Here I Come India!

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Today, I found out that I got accepted to study public health in India during May Session. I am so so so excited and humbled that I will have the chance to cross off studying abroad on my Buckeye Bucket List. I actually have learned a life lesson already from this experience.

An excerpt from an essay I wrote applying for a study abroad scholarship:

“Failures should never be the last stop in one’s journey, just a pit stop to re-energize and reflect. A series of fortunate events led me to apply for Public Health Perspectives India a second time. Last year, I had prepared my study abroad application for a few months and even applied to two scholarships to help alleviate the financial burden. Former president Gee’s passport campaign inspired me to place studying abroad on my Buckeye Bucket List. I researched the May Session programs offered through The Office of International Affairs and pinpointed Public Health Perspectives – India as a relevant experience for my future career. I researched more about the city, university, and itinerary. I later emailed the contact person with questions and took a world history course to learn about India’s diverse population. My energy and excitement grew as I waited for the email of acceptance or denial. I received the latter. Interestingly, this failure only perpetuated my passion to study abroad. I had the opportunity to hear the positive experiences of three people I knew who went on the trip last year. One student kept a blog during the trip, and I had the pleasure of experiencing the daily happenings through a computer screen. From the Arabian Sea shores to a melancholy post about the status of the mentally ill to a festive Hindu wedding, reading a first-hand account was the next best thing to actually being there. Last semester, taking microbiology and sociology has made me think about how culture and society can really impact health. This year I am involved with the Buckeye Leadership Fellows program who recently took an immersive cultural trip to India during winter break, but I declined the opportunity so I could potentially study in-depth with Public Health Perspectives – India. All these profound moments in the last year pointed me in the direction of studying public health abroad, and I believe this experience will positively shape how I practice medicine in the future.”

I remember how I used to be so afraid of failure. I grew up around the mindset that I was the underdog and needed to excel in everything that I do. So when things didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to, it always took a huge hit on me – to the point where I sometimes felt like crying. Some vivid examples that I could remember from grade school are: being reprimanded about talking during class, receiving a detention in 5th grade for not getting a parent signature on a spelling contract, immense anger at receiving a B on a 6th grade math test, isolated at my first job by the boss to talk about needed improvements.

Fortunately, coming to college has helped re-shape my mindset about failures. After accumulating three large failures during my freshman year, I realized this is an inevitable part of life. The real question is: how are you going to deal with it? Dwell on the past and keep questioning why this happened to you of all people? or ask yourself how you can improve next time? The best answer is the latter.

This is one of my all time favorite quotes:

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without enthusiasm.”

I love this life mantra so much. Never be afraid of failure for they are valuable learning moments. Reflect. And come back next time with more fervor. This goes for giving and receiving feedback too. Of course no one likes to be pointed out by their flaws, but often times this is the best way to learn about yourself and how you can be more effective. Feedback is love.

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