During my senior year of undergrad, I sought out my first internship. I got accepted to an internship interview at one of City Hall Health Department in Connecticut. During the interview, they didn’t tell me what I would be helping with but that a lot of programs and initiatives that were being pushed out would need assistance. My interview when by smoothly and I was offered a position and they let me know that it was not paid and the chance of me getting a job after were slim. I did not like how they mentioned how I would most likely not get any job offer but I let them know any experience I can gain will help me out with my career goals. Either way, I was amazed at the fact that I would be interning in the corporate governance world.
When I talked to my supervisor about my interests it was like she didn’t understand what I was interested in like women’s health and global health issues. She placed me with the opioid epidemic initiative that had started to create and provide preventative programs to the community. At the time I wasn’t aware of the opioid epidemic and felt like I had to research and learn a lot about it on my own. That made my internship be draining at times when I had to go into the office. The more that I spent time on the project I learned how big a problem opioids are causing our country and up to 90 people die each day from opioid-related causes. I got more involved with the work my office was doing and got trained on how to use a naloxone kit which is used to help reverse a person during an opioid overdose. I also assisted with tabling and attending health fairs throughout the city. With the internship, I developed better skills with networking and also public speaking. I also learned a ton on opioids and I became able to educate others on ways to suggest their doctor give them alternative ways of medication such as physical therapy and different techniques other than being put straight on opioid medications which can lead to becoming highly addictive over time.
Once my internship came to an end as I was about to graduate I learned I can use the knowledge I gained to help me find a similar position. My job search was rough at first, but my current job reached out and was impressed by how I had already helped with implementing an opioid education program. The job was exactly everything I was doing at my internship and it was like a match made in heaven. This is a testament that shows you should always cherish every opportunity that is thrown your way because it may open doors for you in the future!
Crystal Ukaegbu, BS is a graduate of the University of Bridgeport with a degree in Health Sciences. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Public Health in Health Policy & Management/Biostatistics at SUNY Downstate and also works as a Health Educator in NYC.