Final Year in MSc Public Health – Let the Countdown Begin

lshtm_logo_blackWell hello there! Glad to be welcomed into the blogging fold at the University of London International Programmes and anticipating interesting times ahead. Allow me to introduce myself: I’m Nastassia, an MSc Public Health student, writing from sunny Barbados (I swear I’m not trying to make anyone up north jealous – it’s just quite hot right now :).

I’m originally from Guyana, South America, which is where I went to medical school. I moved to Barbados about 7 years ago to complete internship, then before I could pry myself away from the island I met my future spouse and the rest is history. I’ve worked as a General Practitioner (GP) here as well Project Physician in a major local study, and it was the latter position that reminded me how much I loved research in med school and still do. To have any hope of furthering a career in research and academia however, I needed postgraduate training and after exploring a few options it became obvious that the UoL distance learning programme (with academic direction from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) was a perfect match. The syllabus was the main draw – the elective modules looked especially exciting – but the self-determined study schedule and attractive tuition definitely played a part.

I enrolled in 2009. Then I got married and got my driving license in 2010. Those events, coupled with full time work, were apparently enough to prevent me from writing exams that year. Hey, learning to drive can be very stressful, don’t judge me :). Getting into a groove for studying and finding the discipline to complete assignments, even when they weren’t contributing to my final grade was tremendously hard at first. I took two years to complete my core modules because I never take an exam unless I feel I’ve prepared to the best to my ability. It turned out that the very thing I thought was a positive – being able to pace my studies independently – was a big negative for someone like me. I have been known to procrastinate and studying long distance has taught me that I’m driven by deadlines. To compensate for this, I’ve had to give myself personal deadlines and this strategy seems to work.

At last, work and study have achieved dynamic equilibrium, so I made the decision to finish up everything this year. Plus, though I’ll probably never stop practicing clinical medicine to some degree, the call to working in Public Health is getting louder and more insistent.

This year I’m taking 5 modules – HIV/AIDS, Sexual Health, Communicable Disease Control, Globalization and Health and Health Care Evaluation. I’m also doing  a Project Report, which was a surprising decision I only made at the last minute (we have the option of doing 4 additional modules instead of a Project). I think what tipped me over to the Report option was the feeling that every MSc student should do a study of some kind, especially in a field like Public Health. I’m glad I chose it though because I’m absolutely thrilled about getting started on my study topic!

So that’s it for this introductory post. It’s February and exams are in June (the project Report goes until October however) – the final countdown indeed!

Write you soon!

barbguy 2

The view from Barbados and Guyana, for your enjoyment…

4 thoughts on “Final Year in MSc Public Health – Let the Countdown Begin

  1. Hello Nastassia!! I’m Frank Gittens from Trinidad & Tobago and my father and his side of the family is from Guyana. I complete my LLB degree with the University of London and now doing my Postgraduate in Staffordshire University based in the United Kingdom. My plans are to return to Trinidad to be an attorney. I am so happy to hear someone else from the Caribbean especially a country I can identify with perusing her dream as an external student just as I did and doing well. I wish you all the best Nastassia and yes I am jealous of your sunny days as England isn’t so blessed :(
    Yours Sincerely,
    Frank Freezing Gittens


  2. Hi! Thank you for your post. It’s funny how everyone is different. I finished the BA French with the UoL last year and have started on a MA by distance learning this year but with regular marked assignments to hand in. I had imagined that this would actually be easier than final exams, but on the contrary for someone who tends to be a perfectionist this has proved extremely difficult. When faced with a blank piece of paper in an exam, you have no choice but to get going and put what you know down on that piece of paper. When faced with a blank piece of paper in a home assignment, I’ve found I keep putting off the moment by reading more, taking notes etc. etc. etc. Has anyone got any tips?


  3. It was quite refreshing reading your post. I’m from Trinidad and Tobago (Tobago to be exact). It’s definitely hot here as well in the midst of the Carnival festival. I’m an LLB student due to complete the programme this year, by God’s grace. Keep posting from sunny Barbados, and I hope that all goes well with your studies. Be blessed Nastassia, as well as Frank and Tracy. P.S. Frank, don’t worry. Imagine you’re back home.

    P. Jack


  4. Thanks so much Frank and P Jack! It’s always nice to connect with fellow Caribbean people from around the world :) Indeed Frank – think warm thoughts :)
    Tracy – I still have the same problem with getting my Assessed Assignments done. I have until March to submit them, but all have to go in by then so obviously that means that they should be finished way before. Sorry I can’t help you more than to say keep plugging away at getting the groundwork laid, then time will act as a natural motivator as deadline gets closer…that’s what happened for me and the assignments last year!


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