I have 5 Assessed Assignments to finish before the end of the month. Now this might sound like a long time to complete 5 measly assignments, but when one starts to write because one has to, it often results in a curious time-space paradox I like to call “The Vanishing Day”. You might have experienced this phenomenon. Even when one has nothing to do but eat, tend to hygiene and do said assignment, the day rushes by and nowhere near the projected amount of work gets done. Add in some chores, a little bit of travel, or heaven forbid – work (as in employed for monetary gain work) and it’s all over!
In spite of these obstacles, I’ve managed to finish 98% of one assignment and am on to the next. Here I’m having a little bit of a problem staying within the word count. OK, a lot of problem :). And the sentences, even though they’re there, are disjointed and inelegant. It’s not a mental block, but more of a construction block. My proposed solution is to take a break and attempt some writing for fun. It seems to be working so far, as I’ve barely had to reconstruct any of these sentences :)
So while I have your attention let me tell you about how I’ve been enjoying my courses so far (minus the assignments, of course). I always marvel at how everything is interrelated in the field of public health, and obviously I expect some overlap between the modules, but recently it seems as if all the stars are aligning with even blogs and social media contributing, unsolicited, to the material I was only just studying in a textbook. An example of this goes thus – having read about the vulnerable population of Men who have sex with Men (MSMs) in the HIV/AIDS module, I then read about the unique needs, especially in regards to mental health, of MSMs in the Sexual Health module, and then randomly read a blog where they talk about a prominent HIV/AIDS activist who recently died after battles with depression. In the comments of that blog I found a link to the movie, We Were Here, which brings everything full circle, by starkly expressing how some survivors of the early years of HIV can be said to be suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after seeing almost everyone around them die from this disease. I can imagine a similar situation is now happening in parts of Africa that have been particularly affected by the epidemic, and it’s just heart-breaking. So watching the movie was the teary culmination of a set of learning points, and all accomplished by serendipity!
I think I’ve tried to work out my writing kinks enough now, it might be time for some rest. Tomorrow will certainly be one of those vanishing days again, but I hope I’m a little more up for the task. I’ll let you know :)
Til next time!
Nastassia is studying the MSc Public Health offered by distance learning through the University of London International Programmes, with academic direction from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). She lives in Barbados.