Two terms and living to tell the tale

Just a few thoughts as I close the lid on two momentous terms at Imperial.

1. You don’t know what you can achieve until you try

I took a big risk doing this course considering the huge cost and my non-science background. Plus it’s been almost a decade since my undergrad days. Yet somehow I have thrived. Amid the flood of new concepts, information and working styles, I find myself with a fighting chance of a distinction (although maybe I’ve just jinxed it). Of course, I still have the massive challenge of my dissertation but this is already beyond what I imagined this time last year. If I hadn’t tried, all this would just be a bunch of ‘what ifs’.

2. Mature students seem to get more out of the MPH

Much of a public health degree is about practical application. As such, it’s a big advantage if you have real world experience to temper the theory taught in class. It’s not just about hard skills. During my course I’ve found that simple yet important things such as version control, keeping colleagues updated and time management are often overlooked. Having these habits already ingrained sets you up for success.

3. Going back to school can be hard for mature students

I’ve been told I look young but, at 34 years, I’m most definitely not. At times, it has been hard going to class with people often 10 years younger, and having to live like a student (ie no income) again. To get through it, I’ve had to constantly remind myself of the reason I’m here: to acquire new skills and open up new opportunities. Having the support of my wife has also been vital. I don’t know where I’d be without her. I’ve also tapped on the school’s free counselling service and that has been helpful, although it can take a long time to see somebody.

It’s been a roller-coaster ride so far. Let’s see what the final term has in store.

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