Finding Motivation in a Virtual World

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the past year has been extremely difficult. When I planned for graduate school, I did not plan for a pandemic. I had moved across the country from New York City to Tucson, Arizona to pursue a Master of Public Health as a Paul D. Coverdell fellow at the University of Arizona. I knew no one in the state of Arizona but was optimistic and excited for my studies. Once the pandemic hit, I, like most students around the world, started going to class remotely. It was a challenging adjustment but eventually I was pleasantly surprised with how much we could get done remotely. 

But after over a year of taking classes and working three jobs remotely, I was tired and experiencing zoom fatigue. I was excited to graduate but I was feeling burnt out from school, work and the political climate. A few weeks before the PLEN Women in Global Policy seminar, I was feeling unmotivated as I attempted to apply for jobs. A friend who had participated in a PLEN seminar in the past recommended I apply for the upcoming PLEN seminar. I am so thankful that she recommended the seminar because it was exactly what I needed. 

One of my favorite speakers from the seminar was Alyse Nelson from Vital Voices. She spoke from her own experience and laid out some questions we should be able to answer about ourselves. Once we can answer these questions, we are able to more confidently speak about ourselves, our goals and our work. I found writing out the answers to these questions to be a useful tool for framing what I want next in my career. I have listed some of the questions below.   

  • What is your personal mission statement?
  • What formative experiences have led you to this place in your life?
  • What is the driving force behind you?
  • What is your brand?
  • What are three words to describe yourself?
  • What do I want to bring into my life?

I found the one-on-one resume critique workshop to be extremely helpful. I was paired with Juliana Bitarabeho of United World Colleges. Juliana walked through my experience and goals with me so she could accurately critique my resume. Having the opportunity to speak with someone in the field about my resume was so useful because she is the type of person who I am trying to reach with my resume. We talked about how to show the impact that I have made through my work and how to be sure the impact is quantified on the resume. I am so thankful for Juliana and the time she devotes to the PLEN network.  

Overall, I found the seminar to be very engaging and worthwhile. It was inspiring to hear from the diverse range of speakers who work around the world in different capacities., it was incredible to hear from fellow students and recent graduates who were also attending. 

The seminar left me feeling revived and motivated to move forward with my career. 

Photo of Hannah Scott

Hannah Scott attended the 2021 Women in Global Policy seminar. A Paul D. Coverdell Fellow, she just received her Master in Public Health with a focus on Policy and Management from the University of Arizona.

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