Don’t Go It Alone

Don’t Go It Alone

Category : PROspective

Looking both outside (budding flowers and rain showers) and at my inbox (thesis analysis challenges and graduation reminders), it’s clear that spring is here! It’s the time of semester when classes, capstones, and theses are all starting to wrap-up. While the dates on the calendar are clear, the path to the finish line might remain a little blurry.

As you approach the final stretch of Spring 2022, I encourage you to take some time to check-in with your classmates and lean on each other. Everyone has their own struggles, and it can often be helpful to share them with someone going through a similar journey. Here’s a quote from the PROspective archives that I hope will help you in this final stretch:

Don’t compare your “behind the scenes” to everyone else’s “highlight reel”. I don’t remember where I first heard this phrase, but it really resonates with me. Until we all get comfortable sharing our setbacks, we have to realize that we mostly only see the very best of what happens to those around us. Remember that you only have a sneak peek into someone else’s life, and you are likely unaware of many of the setbacks that they face.

You are studying alongside outstanding students who have and will continue to change public health for years to come – and you belong here. It can be easy to compare your progress to someone else’s and feel like you’re falling short of where you “should” be. By checking in with each other, you can help break the habit of making biased comparisons to your colleagues.

While your challenges may be different, you may be able to provide insight that can only come from someone who is not so intimately wrapped up in the details of a particular project. Maybe what you need is someone to help you find that one spot in the EPI 550 notes that holds the key to your coding troubles. Meanwhile, your classmate could use a fresh perspective on how to best structure this one section of their final report that isn’t coming out quite right. These exchanges can help you refocus and set you back on the right path.

You may feel like you just need to put your head down and keep plugging away until the semester ends. Perhaps there are some of you for whom this really is the best strategy. For those who feel like that would be counterproductive, please take this as your sign to pause – connect with your classmates – and know that it will all come to a close in due time.

Of course, if you need additional support, please reach out to me and/or your ADAP and we will get you connected with the right resources.

 

Featured Image by Hannah Busing on Unsplash


1 Comment

Michele Marcus

April 11, 2022 at 1:02 pm

Thanks, Lauren, for this reminder. Although I’ve been a faculty member for more than 20 years, I still need a reminder to share difficulties with others. In my work, I have found it extremely useful to share the setbacks and problems with our community advisory board. At first, I was embarrassed to share research setbacks with them, feeling like I had failed at my job. However, I came to realize that they understood that things don’t always go as expected, and didn’t blame me. They accepted the challenges to our work together, had a unigue perspective and could see different solutions. Don’t be ashamed of your setbacks, share them and you’ll be surprised how much lighter the load is!

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