M1 Year Reflections: Aissatou Kourouma

By Aissatou KOUROUMA

People are not black or white. People are gray. People are not good or bad. People are layered. A layer requires a blind man. The layers altogether require six blind men or more to depict them for the sake of the whole picture, possibly a whole person. People have different kinds of intelligence.

People are a product of the culture or cultures they are surrounded by. Culture seeps through everything, the type of food consumed, the way we eat, talk, dress, interact, organize things and our academic life.

I have realized how significant student life is and how we should not neglect it even just a few times. This neglect will resurface through other aspects such as academic life and performance. Student life is separate but really not from academic life.

Where I am today with my knowledge and abilities acquired through my master’s in public health year 1, appears to be light years from where I was on August 25th, day 1 of class. One simple lesson amongst others is that the human body is undoubtedly a well-oiled machine that needs care, maintenance, knowledge and nurturing for it to bloom as it should in the eyes of a public health professional and in the eyes of any citizen of the world. Wow! Has one year gone by already?! Time truly flies.

I have learned that death is painful and inevitable, but still it creates a niche for a new life to emerge. In the absence of material loss, personal loss, we would probably not cherish our things and loved ones the same way. Although death is a part of life it is not the end, one just needs to remember what his or her legacy on this earth will be and live by it.

Life is and forever will be an ongoing challenge filled with lots of joy and obstacles, which we must embrace, face and overcome each and every time no matter how big that hurdle ahead of us is. Probably the main enemy of life is self-esteem or insecurity.

My favorite memories in the MPH program follow. First, I enjoyed having engaging and approachable professors giving that whole feeling of community, while allowing you to pick their brains. Furthermore, my first week in Rennes constitutes my first experience in France in my adult life. This experience turned into a week-long dream. One that starts in the morning at breakfast time with my fellow M1s and M2 students, that continues in the classroom with the realm of knowledge being put at our disposition and that ends with our dear Martine Bellanger and all the new friends at a barbecue, a social mixer, a movie night, an info night or even a Crêperie depending on the evenings. That is when I knew we are in for a great year!!! Juliane Knop’s birthday party on April 17th confirmed how unforgettable this year has been for us and reminded us so the year will be, a treasured souvenir. Lastly my cousins in France, my Tahitian dance family, my French friends, my Crous hall-mates and friends showed me in all kinds of ways that I shall never feel a long way from home.

I am blessed to be in a classroom, in a program, in a city, surrounded by multi-culturalism and people from all corners of the world, from all backgrounds, with all kinds of ideas and perspectives, all in one place for me to live by and learn all I can from.

I will forever cherish the lessons I have had this past year, the way various people touched me and the way I touched their lives, the new friendships in the classroom, in the student residence Crous, in my Tahitian dance class, and in all of my Parisian social and educational times. (We did it guys!!!)

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