An Open Letter to HPEX (P.S. I Love You)

Dear HPEX, 

When I started my freshman year, I was dead set on getting into nursing school and becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner. I was one of those people who always was like, “I am definitely not going to change my major,” oh how wrong I was. I just realized that while I was still passionate about health science, I did not want to get into pediatrics anymore because I did not and do not want to work with kids every single day of my life. When I started looking into the HPEX major more with a concentration in health science, I found this program to be more and more appealing. Not only did a lot of my pre-nursing classes also satisfy HPEX requirements, but it also let me explore more options in healthcare than just setting my sights on one thing and never knowing and exploring anything else. 

HPEX, you’ve offered me an escape from the stress that came with having to get into a pre-health program, you’ve taught me that I can actually like my classes and you’ve taught me that I can do well in my classes. Don’t get me wrong; even when I was a pre-nursing major, I would strive to be and do my absolute best. Still, it just never seemed to work out; my classes put me through the wringer, I hated all of my professors and I just had this general feeling of “I’m never going to amount to anything.” I no longer think that I am going to be a failure, I still definitely have my days when I feel like I’m letting everyone around me down, but they have gone down from every single day to maybe once a week. 

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I still have one goal that I am working towards, which is to get my masters of public health, but changing to a broader major that encompasses almost all of healthcare has led me to have a wider variety of classes instead of the cookie-cutter biology classes. I am in a class that talks about personal health and behavior change, which is nice because I am learning things like how to manage stress as well as common health diseases and how to treat them. I am in an introduction to epidemiology class, which is very interesting to learn about the origins of certain diseases and what has been done and what is currently being done to treat them. I really do feel like these classes are more focused on a public health spectrum and preparing us to educate communities on how to take care of their health properly. 

As I start on this new journey, I just want to say thank you for helping me realize that it’s okay not to know exactly what I want to do in healthcare right now but that it is important for me to explore careers that cater to my interests. Thank you for teaching me that I will reach my goals and that I need to stop constantly stressing out about every little assignment that I have to do. I am excited to dive in and get started with all of these amazing health science classes! 



Tara Swamy