It’s been about a month since I returned from Kisumu, where I spent eight weeks working on the development of an mHealth pilot study at the Duke Center for Global Reproductive Health. I really feel that I gained so much out of those two months, and I’m hoping to bring these lessons with me to my senior year at Duke. I was able to experience what it really means to do research in the field, and that a lot of the time this means being flexible and prepared for plans to constantly change. The local team at the Center taught me the importance of communication and planning ahead, but how to also be ready for scheduling changes when working with outside teams. More than that though, the team showed me how easily one can feel connected to a new group of coworkers that welcome you with open arms. I think I speak for myself and the rest of the SRT team when I say that we felt like every single member of the office went out of their way to ensure we felt well-adjusted and always took the time to listen to our questions and help us out. Even more so, we enjoyed learning from them and having the opportunity to collaborate with them in a way that made eight weeks go by extremely quickly.
Today marks the end of my first week of senior year, and like some of my classmates I’m not exactly sure what I want to do after graduation. However, I can say that my experience in Kisumu helped provide more insight as to the kind of field I see myself working in. Through the people I met this summer I learned more about the real world of public health, and was encouraged to start seriously thinking about applying for graduate school programs in either public health or global health. So while I definitely don’t have my post-graduation plans sorted out, I feel much more confident in my ability to figure them out this year.