Thoughts on year two: what’s next?

With less than four weeks ‘til graduation, second year MCH students like yours truly are busy playing the waiting game—waiting to hear about fellowships abroad, jobs the next county over, or doctoral programs right here on campus. It’s a difficult time, especially for those of us who aren’t quite sure what’s next (disclaimer: as I write this I’m waiting at the airport, preparing to fly out for an interview I could not have even considered two years ago. Honestly, I never thought that sitting around could make me so anxious).

This kind of waiting, whether it happens at an airport or a bus stop or a post office—if you aren’t careful, it’ll put you in a contemplative mood. And that’s where I’m at: trying to figure out what’s next, busy doing my own kind of reflective practice, but with a community of virtual readers.

Over the past two years, I’ve had the pleasure to learn from all kinds of people—both within the classroom and elsewhere. Last May, when I drove into Minneapolis for a talk with our Program Director, I was overwhelmed with the potential of it all—what classes would I take? Where would I live? Would I have any friends? Three months later I returned and began to find some answers. Most were comforting (yes, I found friends), some less so (my first apartment in town had at least 9 public health and safety violations). I’d be lying if I said I figured everything out: there’s still a lot to learn.

The good news is that I’ve gotten more comfortable with this feeling: the never-quite-knowing-ness. In fact, it’s starting to feel like reality. If you work at an agency that is supported by federal funding—particularly Title X funding—I guess you know what I’m talking about. The truth is, you never quite know where you’ll land next. It’s okay not to know.  Even better if you have a window seat.

(Statisticians, by the way, have a hefty term for random-ness. They call it “stochasticity.” Try saying it out loud, and then go listen to this wonderful Radiolab podcast on the subject: