Last year, in 2017, I finished my Bachelor of Communication and Media degree after 3.5 years. So there has been a few questions as to why then I decided to enrol into a Masters of Public Health. Having a degree in Communications and Media, majoring in Global Media is not just a shiny accolade that also gave me a HECs debt that gives me indigestion thinking about it. It gave me the skills that I can apply to my post-grad choice and allowed me to educate myself on parts of modern society and how to research those in ethical and practical ways. I won’t ever regret the choices of education I have and I can only take that what I have learnt and apply it in the best way possible.
I have this maternal side to me that comes out every so often. I’m “Mummy Maddy” when I remind my friends to wear sunscreen, to stop being silly with the sharp objects or to be careful in life in general. If I could stop my loved ones from being sad, hurt, sick – I would in an absolute second.
I’m not cut out for nursing, psychologist or being a doctor. I cry at ads on the tv, I get emotionally attached to dogs I see on the side of the road as I drive past them, and I spend the entire hour of 24 Hours in A&E sobbing. I can deal with blood and guts and gore to an extent, but I still feel queasy at some things like needles and vomit. Practically, I don’t think I would be any help in those situations. My calling isn’t the hands on gritty stuff that I admire others for doing, my own calling is the narratives lying within illness and health.
I genuinely care about people. I have a family history scattered with mental illness issues, cancer, aged grandparents that will need care and support, and family friends who have seen the same issues seep through their own family. Essentially my decision to enrol into a Masters of Public Health after I finished my Bachelor of Communications and Media was made from this innate need to do more with my life to help others. To be able to prevent some of the shit that goes along with being human in a modern society (obesity, cancer, depression, domestic violence) and nip it in the proverbial bud.
One thing I’ve learned growing up on the NSW South Coast with my own issues, and a mentally ill mother and sister is that the preventative measures, support systems and treatment options here are literally the worst. Anecdotal evidence and lived experience screams of how lacking the mental health systems are failing families, domestic violence is higher than reported, drug use infiltrating schools and children bullied to death.
The South Coast is screaming for change and for those in charge of making decisions, to make the right decisions.
Is it really foolish to think I could make a difference? I will finish my Masters at the end of 2019, if everything goes to plan. From there, the idea is that I will have an arsenal of knowledge, policy ideas, possible programs and a definite goal in mind. I don’t know exactly what my course will entail, but I hope to finish it with the ability to focus on the implementation of policy, and evaluation of mental health, youth and aged care services in the Illawarra and surrounding areas as these issues are close to my heart.
I can’t heal your broken bones, I can’t take away the cancer from your lungs, I can’t help your brain from fighting itself. I won’t be that kind of health worker.
But I might be able prevent it happening again, and if I can help and make a change to those who need it the most then my work and career will have a value.