Reflections of a Student on the College Mentoring Program

by Aisha M., Current AALEAD Student at Montgomery College
Photo Courtesy of AALEAD Staff

I was  recently matched with a coach three months ago, and I am very excited to get to know her on a personal level and to learn her educational experiences, current job, and life stories. My coach’s name is Donna, and she received her Master of Public Health at George Washington University. She now works at A Wider Circle, an non-profit organization that helps families get out of poverty by providing wraparound services such housing stability and empowerment programs related to health and wellness, employment security, and financial literacy.

Upon meeting my coach, I discovered that we are both driven about the causes that are near and dear to our hearts. She is very passionate about helping others meet their health needs, and I am passionate about gaining more career insights in the public health sector. Also, we both enjoy working in teams with people and believe in having positivity in our interactions with others.

With the support of my mentor, I hope to learn about more about myself and to know whether going down this career path is the right decision. As a student pursuing a degree in Public Health, I am always fascinated by the new things I learn such as policies and health education programs. So far, I appreciate many things in my coursework. I like the idea of working with communities, building relationships with others, and studying what health issues in certain communities need to be assessed. But I know I still have a long way to go.

While I enjoy my classes and my professors, I have not worked or interned at a public health organization. There are so many public health issues from nutrition labels in school cafeterias, affordable healthcare, to the mental health of the homeless that I don’t know what exactly I can do with my degree. Also, I am not sure if I will actually enjoy the work since I have not experienced practical or hands-on work in public health.

I am excited for the opportunity to be a part of the college mentoring program. It helps me focus on my studies with achievable steps and to have the encouragement and support of someone doing what I aspire to do. My coach has been working in the field for a number of years, so I hope to learn a whole lot from her own experiences. In the spring semester, Donna and I are planning on doing a “job shadow” where I get to shadow her and observe what she does at work. I also look forward to having more conversations about her work, what she enjoys, what she doesn’t enjoy, and most importantly, to discover if public health is indeed the path for me.


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