Tag: Hannah Lougheed (page 1 of 3)

Reflecting on my Letter to my Future Self: Hannah Lougheed

Hannah Lougheed, MA SID/MS-GHPM’22

Wowwowwow. Can you believe it – I am done.  After two years full of classes, papers, exams, internships, blog posts, laughter, and tears, I have reached the finish line. As I look forward to my next steps career wise, I wanted to first look back and reflect on my “Letter to your Future Self” and see if I have made myself proud. Here is what I wrote a little  over a year ago:

Okay, now that we are here at graduation, here are some things I hope I can say as I finish this two year journey:

  • I made it through while making the best of my situation (Covid really changed everyone’s plans, but I hope I didn’t just “get through it” but that I made the most of it). I think I can say I accomplished this one. I will be honest, there were times where I felt as though I could not write another assignment, or read another article, but I never wished I was not at Heller nor did I feel that I needed to put my head down and just push through. I thoroughly enjoyed each class and tried to be as present in the moment as possible during this entire season. 
  • I created some long-lasting relationships with those at Heller who I can always lean on in the future, and who can lean on me. I genuinely love being with people while building friendships and connections. I feel that I have made some great friends and colleagues who I will stay in contact with for many years to come! This includes classmates, workmates, professors, staff, and roommates –  lots of incredible people to add to my people collection!
  • I took advantage of opportunities for various forms of growth while at Heller. Those who walked beside me throughout this Graduate School process can attest to the fact that I am always very involved. From taking on a leadership role as the Co-Chair within the Heller Student Association, to gaining invaluable connections as a Graduate Assistant with Admissions, and everything in between, I took advantage of a number of experiences during my time here which has added richly to my time and Heller, and has shaped me into the person I am today. 
  • I applied myself and did the best work I possibly could throughout my courses. This one is a mostly yes. I will amend it to say, “I did the best work I possibly could with the time and energy available“. In order to have done my absolute best work, I think I would have needed to be juggling fewer classes and activities. However, in juggling those various activities I increased my time management and prioritization skills. It became of matter of cost/benefit analysis for what I needed to gain from this experience. So I can still check this off the box, just with a bit of an amendment. 
  • I left an impact on Heller, and it left an impact on me. Heller has certainly left an impact on me, and I hope I have left one on Heller – but I cannot speak to that! Heller will forever hold a piece of my heart, as these two years have been incredibly formative in the creation of who I have become. 
  • This investment was totally worth it, and I would not have changed a thing… okay maybe the whole global pandemic thing! But besides that, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. The investment was totally worth it, and for the most part, I would not have changed a thing. Hindsight is always 20/20, so maybe there were some classes I would swap out,  events I would have attended, and overall ‘life things’ I would have altered. Of course I did not prefer to be online the entire first year, but that was out of the control of anyone as Covid prevented all universities from functioning as normal. So overall, this one was fulfilled as well. 

So, all-in-all I would say I made myself proud! These two years have been incredible in many ways. Now, I  can reflect and be proud of myself for making it through while balancing so much! Time for a much deserved nap.

It has been wonderful contributing to this blog, and for anyone who is reading this, or has read my posts in the past – thank you! It means a lot that others care about my thoughts, and this has been a great outlet to process my time in graduate school. If anyone ever cares to reach out, please email me at hannahlougheed@gmail.com – I am always happy to chat about my time at Heller.

Take a Break!

Hannah Lougheed, MA SID/MS-GHPM’22

It has come to that point in the semester when assignment levels increase simultaneously to energy levels decreasing. It can feel like a true sprint to the finish line (as my last blog post highlights). We are, however, at the precipice of a break in the form of a full week off of classes! So, how do Heller Graduate students spend their breaks?

I find that I recharge best when home (in Pennsylvania) with family. There is nothing I love more than walking into my parents’ house and smelling that familiar yet indescribable smell, being in a well-known space, spending time with my dogs, and loving on my nieces and nephews – not to mention the home-cooked meals. I also find such joy in revisiting my favorite hiking spots and local restaurants. That is where I will be spending my week off, and I have been working hard the past few weekends to get ahead on assignments so I can be very present while home and truly take a break from school.

But enough about me, here are some of the fun things my classmates are planning to get into:

Beatriz Pleites: “I am going back to El Salvador [my home]. The plan is to hang out with my friends and go the beach!”

Ryan Lansing: “I am working over break so that I can be free to surprise my mom with a visit for her birthday/mother’s day in early May – I am the gift!”

Others have mentioned travelling to Quebec, New York, Cancun, Washington D.C., and Baltimore. Waltham is situated in a location that allows for fun 2-3 day trips accessible by car, bus, train or quick plane trip. Some of my classmates have decided to use the break as an opportunity to get ahead on assignments. Others hope to explore more of their own backyard, enjoying hikes and all of the fun activities Boston offers. Yet others told me they do not know what their break will look like, but they look forward to some unstructured time.

How do you prefer to spend breaks? Regardless of if you recharge through adventure and exploration. family time and familiarity, or quiet rest and relaxation, I wish you the best on your next break. Here is to hoping  that this break reinvigorates us graduate students to put our best foot forward for our final push to the finish line!

The Sprint to the Finish Line

Hannah Lougheed, MA SID/MS-GHPM’22

I see the end. I am in the last half (or Module 2 as Heller lovingly refers to it), of my final year of grad school.  I have less than 6 weeks left, wrapping up a 2 year process in the pursuit of my MS in Global Health Policy and Management, and my MA in Sustainable International Development.

I had this rose-colored ideal of what my final month at graduate school would look like: dancing through a field of spring flowers while socializing with friends and having enough time each day for a midday nap. In this ideal, however, I was not accounting for the triad of a 20 hour a week internship, courses (and a capstone paper), and job applications. Oh, how the mind deceives.

So, in the midst of this chaos – with acute senioritis kicking in – it can feel like you are slowly being lowered into a bubbling vat of assignments with no way to slow the speed at which you descend… a bit dramatic?  Okay, maybe just a bit.

BUT, I am here to tell you – with time management and small goals, you can work to overcome this  impending sense of doom when you too are at this point in your graduate career. Today I present to you (to take or leave as you’d like), some ways in which you can work to proactively stay on top of assignments, especially when lengthy papers are all due the same week.

  1. Do a little each day – even weeks before it’s due. I have found that when I have time, I like to bite off small pieces of monster papers. So, when I wake up early I may work on a paper for just 30 minutes to write even a paragraph or two. For me, the hardest part of doing an assignment can actually be starting it, so this helps with that roadblock. It does not seem like much, but you will thank yourself later when almost half of the paper is written before the time crunch sets in. It also allows you to brainstorm when not working on the paper over a couple of weeks, instead of days.
  2. Set a time for your mind to rest. If you have read my other blogs, or know me at all, you will know I am a morning person, which means that bt the end of the day I am hardly capable of following a recipe. In undergrad, I used to think that I should not have the luxury of relaxing until I had everything done on my list. Now, however, I have learned that it is okay to set a “no-homework” threshold. For me, that is 7pm (keeping in mind I wake up around 5am, so adjust that time as you see fit in your schedule). When I hit that time, I allow myself to watch tv, go for a walk, call a friend, take a bath, whatever I need to do to relax. I do not think about the assignments due, nor do I allow myself to stress about them. This has really helped me in this season.
  3. Set manageable weekly goals. I have, in total, around 50 pages (at least) of writing I need to complete in the next 6 weeks for various classes and projects. If I opted to put them off until the last two weeks of school, I would not only be stressed out of my mind, but the work quality would surely suffer. So, I have listed out all – that’s right, every single assignment due from this point until the end of the semester and broken down how I can work on them each week. For some, I give loose guidelines like “general outlines” or “begin research and start listing sources” for this week. For others, I give hard guidelines like “at least 2 pages written each week”. This helps me because I am slowly working through a project, and doing various ones on rotation so it keeps my interest levels high; also, I am a list-maker so having the ability to cross things off each week really keeps my motivation level soaring. I make the tasks doable as well, so I don’t get discouraged.

As a graduate student, assignments are such an important part of the learning process, but sometimes – it feels like just too much. I hope my  little tips help – I have found them to help me. Keep reminding yourself why you began this process in the first place, you can do it! We can do it!

 

Q&A: What is a Proseminar?

Hannah Lougheed, MA SID/MS-GHPM’22

This weekend, I had the opportunity to take part in a Heller proseminar with a focus on finance and budgeting, and it was excellent. So I figured, if you decide to become a Heller Graduate student (or maybe you already are one), you may also have the opportunity to take part in proseminars and may have some questions about what they are and how they work. Let’s take a moment to discuss what exactly they are:

Q: What makes proseminars different from regular courses?

A: Proseminars are 9 hour “crash courses” (my words, not Heller’s) that typically meet Friday – Sunday that feature a wide variety of topics. 

Q: Are proseminars required?

A: No, they are totally optional! If it is a topic you are interested in, then you can opt in to the course – but they are never required. 

Q: Do proseminars count for credits?

A: Yes! Proseminars count for 1 academic credit. 

Q: Why would I want to take a proseminar?

A: As was mentioned above, proseminars can cover a variety of topics – such as finance and budgeting for nonprofits;  technology for development; diversity, equity and inclusion; and many other changing topics! You. may chose to take them out of interest, or because they count towards your overall credit requirements (or both)!

Q: How many proseminars are offered each semester?

A: It depends. I have found that there are usually 2-3 each semester, but I believe that can change . 

Q: Do I have to pay to attend a proseminar?

A: No, these are free for students to join at no additional cost. It is akin to attending a free weekend learning conference.

Q: Are proseminars graded or on a pass/fail basis?

A: They are graded and count towards you GPA the same as a regular module or semester long course. 

Q: How do I enroll in a proseminar?

A: You will get an email from your program advisor a month or so ahead of time with all needed information – including an online sign-up form. 

Still have questions about a proseminar? Feel free to reach out to your program advisor for the most accurate information on when they are, what topics they may feature, how to enroll, and any additional questions!

 

A Year of Virtual Learning, As Told By Hannah Lougheed’s Laptop

Hannah Lougheed, MA SID/MS-GHPM’22

First of all, why are your hands always so sweaty? Are you constantly in a warm place, or just in need of some better internal temperature regulation?  If only I could rearrange my internal fan to externally help dry those sweaty mitts, I certainly would.

I remember it as though it were yesterday: you excitedly slid me out of that cold case you keep me in, swung me open and aggressively navigated to your emails. Your face grew anxious and worried as your eyes scrolled back and forth reading the dreaded email: “Heller classes will be fully online for 2021”. You were clearly sad (I half expected you to open your “cafe ambiance” playlist and cry it out), but selfishly I knew what this meant – I FINALLY GOT TO BE THE STAR OF THE SHOW! No more using me just to hurriedly craft an essay at 5am or binge Netflix. No, no, no, I got to be center stage.

We started our days together, 6am sharp. You sat me on your lap while sipping coffee and watching the news. We scrolled through your emails, worked on assignments and even did some remote work together. Then, we would go to your room and get ready for class together. You’d charge me up, set me at just the right angle to get the best lighting of you, then you’d gaze lovingly (or maybe not so lovingly?) into my screen as you’d sit through hours upon hours of classes. But, our day did not end there! Usually we even spent the evenings together, working on group projects or involved in student organizations. I so loved being right there with you, 8-12 hours each day.

You and I – we were going to be stuck to each other for forever, true bliss!

But then I overheard you complain to your friends that I was causing you headaches, and that your eyes hurt after looking at me all day. Don’t think I didn’t notice. I did my best to alleviate the burden – dark mode, night color shift, whatever I could – but no, that just wasn’t good enough.

Fast forward to the next year, and in your second year of grad school, I over heard you telling a friend that you were so excited classes were back in person and you wouldn’t have to look at me as much; rude. I went with you as you moved to Waltham and did my best to keep up. You used me much less, and although I was sad to spend more time in your backpack than on your desk during class, you seemed quite happy.

Then, on a chilly October evening, I  had reached my end. I strategically waited until you were knee-deep in assignments and remote work to stop working in an act of rebellion. What can I say? You were draining my battery, I had to end this relationship and move on with my life just like you had by going back to in-person learning. So, I just up and quit and turned into a bit of a sour apple (see what I did there?).

Now you are typing this on my cousin. He cost you an absurd amount of money and stress, in a time when you relied on me and had no spare cash whatsoever. I guess that’s what you get. So, thanks for the good memories, and while I enjoyed our online learning endeavors together, I am glad the world is opening up again and you’re able to make friends outside of this screen. Tell the bluetooth mouse I said hello.

PS: you seriously need to work on your sweaty hands.

A Spoon Full of Sugar / Applied Regression Analysis

Hannah Lougheed, MA SID/MS-GHPM’22

Richard & Robert Sherman once penned these lyrics which would later be iconically sung by Mary Poppins:

“In every job that must be done
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job’s a game

And every task you undertake
Becomes a piece of cake
A lark! A spree! It’s very clear to see that

A Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The medicine go down-wown
The medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way”

Last summer, as I was scheduling classes for my MS-GHPM Fall degree courses, I dreaded the thought of having to take the required Applied Regression Analysis course. I so enjoy discussing theory, writing papers, and talking out big ideas; tell me to open a program and run some statistics and you will find me in a full-on cold sweat.

Fast forward to the first week of classes as I stumble into class already in a mindset of ‘just get through this’. I’m greeted by a jolly man (pun intended as he has a slight resemblance to Santa Claus) who shares that he will do his best to make this course more enjoyable. I am still a bit hesitant and am thinking, ‘sure, I’ve heard that before. Good luck holding my interest in statistics!’. This medicine did not seem like it would go down easily – think coughing, bad taste, acid reflux and all.

Right off the bat, he had a warm and non-threatening presence. He made jokes, told stories, and was clearly extremely well versed in statistics. Somehow, over the course of just a few weeks, I was feeling extremely confident in my regression analysis abilities. The pace of the class was manageable, the assignments were not overwhelming, and I grew to look forward to the course. I went from having almost no data analysis skills to confidentially crafting a final paper analyzing univariate, bivariate, and multivariate models, improving the models, and creating a logit model predicting probabilities using real data processed through Stata. I was so proud of myself when I submitted that final paper!

As I now reflect on that entire experience over the semester, that Mary Poppins song came to mind: Professor Steve Fournier was the spoon full of sugar that helped the medicine go down! I knew I needed to brush up on my data analysis skills, but I avoided it at all costs because I thought it would be too challenging. He not only made it understandable and clear, but made me genuinely enjoy the learning process.

So, if you are afraid of challenging yourself in a new skill, or even applying for a program like MS GHPM with a focus on data please know professors here at Brandeis want to see you succeed – not fail. I am a testament to that fact as I took Regression and not only survived, but thrived!

If you’re reading this: thank you, Professor Fournier! You were excellent!

Why Study Global Health Policy and Management?

Hannah Lougheed, MA SID/MS-GHPM’22

Ah, it feels like just yesterday. My second grade teacher (Ms. Higgins) tasked us with presenting a response to the classic: “what do you want to be when you grow up?” prompt.  With an ever-uncrushable confidence, I proudly walked up to the front of the classroom, took a deep breath and proclaimed, “when I grow up I want to be a doctor, a bus driver, or a researcher evaluating effective health financing models for overall health system strengthening!”. Okay… maybe I am not recalling the details exactly as they happened – my dad does often likes to remind me of my sanguine personality type when I struggle to recall everything.

So, if not birthed with a natural desire to pursue Global Health Policy and Management, how does one stumble upon this career path?

Here is my personal segue in:  As a native born Canadian and naturalized United States citizen, I have been engaging in health financing discussions since before I knew what health financing was. It seemed a natural conversational cadence to A. find out I am Canadian (through my accent – now largely hidden, or because of my English pronunciation of ‘zed’ as opposed to ‘zee’). B. ask about the various nuances of Canadian life (did you live in an igloo? Are there penguins on the street? Have you met Justin Bieber?) C. inevitably bring up Universal Health Coverage D. give me a very loose allegory about a friend of a friend who had a bad experience with Canadian health coverage. Challenged by not having an eloquent and factually verified rebuttal, I began researching health financing in Canada vs. the US in middle school. 

Fast forward many years and I found myself – thanks to nepotism and the need for financial stability – working within a rural Pennsylvanian 32 bed Emergency Department (ED). As a registrar, I began to see first-hand the complexities of health insurance and the amazing way in which a patient could go into financial ruin after a 3 hour stay in our ED without insurance. Who was at fault? Should they have invested in insurance or planned ahead? Is it okay for our system to charge thousands for a simple fracture and X-ray? I then began assisting with utilization in the coordination of direct admissions and transfers of patients and again was struck with the immense complexities embedded in our system. Additionally, I was inputting the ED Doctor’s charges and saw exactly how much they charged first hand.

Those were two of the more formative experiences that pushed me into health policy. I thoroughly enjoy hearing unique ‘origin’ stories from each individual within the Global Health Policy and Management Masters program. One thing is certain, folks do not often stumble into health policy but are typically driven into this realm out of an abundance of frustrating encounters with the health system(s) at large. So, if you ever wondered why someone would study health policy, or you are interested in studying health policy yourself, please reach out to me anytime! It is a wonderful, scary place full of folks like me who lean on hope, optimism and knowledge to not lose heart. Second grade Hannah would be so proud to see where she has ended up today!

Broccoli and Potatoes

Hannah Lougheed, MA SID/MS-GHPM’22

Yes, you read that right: broccoli and potatoes. We have all been there: dinnertime, standing in the kitchen looking for what you are going to eat to refuel yourself, exhausted, low energy, and just ready to call it a day and turn off your brain. You reach for the sad bag of ramen that has sat in the back of your cupboard for a questionable amount of time then reconsider… Well, my friends, let me fill you in on a secret – you too can enjoy the luxurious taste of broccoli and potatoes to break up your dinner time dilemma.

Here’s what you need:

1 head of broccoli

1 medium/large potato of your choosing (I prefer yellow potatoes)

Olive oil

Salt

Parmesan Cheese

Honey

Cut and coat the veggies in olive oil and salt then put in the air fryer (or oven, if no air fryer) for 10 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. After 10 minutes, move the veggies around then let sit in the fryer for another 6-8 minutes. When done, sprinkle with cheese and put some honey on top and voila! you’ve done it!

So, why am I telling you about this absurdly simple meal I make almost every night (not even kidding, ask my roommates – E V E R Y  N I G H T)? Well, in the midst of crazy grad school schedules, work schedules, and just general life craziness, having one less thing to think about each night has made my life much easier. Additionally, when you’re on a tight budget, this is a very wallet-friendly and healthy meal. Yes, it can be boring to eat the same dinner most nights, but for me, the trade-off is worth it.

I hope this grad school hack is helpful, or you may just think I’m a bit eccentric for eating the same meal each night. Regardless, the bottom line is, when life gets crazy busy during your time in grad school (which it inevitably will), having one thing that is constant and routine can be a nice way to reground yourself at the end of a long day. For me, that one thing is dinner as I keep it easy, quick, healthy and mindless. If you have a favorite dinner go-to please let me know, I – clearly – could always add a bit of variety to my dinner time routine.

*I have to throw an acknowledgement to my roommate Andy Mendez, as she inspired me to write this post!

The Heller Student Association

Hannah Lougheed, MA SID/MS-GHPM’22

When I decided that Heller was the right place for me, I also decided right then and there to make sure I took advantage of the opportunities to get involved on campus and with my peers.  For some, it looks like joining a hiking club, proactively sitting in a public space to engage in conversations with others, or to be intentional with being active in a WhatsApp group chat. Whatever involvement flavor you feel most comfortable with, there is an opportunity here at Heller for you to get involved.

I have always been drawn to governing boards – be it in student council in high-school, an honors club in undergrad, or – currently – as a co-chair for the Heller Student Association. It has always been important for me to feel that my voice was heard when I spoke up, and I have learned that governing bodies such as the HSA really do work well to amplify the voices of those they serve. Upon completing our first “Town Hall” it served as a good reflection point for me (hence me blogging about it today).

The mission and vision of the Heller Student Association (also referred to as ‘HSA’) is:

“to take a holistic approach on understanding and empowerment in all of our educations through a focus on cross-collaboration between students, working groups, professors and staff at Heller. The mission of the HSA is to participate meaningfully in decisions affecting student’s time at Heller. We will amplify the voices of the student body by bringing your input to the faculty, administration, career services, staff, steering committees and program directors whom we meet with regularly.”

So how is this relevant for you,  dear blog reader? Well, if you are currently a student at Heller, know you always have access to a group that will work to amplify your voice – so long as it aligns with the aforementioned mission and vision of the organization. And, if you are a student considering Heller, know that the voices of you and your peers are taken seriously when/if you join this family. The faculty and staff at Heller have a great working relationship with the Heller Student Association and value our presence. As a Co-Chair, me and my fearless Co (shoutout to Zari) have the opportunity to listen and offer input on the students’ behalf at meetings that do not typically hold a student presence. We are not there just to check the “is a student present?” box. No, we are instead actively engaged in conversations that effect students.

All of this to say, if you’re wondering what it looks like to be in concert with the faculty and administration as a student, the Heller Student Association is a great example of that. Also, Heller has a wide variety of student groups that go far beyond being an advocacy/governing body. So, if your comfort for involvement includes joining an organization, consider the Heller Student Association!

The Art of People Collecting

Hannah Lougheed, MA SID/MS-GHPM’22

Those who know me know: I am a busy person. I thrive when my agenda is packed full. When people ask me how/why I am so busy I love to refer back to Newton’s First Law of Motion,  AKA the Law of Inertia (with a few small edits): 

 “a Hannah at rest stays at rest and a Hannah in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force (ie. my laptop breaks and I have to buy a new one which happened last night, RIP my laptop).” 

People collecting – or ‘networking’, as some fancy folks may call it – has increasingly been my focus during my last year here at Heller. Yes, I am busy, but I am busy with purpose. What does that mean? It means I have been very calculated in choosing which jobs/roles to take on outside of my classes while wrapping up my final year. When I boiled down my goals and desires for this year it pointed me to three major aspirations:

  1. Collect people, both within Heller and within Boston as a larger community, who can help pour into me and build links to finding a career upon graduation
  2. Make enough money to survive (hey, Boston ain’t cheap)
  3. Do well in classes and get to know my classmates

So, I started with evaluating the types of jobs I would like to pursue this year and landed on these four (yes I did say four, but they are all only a few hours each week):

Graduate Assistant (job 1): Naturally, as a Graduate Assistant at Heller Admissions, I get to connect with many folks who come and go (both students, professors and staff). Plus, I enjoy this role and am learning and growing with each shift. I have also worked in this role since last January so it was easy for me to continue in this position, checks all three boxes! 

Babysitter (job 2): At this point, my mind started running… how can I find another job that allows for schedule flexibility but also pays decently and allows me to collect people? My research led me to: babysitting! Shout-out to Care.com. At first I thought, well, it’s pretty easy money. Then I realized, you never know what kind of connections individuals have, and by babysitting for various individuals across Boston I am building my people collection up outside of my direct network within Heller. Checks 2 out of 3 boxes!

Digital Assistant (job 3): An opportunity arose to be a “Digital Assistant” in a few of my classes. This role piqued my interest because it checked box 2 and 3, and arguably 1 as well. This has allowed me to build deeper relationships with some of my professors as I help them navigate Zoom during class. 

Health Systems Education (job 4): As things started ramping up, a job in health systems education I had applied for in the summer (and was told I did not get) arose yet again. Through connections made here at Heller, I have been able to secure another part-time job that is in the field of my interests. Working in health systems education is a great way for me to continue to learn and contribute to class (checks box 3), make some money (box 2), and build a strong network of connections across Boston (box 1). 

So, it may sound like I am overworked (or just crazy), but let me assure you – I am doing okay! People collecting can look different for each person. For some it is in attending various career networking events, for others it is through informational interviews, but for me I have made it a point to work with and for those who I want to maintain connections with. I do make it a point to slow down and enjoy rest and hobbies (as my Macaron post can attest to), but “a Hannah in motion stays in motion!” and intentional people collecting has been increasingly important as I plan to stumble onto my career path.

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