We boarded our plane at the assigned time, but sat on the runway for over 2 hours until our plane could be de-iced. Then we landed in Dallas late, expecting to board at the assigned time, and boarded an hour and a half late and then sat on that plane for an hour before taking off. Ultimately we landed at our final destination McAllen, Texas expecting to get off as normal, but there was no gate to bus into and so we ended our long travel day with another hour of sitting on the plane and waiting.
At first my natural reaction was to be bothered/stressed by the delays, but I said to myself “look at this as a special opportunity to get to know the new friends you’re traveling with, and also observe the culture and the new surroundings”. I was so glad I chose the later outlook, because it was the foundation of what has thus far turned out to be a great trip, and the “rolling with the punches” mentality has helped to work through the daily “bumps” I and our group have experienced in doing our research. Unexpected things are virtually impossible to avoid in research, such as when many participants on a survey do not show for interviews, but telling myself to “roll with it” made the interviews I had more special and meaningful, and made the day more fun!
This is of course a good life lesson, but especially important when traveling, and also important when conducting research. I am so glad I decided to take this trip, I am learning so much about myself, I am learning so much about public health practice. Public health practice is fun, enlightening and meaningful. Working to improve health outcomes can take a lot of work, but when you meet the actual people your work can help, it makes it so much more purposeful.