Being a Millennial isn’t easy. There’s school, work, finding a job, balancing the work/social life balance – it can be pretty overwhelming. We wanted to find out what millennials like YOU were up to and how you were dealing with the real world.
This week we interviewed Holly, a 22 year old living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is a Masters candidate student in Health Promotion at Dalhousie University.
Let’s hear her story!
What led you to the position you’re in now?
Growing up, I always wanted to help others and I was very interested in health and well-being. When I started thinking about careers and further education, I thought that I wanted to go into medicine and to work in developing nations. However, as I was applying to university, I quickly realized that I was not interested in science and the biomedical aspect of health. I decided that medicine was not the right path for me.
Reflecting on an international exchange to Mexico and my strong desire to help others, I pursued a BA(H) in Global Development Studies at Queen’s University. Still, during my undergrad, I was drawn to global health courses and was heavily involved in mental health initiatives on campus and in the community. During my four years at Queen’s, I realized that while there are many injustices around the world, there are also pressing challenges in our own communities that require knowledgable leaders to make a difference. With this realization, as well as my significant volunteer and personal experiences in the field of mental health, I knew the direction I wanted to follow.
When it came time to apply to graduate programs, I was torn between pursuing a MPH degree or MA degree. I ultimately decided to pursue the thesis-based MA Health Promotion degree. Health promotion is a field of study which addresses the social determinants and inequities that frame health (housing, socioeconomic status, race etc.). I was drawn to this research program because it blends my interest in health with my degree in global development (working with marginalized populations to improve their overall wellbeing). It allows me to focus my research and study on a specific topic of interest (mental health of youth in rural Canada), while being able to make a tangible difference in my community!
How did you finally realize your decision was right for you? / Is it right for you? Do you wish you would have pursued something else?
I chose Dalhousie’s MA Health Promotion program for several reasons. First, the faculty and staff clearly care about each student as an individual. My research vision is well supported by my supervisor and I feel valued and welcomed as new health researcher. The program is also small and tight-knit, and my classmates are like a second family. Secondly, Dalhousie is located in close proximity to where I want to conduct research and to my hometown. Dalhousie is also well known for its significant health research programs. The opportunities available to me through Dalhousie and the city of Halifax have been endless! Although I am only in the second semester of the program and my future after this degree is still unclear, I know that I have made the right decision in coming to Dal.
Do you have any advice/tips for those applying to the program or want to major/ go into the same field as you?
Choosing the right school and program can be nerve wracking, exciting and unpredictable. My number one piece of advice is to think critically about what each school or program has to offer, and how you fit with their community. Even though several schools may offer the same program, their requirements, course offerings or approach may be very different. Don’t be afraid to contact faculty and staff members with questions during the application process. It may even be helpful to visit the campus to get a feel for campus life, as well as life in the surrounding community.
Finally, don’t worry if you feel lost or if you don’t have everything figured out. No one does. There is nothing wrong with changing programs or even schools. University is a significant investment of time, money and energy. It is important to enjoy what you do!
Any other comments you have about your university career thus far?
Overall, I’ve learned that university is what you make it. Some people prefer to stick within the university bubble and never explore the town or city around them. I found extra value in my university career by engaging through volunteer and paid work in the community. In doing so, I met lifelong friends, gained important skills and had a lot of fun! Kington and Halifax are both second homes to me now.
What’s it like being a millennial? Do you think there are differences between you and other generations? What do you think is the most common misconception about millennials and what would you want people to know?
Being a millennial is both exciting and challenging. On the one hand, the rise of social media has allowed me to stay in contact with friends from across the country and adds to my support system. However, it can also be challenging to live in a “connected” world when you are always subjected to other people’s online “highlight roll.”
When I think of my generation, I think of intelligent, creative, and compassionate problem-solving individuals. While our ways of thinking and approaching challenges might be different than previous generations, so are the challenges we face. The world is progressing and changing at a rate that has never been experienced before, yet I am confident that the future of our communities is in good hands.
Thanks for reading! What else should we ask our Millennials?