I was reluctant to join Project Health.

I was reluctant to join Project Health. I was not the most outgoing person. I applied because a friend of mine suggested that I become a part of the premier peer health education group on campus. It was a daunting prospect. I was very much outside my comfort zone. I was surrounded by some of the most ambitious and outgoing people I had ever met. To make things even more interesting, I was a member of the newly founded Advocates branch. Our mission was to engage our fellow students in informal interactions as they walked to class, ate lunch, or chilled out on the quad. This was, again, wayyyy outside my comfort zone. I was resolved, though. I was going to come out of my shell and be a part of something bigger on campus.

Looking back, I am so glad I challenged myself. When I was filling out med school applications, Project Health was one of the easiest things for me to write about. As stressful as filling out secondaries was, I am grateful for the time it gave me to reflect on how much I had grown. As I was preparing for interviews I thought about how much I had learned about conflict management, working under deadlines, managing my peers, and approaching people about awkward topics. When I got to my interview at UAB, the very first thing my interviewer asked me about was my experience as an Advocate. She had heard of Project Health, but she was not familiar with the Advocates. She was intrigued by the informal interactions model and was eager to hear more about it. I was delighted to tell her all about the struggles that came with being a new branch and the relationships that I have developed in my four semesters as an Advocate.

I could go on and on about how much Project Health has helped me develop as a person, but I think the most meaningful way for you to understand is to actually join the organization. If you are looking for a way to set yourself apart, grow in ways that most people have to wait till they have been in the workforce to grow, and make some of the most meaningful relationships you will ever make, you should join Project Health. If you are passionate about the health of your peers and want to see the UA family be a better, healthier place, you should join Project Health. I must warn you though, you get out of it what you put in it. With that being said, take the dive, like me, and apply. You won’t regret it.

Trey Richardson
Health Advocate Topic Coordinator