost four years since I was a student. It was overwhelming- I had forgotten what it was like to sit and pay attention in a lecture hall, what it was like to do readings before class and have a calendar filled with assignment deadlines. For a couple of weeks, I felt extremely out of place. I had gotten so used to having meetings, working with colleagues on work projects and checking emails so university life felt strange. Eventually, with the support of my lecturers and the connections I made with my classmates, I was able to find my groove with a routine once again leading me to begin to flourish in the academic setting.

I even surprised myself with how quickly I was able to make friends in Dublin. There are loads of people within the university and outside of it in the city who are in a similar situation- deciding to uproot themselves abroad to pursue opportunities. Within barely any time at all Dublin and DCU felt like home.

Now more than six months into my journey of transitioning from industry to full-time study, I'm filled with gratitude for the unexpected turns that led me here. It's been a leap of faith, challenging my comfort zone and pushing me to grow in ways I never imagined. As I navigate the intricacies of student life once again and embrace the changes in the city of Dublin and DCU’s campus, I'm reminded that growth often requires us to embrace uncertainty and step into the unknown. With each lecture, assignment, and new connection, I'm inching closer to a future where I can make a meaningful impact in health communication.

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