Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Entry 6/Final Entry
After all the hard work, finally I am graduating in two weeks. It was not an easy journey in college as a student coming from another country. If you are an international student you would know what I am talking about; how much paperwork you have to go through for each and everything you do in the US. After all I still wanted to come here to study towards my goal of serving and meeting new people from around the world and working with people who have various back grounds.
The field of Community Health is a perfect match for my goals. A community health major will always have to deal with people from various backgrounds. In this case one should not try to think of working with people who have money and facilities, because community health is most likely working with people who are poor and vulnerable. For this a person should learn to be neutral at all times and open minded in terms of any nationality, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, language, financial and education status. So I believe that I had made the right decision to come to the US where everyone from various backgrounds lives together that has made me open-minded.
Ok now let’s go back in time where I started. Right after getting admission to SCSU the first thing I did was to start looking for jobs. Remember the fact that we international students don’t have the option of any off-campus employment unless it’s an internship. My first day at the school cafeteria in the dish room, I was thinking about the day I had told my dad that I wanted to work and earn my own money. I did my job well and was very happy to get the very first pay check on my own. My second greatest experience was to work for the Student Union, where I still provide my service. Here I learned almost everything about the university as I have to provide information to students, faculty and guests. Since the first days of work, I have learned that life is like a ladder where you always start from the first step to the top. One day you will have gained all the experience from these steps that you have taken for so long. Finally on my last semester I was fortunate enough to work for this particular non-profit organization which is well known around the world for their great services to people. All these career opportunities did not come after me, looking for me, but I went after them - one step at a time.
In my last entry I would like to thank the Career Services for giving me the opportunity to share my experience with the students. I would also like to thank all my past and present supervisors along with my professors who always gave me a helping hand in getting me to the next step of my career goal.
"Respect others as you want them to respect you."
As the end of my college life is coming near, I feel that I should talk a little about how I ended up taking up Community Health as a major. When I first came to SCSU I was a Biotechnology major; a lot of friends told me that was a great major and that I could make lot of money out of the degree. However during my sophomore year I started questioning myself if I wanted to make money or if I wanted to enjoy my job one day in the future.
My personality and my dreams did not go along with Biotechnology. I was stressed out looking for the right major through which I could help people to have a quality life. Some peers advised me to find a major where I could earn a lot of money and where there was a possibility of finding a lot of job openings after graduation. At the same time some advised me to find a major where I would be happy and satisfied. I chose the latter option of looking for a major where I could satisfy my goals. I am happy that now I am in the field of Community Health where I can find my dream job.
One of the commonly used interview questions is "why did you decide to work for this company?"An interviewer would notice it right away from the applicant’s reply if he/she really does show any interest in the company or agency. So why spend a lot of money in tuition for something that you don’t like?
Internships are really important for people to get real life experiences about their major and also it is a reflection of where they will possibly wind up in the future. If you don’t like your internship, the best thing to do would be to rethink if you really like your major or not. Internships will show you exactly what your future employer would expect from you and it is also a wonderful way to measure your knowledge in your field. As for me, I can make practical use of the skills that I have learned from my major in my current internship.
Working is a giving and receiving process. Once we find the right place to work, we will be able to provide the best we can and in return we will receive not just money, but satisfaction and more liking towards the field.
Feeling of giving without the thought of receiving
If anyone is looking forward to become an intern for a nonprofit organization they should always expect it to be non-paid. Nonprofit organizations provide services to the people who are in need and almost all the times those services are either free or have a reasonable fee. While working for a nonprofit organization, people can gain high recognition in their resumes. What matters in this case is the generous service and hours a person dedicates for an organization without expecting anything monetary in return.
The experience that people gain in different nonprofit organizations is very unique from one another. In my case, we sometimes have to drive early in the morning for presentations to various towns that we have never even been before. We give out surveys for the participants and check their feedbacks to see if they learn something new from the presentations. In some cases, we have to come up with new methods which work best for the participants. We always encourage active participation on these presentations. We play games with the participants and they love it. These methods help them remember most of the facts from our presentations.
During my internship, we not only go to different places to present but we also work at the organization. My partner and I always provide services to the agency in many ways. We help out with the blood donation program; we assist the staff with organizing the merchandise sale; and we also help in promoting the services we offer. These can be small projects but we try to help everyone at the organization so that they can sustain the organization’s core values and functions.
So what do I get from this internship? I get the experience of a life time where I can help people who are in need of help.
While graduation lingers less than two months away, my week divides itself into three important things: my internship, my work at school and my classes. During spring break I had a little more time for my internship. A major event during the spring break for me was AIDS Action Day. I and my partner drove down to Minneapolis to participate for this wonderful event.
During this event, I had the chance to listen to the real life stories of people who are HIV positive for the first time in my life. They were brave enough to come forward to share their life stories about how they got infected. It was nice to see every one of us with a common belief and a shared goal together to show our support to the people who are suffering from this disease. We also had to discuss with the senators and representatives regarding HIV education as a prevention method and asked them to support this cause.
In the year 2009 there was a 13% increase in HIV infection. However it is an irony that the funding for HIV education has been relatively cut down. One of the major goals of HIV prevention education is to take away the myths the community has towards this disease. Some still think there is a magic behind the case of Magic Johnson, but the truth is there is no cure for this virus; once a person gets it he/she will have it till the end.
One of the goals of my supervisor was to have an event for free HIV screening with the belief that HIV screening or testing is beneficial not only for our organization but also for individuals in order to be healthy.
I and my partner organized a free HIV testing event as part of our internship prior to which we had to look for several donors. The event was successful and I was happy that people took advantage of it in order to support us in preventing HIV/AIDS.
Another great opportunity that the internship provided me was the training and instructor certificate for first aid, CPR and AED. With that, now I can help the community by teaching safety procedures in emergency situations.
Furthermore, I and my partner, travel to various high schools and middle schools to present on HIV prevention. To make the presentations fun, we include games in between that deal with the facts of HIV infection. We have realized that these methods ensure an active participation from the students.
Prevention is the best cure and health education is in fact one of the effective methods of prevention. It is in fact a challenging matter for us in order to make the school students to take these presentations seriously. As a result of this, they will be able to avoid the risky behaviors of getting infected. It is also very rewarding when the students come up and thank us for clearing the myths and stereotypes about HIV/AIDS that they had before.
Even though there are many diseases in the world today, most of us are not aware of the risky behaviors of acquiring those diseases. Our job is to educate people before they put their lives at risk.
I’m a senior student majoring in Community Health and minor in Biology. My career goals are to work for a nonprofit organization which is also a humanitarian organization and help the community who are in need of aid. As an international student from a developing country (Sri Lanka) I have experienced the necessity of help and support and also I know how important it is to help the community. Therefore working for a nonprofit as a volunteer intern is perfect for my field of education as well as fulfilling my career goals. Therefore I decided to call the local chapter in St. Cloud to get information regarding any available internships. I was lucky to know that they were in need of volunteer interns for spring for the HIV and AIDS prevention program. I applied for the opening and went through an interview by my current supervisor.
The nonprofit organization is a humanitarian organization led by volunteers, who will provide relief to victims of disaster and help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. This is the mission of the nonprofit. I play the part in this great mission as a volunteer by helping people prevent HIV/ AIDS. Now I am a HIV and AIDS instructor. I travel to high schools, middle schools, treatment centers and other places where they need prevention information regarding HIV and AIDS.
The first step of this internship was the training to become an HIV instructor. Even though this was mainly focus on HIV and AIDS, we were to learn about other sexually transmitted infections as well. I was very lucky to have this training for no cost since I work for the nonprofit.
Internships are important for college students to gain experience, knowledge and to use these experiences to find our dream career. In order to find my dream career I learned one key thing through this internship, which is to respect and help human being without any discrimination based on nationality, race, sex religious beliefs, class or political opinion.