There's a cold snap tonight, and South Carolina feels like Maryland's not too far away. That distance is weighing on me at the moment, and there's a tiny Anglican church meeting in a former one-room school house that's calling me home.
I've finished a week of classes at a state university that is roughly 38 times the size of the small, Christian liberal arts college where I did my undergrad degree. I've suddenly hopped disciplines as well- no longer a biology student/research lab technician, I'm a student of public health (Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, specifically). In some ways it's been a difficult transition- training myself to plan an extra hour into my day in order to find a parking spot and make it to class, adjusting to the "warm fuzzy" approach of social science professors. At times, it's been delightful, that deep breath as one meanders across a campus 200 years old in places, with much respect for trees. After Concepts and Methods of Health Promotion last night I announced to a friend: "My professor is a foul mouthed bleeding heart liberal from New York, and that makes me happy!!"
It is a happy thing to be in a place where the attitude is "here's a problem, let's figure out how to fix it" rather than "here's a problem. Let's analyze the worldview causing the problem, try to figure out how to phrase our sentences so that we can communicate with the individuals that have this faulty worldview, and then try to convince them of Christ's love for them, so that they will have the change of heart necessary to embark on beginning to change this problem." Perhaps that is a harsh and unfair statement. It is fair to say that I feel like I was given very few tools to address questions of science, of medicine, of health and behavior, spread of diseases and the physical wellbeing of individuals or communities.
The contrasts are stark, and people can't seem to stop commenting on what a strange path I've taken. Yet it fits. And once I figure out how on earth I'm going to finance this MPH, while not getting evicted and continuing to eat, I'll be an incredibly happy woman.