I returned from South America in late August, unemployed and not at all sure where I’d end up or how long it would take. I could not have imagined that in only three weeks, I’d have landed my dream job. I finally get to combine my personal interest in health with my training in health communication and my love of education as a bonafide health and wellness educator at a college in Boston, MA.
In my new role, I teach classes and workshops, coach students in individual sessions, design and run education campaigns and behavior change interventions, plan events and programming, collect and analyze student data, and advise a student group of peer health educators. My new world revolves around alcohol and drugs, sexual health, stress management, sleep, nutrition, fitness, eating disorders, mental health, and wellness.
I absolutely love, love, love my new job. And what’s more, it’s prompting me to think about a lot of new things and considerations. For example.
My role as role model
- So, like, can I never mention drinking in a tweet ever again?
- Must I now avoid bars where there might be undergrads?
- If I choose to get drunk, does that make me a hypocrite?
- Will people be watching my personal health/eating habits more closely?
- Does it reflect poorly on my authority/credibility as a health educator/expert if I am overweight?
Serving a population that is 85% male and 15% female
- How do I make sure to dedicate enough resources to women’s health topics when women are such a minority?
- Opportunities for sexual assault prevention aimed at a male audience (bystander education)
- Making sure that sex ed/sexual assault/body image/eating disorder programming reflects feminist perspective
- What men’s health issues do I need to learn more about?
Education vs. social marketing
- Social marketing has traditionally not been used at this college; in what cases is it worth pushing for change?
- How much time/effort/money do I dedicate to educational initiatives when I believe behavior change interventions would be more effective?
- How much time/effort/money do I dedicate to the complicated process of designing behavior change interventions?
- When is it worth designing original materials vs. using materials already available?
Health vs. Wellness
- What’s the difference?
Pretty great stuff, right?
I look forward to exploring the intricate details and delicate dilemmas involved in college health education with you at Talkin’ Reckless. In addition to my usual gender- and health-related ranting.