Scholar Voices: Mubeenah on Experience

Hello, my name is Mubeenah and I am a Meritus scholar. I am currently a fifth-year student at San Francisco State University majoring in public health. I will be writing blog posts for Meritus every month to provide my experiences with college and how I have grown as a person. Hopefully this blog will serve as a tool for people to understand the challenges and success of higher education.

Experience is a word we hear our entire lives but don’t realize its importance until we face the “real world.” Many college students don’t exactly know what career they want to pursue. I was one of them.

“What is it you want to do?” Peers, professors, and relatives would ask me.

“I don’t know.” I would say.

In the spring semester of 2014, I discovered that Meritus had partnered with various companies and was offering summer internships. I noticed that there were various internships available in hospitals, local government, technology companies, biotechnology firms, and nonprofits.

Public health has many components such as research, health education, and policy. I found that I could learn not only about local government but also about local policies if I interned at the San Francisco City Hall. I talked to staff at Meritus about applying and they guided me through the entire the process. From working on my resume to preparing for the interview, Meritus was there for me.

I was super excited for my first internship as a college student. I can now say that doing that internship was a great decision. Not only did I get to learn about city politics, but I also got to learn about different issues in San Francisco such as access to public restrooms for the homeless. Internships are a great opportunity to learn about a field and discover whether it holds a potential career or not.

I had various responsibilities as an intern for Supervisor Jane Kim. For example, I helped with letters of support and letters of endorsement, and I responded to constituent phone calls and letters. I researched barriers to getting residents of Single Room Occupancies (SRO) help in buildings with broken elevators. This helped refine my research and professional writing skills. Due to the internship, I learned a lot about city politics, for example, I learned about how bills get passed in the city of San Francisco. There were many things that I learned that I couldn’t from classes. Affordable housing is a public health concern and during my time at City Hall, I got to attend a press conference about affordable housing and witness Supervisors’ comments.

Experience is very important not only to find your true calling but to also learn certain skills. I discovered that I am interested in health education, education, and nonprofit work. My advice is to explore many different fields through internships because every internship will teach you something new about yourself. I believe that, in order to succeed, a person should love what they do, and it’s completely fine if it takes time to figure out what that is.

Want to know how Mubeenah decided to major in public health? Read her February column to find out!