Thoughts and Reflections of an Intern: Why Public Health is Important


Go Folic! Intern, Sharonya Shrivastava

The end is near.

It is the end of another semester of the college experience, another school year, my time as a lowerclassman and my time as a younger Berkeley student.

As finals fast approach, I look inward and think to myself, what have I learned over the course of the past semester? Has the knowledge I have accumulated been put to use and then simply discarded, or have I retained enough to pull through these last couple of weeks with accomplishment? These reflections are crucial, not just to the successful completion of my semester, but for life in general.

Mark Twain once said, “I’ve never let my school interfere with my education.” Though I don’t completely agree with the sentiment, I do think sometimes learning in school must be separated from knowledge through experiences, surroundings and life in general.

So what have I learned during these past 12 or so weeks that has strengthened my teenage wisdom? Well, enough to know that change affects in the deepest of ways, but is an important experience. With new experiences come new realizations, and I had quite a few epiphanies of this kindthis semester. Many ideas were affirmed me, and at the same time, I was made aware of things I didn’t realize I didn’t know.

  • The fact that life is all about balance. Affirmed.
  • Time management is key for task completion. Affirmed.
  • But first impressions can change in the most dramatic of ways? Unbelievable, even to this day. I was made aware of limits I didn’t realize existed, and capabilities I never knew I could reach.

If I could talk about any particular aspect of my education at length, it would have to be the public health information I have learned this semester. In almost a four month time period, I feel as if my public health knowledge has vastly expanded, and I have gained more of an understanding of public health as an idea, a mission, and a goal, rather than as just another occupation on the job market.

I learned absolutely everything revolves around information, a point that attending school for the past 16 years still had not driven home. This is why change is so crucial, because it spurs new ideas, fresh perspectives and a whole new outlook on life and its possibilities. I feel I gained this, and more, during my time spent as an intern for the Go Folic! Nutrition Project.

One of the most important aspects that came to my attention was that the resources for the health and well being of people are out there. There are so many organizations and groups established, dedicated to helping people and doing good deeds in the community, and all it takes is for people to know of their existence. Though some may be small, they are strong, in their causes and the aid they provide. 

I have no doubt in my mind that people can gain the greatest help or insight from a simple nutrition project, or a school health center, because each individual organization is so important and powerful in the grand scheme of health and human life. I know I often take for granted and accept the status of my life, but I, and hopefully people in general, will keep reminding themselves that help and support is always there whenever its needed, whether it is in the form of family, friends or organizations such as these.

This is why public health is so important. It is a field that teaches compassion, critical thinking, awareness and acceptance. It advocates simple but powerful ideas, such as solving a problem by going back to the source, gathering information and research to gain ideas and teaching awareness to promote understanding.

Public health is so important to me, now more than ever, because it has affirmed and supported my desire to pursue medicine, something that I have been questioning and grappling with my reasons for some time. But on top of that, I have come to the conclusion that public health is the perfect complement (and basis) to the medical career, and at this moment in time, I would like to pursue both in the future because of my experiences up until today. Medicine provides knowledge about the underlying issues of public health problems, while public health seeks to provide a broader outlook on health beyond the individual, specialized interactions, and together, with all the awareness and information each field provides, the possibilities for change can only be beneficial.

I am so thankful for the people I have met, the experiences I have had, and the ideas I have learned. I will continue to be inspired and motivated by the great work being accomplished in the health field, medicine and public health alike. I hope that one day, I too can have such an impact on the people and world around me as all this has had on myself as an individual.

School, health, education, awareness, realization and change. A new beginning is just around the corner.

This blog post was written by Sharonya Shrivastava.

Thank you so much for reading my blogs this semester! I wish the best of luck to the Go Folic! Nutrition Project and to all future interns who will get the chance to work and blog for this wonderful organization!

One thought on “Thoughts and Reflections of an Intern: Why Public Health is Important

  1. Sharonya, thank you for such a great post, and for all of the thought you have given to your posts over the past month. We are thankful for all of your work, and wish you all the best in your career! Please stay in touch! We know that this will not be the last that we hear from you.

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