I am addicted to technology. I realized this as I paid $18.95 for in-flight wifi access from Dallas to Miami en-route to Grenada. I am excited but apprehensive at the same time; as my unwillingness to go two hours without internet access shows I rely heavily on technology in my daily life. I feel that Grenada will force me to unplug a little and help me focus on the world around me, instead of the one on a screen.
I am also a bit worried about how well I will be able to transition my academic training from the classroom to the field. I am currently in the second year of my masters in Environmental Health Science, with a focus in industrial hygiene. Many people outside of environmental health are not even aware industrial hygiene exists as a profession. No, in case you were wondering we do not clean teeth; rather we focus on the health and safety of workers in their workplaces typically in an industrial setting.
Herein lies the problem, while I have studied hazards in auto plants, oil refineries, and chemical processing facilities I have very little exposure to dealing with worker health in a service industry such as hospitality; which is actually kind of funny given the shift in the US economy from manufacturing to service industries. However, I believe my ability to identify and develop controls for various hazards will serve me well this next week.
I am also curious to see what kind of priority is given to worker and environmental health in Grenada. For a country that is trying to develop its appeal to tourist one would hope that environmental health would be a major consideration. However, history has shown that this is not always the case. One only has to look back at the asbestos quagmire starting in the early 1900s and more recently the debate surrounding BPA and its alternatives to see that economic considerations tend to trump public health concerns.
Regardless, the forced separation from both my technology and traditional academic setting will help enrich me both personally and professionally. The end result being that I will be a more competent public health professional in the future. That’s worth the anxiety that comes with not being able to constantly check my Facebook newsfeed.