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Getting the most out of the college experience

Where it began

I’m sure we have all heard plenty of times, the more effort you put into your time in school the more you are going to get out of it. This was a sentiment that I had in my mind the very first day I moved into school. However, as I was closing in on the end of my third semester at the University of Maryland, I found myself really struggling to find a club or organization that maintained my interest. From your generic volunteering organizations like the American Red Cross Club, to highly specialized clubs that related to my major like Engineers Without Borders, I just couldn’t find something to stick to. At the same time, I was coming close to the end of my two year Global Public Health Scholars program that I found myself really enjoying. As a result, when I heard about the Public Health Beyond Borders (Public Health Without Borders at the time), I knew it was an organization I wanted to at least try out. Three years later and that was one of the more impactful decisions I made during my time at the University of Maryland. This decision changed the way I interacted with the UMD community, and led to great personal development.

New people and new impact

As somewhat of an introverted bioengineering major who had a group of engineering friends coming into school my first few years at UMD mostly consisted of interacting with a very narrow group of individuals. PHBB changed this. From business majors to public health majors, my time with PHBB gave me the opportunity to meet so many people I otherwise never would have. In my mind this is one of the biggest strengths of PHBB as well. A club that consists of so many different people that think fundamentally differently really contributes to the club's adaptable and innovative nature. In addition, PHBB provided a sense of purpose to my education. At times when all you are doing is reading from textbooks, attending lectures, and studying for exams it can be easy to forget why you wanted to go to college in the first place. Having an organization that allows you to do meaningful and interesting work each and every week reminds you of the impact that you can have in the community and globe.

PHBB and beyond

Overall the only regret I have about joining PHBB was not joining sooner.

PHBB not only impacted my college experience, but also helped prepare me for working in the real world. As previously mentioned, PHBB has many members from a variety of different backgrounds. As a result, getting involved with PHBB will force you to learn how to work and collaborate with many types of people. As someone who now works in a role that bridges technical and non-technical aspects of electronic medical records, this skill has been invaluable. Every day I work with software developers, project managers, and medical personnel like forn desk users, doctors, and nurses. Having the ability to communicate and promote collaboration amongst all these roles is critical for my current career. PHBB also provided me the opportunity to fine tune my leadership capabilities. As a young club with even younger individual projects, PHBB allows you to really take ownership of whatever project interests you the most. Having the chance to lead the India project in developing educational public health resources is a unique experience I couldn’t have had with any other college organization.

Like the overall college experience, I’ve found that the more effort you put into your time with PHBB the more you will get out of it. From friendships to professional development PHBB was a fun and enriching experience I would recommend to any UMD student looking to make an impact on the community. Overall the only regret I have about joining PHBB was not joining sooner.


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