The Start of 2018: A Collective Overview…

…by Kayla / from the United States / Master of Public Health 2017-2018

Hello from Bonnie Scotland,

Warm welcome to my new audience tuning in on my blog site. I was accepted to be one of the student bloggers for the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine whoop whoop! This will be a combination January/ February reflections and updates. Please feel free to go through my past blogs to see my vision behind the Guided Pathways blogs and follow my journey in Edinburgh from the beginning.

KS1

Bringing in the New Year in a new country, new city, new people, other than my home, or what I am use to brings forward a mood of heavy reflection. The cover picture I have chosen for this blog translates what I mean by this:  My sweet friend Maria captured this (truly candid) photo, as I was being careful to stand up after sitting on the edge of the snowy Salisbury Crags cliffs in awe. It was mid-January and my first time seeing true snow. Below me was a white blanket covering beautiful Edinburgh with Gothic pointed architecture spread throughout the city giving it an extra sweet charm. I sit there quite thinking of people from home I wanted to share this still quiet moment with. I thought of the path I took and those who helped me in 2017 to get to this moment where I am now. I thought of the young woman I want to shrive to become throughout this New Year. As I climbed down to the bottom, I looked back  up to the peak where I once sat, motivated and ready to start this year off right.

Okay, I know I know enough with the sappy Oprah magazine-overcoming story. Here are some of my recent life updates:

 

The first week of January, I applied for the fellowship position through the Center for Disease and Control (CDC) as a next step and possibly future start to my career. I should find out sometime in March if I make it to the next step in this highly competitive job application process. Feel free to research CDC PHAP to learn more about this program.

The concluding weeks of my winter holiday break I spent creating my new class schedule and deciding on dissertation topics and supervisors. Back in late November, our program director gave us a list of dissertation projects and supervisors in the MPH. On that list was a wide range of both qualitative and quantitative public health projects as well as a few free-range supervisors that were open to student proposed topics. This past week I received my results for my dissertation topic! I am quite pleased to say that for the next few months I will be working on a qualitative interview study exploring how practising teachers understand their role in supporting and enhancing mental, social, emotional, health and well-being (MSEHWB) with two amazing supervisors. I will share more about this in future blogs.

Below is a quick snap shot to my class/life schedule.

* My classes do not reflect that of every MPH student. This semester we had quite a lot of freedom choosing our own courses as our only core class this term is Systematic Reviews.

Monday: Developing and Evaluating Complex Interventions in Public Health & Health and Human Rights

* Mondays are my busiest days but they are filled with my favorite course lectures. Health and Human Rights is actually a 20-credit course from the political school, which also counts towards my degree credits. I decided to take this course in order to step out of my comfort zone and to be involve with the interesting class discussions and readings.

– Also I have discovered that local Edinburgh companies have deals for the community and students on Mondays, thanks to my fellow postgrad friends also on a budget. The Vue at the Omni ,the local theater, is only £4 for EVERY movie for “Super Mondays “which is every Monday. Some of my course mates and I went to go see Black Panther last week and LOVED it. 10/10 recommend. In addition, the Green Mantel Bar & Kitchen, located near main campus has half off delicious burgers. These deals make Mondays a day to look forward to.

Tuesday: Study day and Authentic Night (student/ young adult ministry at Destiny)

* This is usually my most productive getting things done day.

Wednesday: Sociology of Health and Illness, reading day, and Connect group with BFC

* This is one of my most interactive classes. As we discuss pressing issues in public health from a sociological perspective such as: mental health and illness; the social construction of gender, health and illness; alcohol and other drugs, health and illness; smoking practices, health and illness; diet, health and illness and much more.

Thursday: Study day and babysitting

* In addition to studying and babysitting, I usually get in a lot of physical exercise Thursdays since I ride my bike up and down hills to get to my destination. Riding a bike through the streets of Edinburgh is a love/ hate relationship because of the hills but it is such an efficient method of transportation.#publichealth

Friday: Introduction to Systematic Reviews

This is actually one of my most challenging courses because I do not have a strong background in research. Thankfully, we have helpful professors teaching this course who regularly offer extra help workshops to teach us how to properly use search platforms such as PubMed/ Medline, Osiris, WHO IRIS, and many other helpful databases. This course will be beneficial going forward with gaining background information for my dissertation.

Saturdays and Sundays I have mainly spent studying, exploring Scotland, hanging with friends, fellowship with church family, and trying to enjoy my last few weekends of freedom before the deadline heavy March falls upon me.

Scottish traditions

January 25th was Burns Super Night honoring the great Scottish poet Robert Burns on his birthday.  This national holiday is celebrated through poetry performances, bagpipe players,  Ceilidh dancing, dressing in kilts and tartan, and eating Scotland beloved dish haggis of course.  The Rotary district 1020 clubs invited the Global Scholars to many Robert Burns Suppers throughout the week. I was able to attend two of them: one with my lovely host family and Musselburgh Rotary Club, as well as one with all of the Global Scholars at the Rotary Club Corstorphine. The other Global Scholars and I had an interesting experience as international students trying to understand the heavy Scottish/Gaelic accents and words used  throughout the night, and trying to keep up with the wonderful Scottish Rotarians whom were three times our age but had four times our energy when it came to Ceilidh dancing. It was defiantly a night to remember, and the most Scottish I have ever felt with in the 6 months I have been here.

Fun fact: Robert Burns is so embedded in Scotland’s history that his face was featured the £10 note.

Dedication

Last but certainly not least, I want to dedicate this month’s blog to my loving grandfather, Pawpaw Johnny, who now rest in peace after a long battle with prostate cancer. I saw him before moving to Scotland and I know he was proud of me for making this move. Being an international student sometimes makes realities of not being able to go home tough at times, yet knowing that your guided pathway can leave positive impact on the lives of others makes it worth it. My Pawpaw’s love, encouragement, and example meant so much to me.

Love Always- KK

I hope that this blog has given you better insight of myself, the Masters of Public Health, life at University of Edinburgh, etc. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions: kaylastovall95@gmail.com

Cheers,

Kayla


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