Here we go!
When planning for spring break, I normally wouldn’t think of Texas, public health, or working, maybe Spanish, but definitely not border-health. However, all of these terms, ideas, and actions will be coming together for this year’s spring break, and I couldn’t be more eager.
Since mid January when the semester began, we’ve been learning and working together as a group to prepare ourselves mentally for what awaits us in South Texas. Group exercises that highlight our strengths and weaknesses have shed light on what to expect from my friends and peers while working on the Hidalgo County Health Department’s Community Health Assessment. We’ll be stationed for the majority of the week on one of the college’s campus where we’ll recruit students to share their perception of the community’s health through a survey. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, for a few reasons. The culture and language is going to be very different from Ann Arbor, and yo hablo español, but it’s been over a year since I was in a setting where that was the first language. Approaching students for recruitment with the survey will also be challenging. Aside from that, I’m ready and excited. I’m anticipating this week to be one of growth and learning. Learning about myself, my team, and this unique area of the United States and their health landscape. From what I’ve learned and prepared for, the area has a lot stacked against them: high rates of chronic disease, economic conditions that certainly don’t help to promote health, and difficulty in accessing healthcare services. I know, though, that we’ll be able to help to start changing those conditions, even if only by a small fraction, through the survey and support we’ll provide during the week.
And, although we’ll be working and learning, it’s still spring break; I will still be hunting out delicious food, laughing, and relaxing in the evenings surrounded by friends. I’ve never gone away for spring break, even during my undergraduate career, so this is one new, exciting, and adventurous experience that I know will further shape my love for public health.