You Never Know

Tiffany Yang

The semester is finally over! All exams finished, all papers and presentations done with. I don’t know about you, but I was surprised to find that I enjoyed all of my classes this past semester (yes, even Biostats).

Public health continues to surprise me in how engaging and applicable it is. Take Health Behavior Health Education, for example. I actually dreaded my HBHE 600 class (Psychosocial Factors in Health Related Behavior) because I didn’t think I would be interested in the material and I thought it would be boring. How wrong I was.

I had Vic Strecher as my professor and he is amazingly entertaining and instructive. I found myself excited to go to class and very engaged in his lectures. He really encouraged you to take the material and understand it, not just memorize it. He kept saying that in graduate school we should no longer be given performance grades, but should be pushing ourselves to master the material. He didn’t want you to work for an “A” just to get an “A”, he wanted you to work towards understanding. I really appreciated that sentiment because I really feel that it’s true (even though I enjoy getting good grades and am, therefore, a hypocrite).

Undergrad is mostly a grind to get grades that are good enough to get you to graduate school. Well, here we are…and we should no longer be working towards that. We should be working towards integrating all this new information we’re being taught and learning how to apply it in the field. It’s easy to get caught up in grades. But, how much of it does it really reflect what we know and understand? I’ve gotten grades that I felt unjustified in receiving because I didn’t think I understood the material as well as the professor obviously thought I did. On the other hand, I’ve gotten poor grades in classes that I felt the most engaged in.

You never know when you’re going to be surprised at how awesome some classes are, no matter how boring or seemingly non-applicable they are. Who would have thought I would enjoy biostats this semester? The material was hard, I was mostly confused during lectures, and, yet, I loved the lectures (thanks to the very interesting Professor Braun).

You never know how unexpected some things really are. The most important lesson I learned this past semester was to never judge too early. You’ll surprise yourself.

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