Is Everything Really Bigger in Texas? We're About to Find Out!

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Karli Grace Monahan

1st Year MPH Health Behavior Health Education Student

 As the departure date for San Antonio, Texas draws near, the trip is on my mind daily.
While I am eager to get on the ground, see what this great state is all about, and do some
amazing work; I cannot help but be nervous. We are going to be outsiders coming into a
community facing some public health struggles and systemic discrimination, and I want to help
as much as possible while also being respectful. What will community members think of our
group? Will there be a strong language barrier? From my public health education, I know that
fieldwork is certainly more of an art than a science. In the classroom, we are diving into
literature about the area and long COVID, building a foundation of background knowledge to
bring with us, but nothing can truly prepare us for engaging with the work and our
partners. This challenge is certainly intimidating, but nerves aside, I am so excited; excited to
apply a year’s worth of graduate public health education, but also to have the privilege of
learning from community partners while assisting them in their work. As a future physician, I
plan to engage with and advocate for my community and its needs, so I hope to learn alot in
Texas about what this could realistically look like in my career. I also hope to learn a little about
myself and put some of what I consider to be my strengths to the test. How will I work under
pressure? What will I do if our assignment changes? Can I handle an all-nighter? All I can say for
now is, bring it on!
              Despite my big nerves and understanding that there will be some big challenges, I am
still overwhelmed with excitement and hopes to make a big impact. Is everything bigger
in Texas? My emotions before leaving sure are, but I can’t wait to see what awaits us in the
Lone Star State!