From the start of my medical career, I have been a strong advocate of prevention. I counsel my patients on prevention and risk factors even before early detection of diseases. My enthusiasm for this led me to pursue my Master’s degree in Public Health. In this contribution, I share what has been working for me as a successful and highly engaged student.
Firstly, I place great importance on attending my classes. Attending classes, whether face-to-face or online, has been the first step to helping me stay engaged. To me, staying engaged is about asking questions, as well as discussing my ideas with my module leaders and asking for their feedback. This helps me understand my subject in-depth, and helps me to feel a sense of connectedness with the subject and the university environment.
Secondly, it is crucial to come prepared for class. I prepare by completing assigned pre-session tasks, for instance doing the pre-reading, watching and listening to videos or podcasts, and completing assigned writing activities. Preparing for class has helped me to fully engage during the lectures. For example, I am prepared to ask questions, and in doing so I gain a better understanding of the topic and improve my academic self-efficacy.
Thirdly, I share a method I devised for myself which has helped me read and comprehend materials quickly. After five years of being in my clinical practice away from academia, it was challenging for me to start studying again. Initially I started to lose concentration quickly and became sleepy. I started listening to the reading material, an option provided by the online version of my course’s books. After a couple of weeks of listening, I moved to listening and reading together. This helped me increase my reading speed. I was able to more quickly comprehend the written material within a few weeks of doing this. Now, as I approach the end of my degree programme, I can skim papers quickly and find the information that I am looking for.
Lastly, I believe communication is key. There are many opportunities for communication (for example when attending class) but overall, it is essential to communicate with your module leader and colleagues when you need support. Through effective and respectful communication, you can help people to help you. My dissertation supervisor said to me “Roomana, I am here as a tool to help you to grow your knowledge, now you need to decide how best to use that resource!” I am very grateful to her.
Impact on me
By doing the things above, I was able to successfully pass the module and have started working with a local community health research organisation, where I have been able to put into practice the knowledge which I have acquired from my course. By attending classes regularly, completing the pre-readings, using my method of reading, and receiving guidance and support from my teachers, I have been able to fully engage with my studies and have gained an in-depth understanding of my subject.