4 Skills I’ve Learned at RSPH

4 Skills I’ve Learned at RSPH

Category : PROspective

Now that I’m (finally!) almost done with my MPH, I’ve been reflecting on some of the skills and knowledge I’ve gained since starting the program. When I first got to Rollins a year and a half ago, I had no idea what to expect from this program. I chose public health, and epidemiology, for a reason, but I still didn’t know what concrete skills I would gain that I didn’t already have or couldn’t get from a job. I guess that goes to show that we really don’t know what we don’t know. I was blown away by how much we learned in the first semester alone. I started to recognize just how crucial this knowledge is for a competent public health worker to have. As we begin to start our careers, and perhaps face a bit of imposter syndrome, I thought I’d share some of the most useful skills I’ve learned here at Rollins, as a reminder of how far we’ve come.

  1. How to critically analyze and understand scientific research. Despite studying STEM in undergrad, I could not have told you what a p-value was two years ago. That’s why I was so pleasantly surprised at how thoroughly we were taught how to interpret research findings. Regardless of if we conduct our own research studies or not, understanding how to interpret the results of research and what a well-conducted research study consists of are incredibly important for us to make informed decisions regarding the public’s health, or provide relevant advice to the general public.
  2. How to write at an academic level. Contrary to my role of running this blog, I’ve always considered writing to be one of my weakest points. The numerous papers, critiques, and peer reviews we’ve done in our classes have helped me significantly improve my academic writing. I’ve sadly found that despite my intentions of pursuing science to avoid writing, this is a necessary skill I’ll need for almost any career I pursue in the future. If all of the tools you’ve gained from your classes still don’t feel enough, writing a thesis or capstone will definitely make you more confident in your own writing abilities.
  3. How to code in SAS and R. I still need my notes every time I use one of these programs, but this is something I almost certainly could not have taught myself. Even when faced with coding we haven’t learned in our classes, I feel more confident that I will be able to grasp new concepts, having mastered the basics already. I don’t know about you, but I’m planning to keep those EPI 534 notes for life.
  4. How to utilize science to effect social and political change. Learning about some of the logistics of how policy change happens has made it clearer how research can be translated into actual improvements in public health.

There are countless many other things that RSPH has taught me, both hard and soft skills, but these are a handful that make me feel most confident in my abilities. Whether you’re about to start your public health career, preparing for graduate or professional school, or are only just beginning your journey at RSPH, remember that you are here for a reason! Rollins has given us the tools we need to succeed, now it’s up to us to use them!

Featured Image by Christin Hume on Unsplash

This post was originally published on March 20, 2022 by Alex Whicker


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