There are a number of reasons why I selected my major; some of them are practical concerns, while others are more about my ideals and my views on how I might lead a fulfilling, rewarding life. The realm of “community health” is, of course, fairly broad, and can encompass a variety of fields and occupations. Overall, however, there are certain fundamental components that underpin any role one might take on in the area of community health, the most obvious, and most significant of these is simply entering a field that offers the opportunity to be of service to my fellow human beings. At the risk of sounding like a cliché, that is the primary reason why I chose community health as my major: I wish to work in a field that allows me to be of service to people, and to do what I can to make my little corner of the world a better place.
There are a number of factors that combined to steer me towards choosing community health as my major. I have several family members who work in related fields, such as nursing and other health care-related occupations. I have been able to learn from their examples, and have developed an understanding of both the challenges and the rewards they have faced in their careers. There is no question that working as a nurse, for example, is quite challenging. The hours are often long, and it can be enormously stressful dealing with the seemingly-endless stream of people who are sick or injured. At the same time, however, I have seen how rewarding it can be to know that doing one’s job genuinely helps people.
As I considered my future, and weighed the many options I had in terms of selecting a major and making decisions about what to study and what occupational field I intended to enter, I often sought the advice and guidance of friends and family members. Those family members who work in similar fields all explained to me that I would face many challenges both academically and professionally, but none of them tried to warn me away from following the path I chose. Quite the opposite, in fact; everyone I spoke to about my chosen major was extremely encouraging and supportive. During some of the conversations I had with friends and family members about this subject ended up leaving me feeling positive, as I was told by more than one person that my personality and my approach to dealing with people makes me well-suited for working in this field. It is always nice to hear good things about one’s self, and the enthusiasm and encouragement I received from many of those around me left me feeling quite happy. I was quite humbled by some of the kind words I received in these conversations, and it is my hope that I will be able to live up to the expectations of those who have been so supportive of my chosen academic path.
Any effort to consider whether or not my future career in community health could be described as “prestigious” is hampered by the fact that I simply do not view myself or my career in those terms. There may be a certain amount of prestige in working in this field, but for the most part I would leave such considerations for others to decide. I did not choose my career path out of any sense of what sort of social status it will afford me; as noted, my primary motivation has simply been to find a career that will allow me to be of service to others. I come from a family that shares a strong sense of spiritual faith, and which believes in the importance of building strong bonds in the family and the community. Our family considers the idea of service to be one of the most important lessons of our faith; it is, in fact, the core value of what we believe makes life worth living. While I do hope to work hard and be comfortable financially, that is not what drives me to follow the path I am on.
While I do have some friends and family who work in occupations that could be considered a part of the larger field of community health, most of my friends who are my age are following other academic and professional paths. This means that while I have the emotional support of the people in my life, I am still somewhat on my own, and have had to work hard to overcome some of the challenges that separate me from others who are studying the same things I am studying. I am an international student, and I have not been I the United Sates for very long. I have some friends and family here, but I also had to leave behind many of the important people in my life in order to come to the U.S.to study. That has, on occasion, been very challenging; there are times when I become very homesick and miss my friends and family from home. Fortunately I am able to stay in regular communication with them, and they continue to offer me a strong sense of emotional support and encouragement. Knowing I am making them proud is one of the things that keeps me going when I am feeling sad or homesick.
From a sociological standpoint, I believe my minority status has largely been an advantage in my chosen major. By this I do not mean that I ask for or am given any special favors or treatments; I simply mean that most of the people I have met while studying in the U.S. have been friendly and welcoming. I always make an effort to do my best, and to maintain a strong focus on my studies. It can be difficult at times to keep up with some of my classmates who are native to the U.S., but I believe that most of the people around me can see that I work hard and remain diligent about my studies. Because of this I believe that most of my classmates and my instructors are willing to be patient and helpful in ways that they might not be if they thought I was not a dedicated student.
The time I have spent as a student in the U.S. has been very good for my self-esteem. I have faced many challenges, but I have also been greatly rewarded by the kindness of other people, and have for the most part received support and encouragement from those around me. For other people who are considering entering the field of community health I would try to offer the same encouragement to them as I have been fortunate to receive. No matter what major someone chooses, there will always be challenges to be faced, and I believe that anyone who is willing to take risks in life and to work hard to overcome those challenges should be given respect and praise for their efforts. I am enormously grateful for the opportunities I have had I life, and I view that challenges I have faced as simply opportunities in disguise. Overcoming challenges almost always leads to some sort of reward, even if that reward is simply the satisfaction of a job well done. I know that I will continue to face challenges in my academic and professional careers, but I also look forward to having the opportunity to help other people overcome their own challenges. I cannot imagine a more rewarding career than that.