How my Spring 2024 semester went

Abigail Oyinkan Olajire
4 min read4 days ago

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Faith was my anchor

As I reflect on my experiences during the Spring 2024 semester, many thoughts flooded my mind. However, one thing remains: I am grateful for divine strength.

Research has identified religion and faith as effective coping mechanisms for adherents. It was indeed an anchor for me.

This semester, I cried and laughed; I felt broken and faced rejection. Sometimes I was confused; sometimes I sought help, other times I didn’t — perhaps because I didn’t know how to or didn’t want to. But through it all, it was a defining semester.

The semester was defining in the sense that the challenges I faced pushed me to reflect deeply on fundamental questions every individual would answer as we all discover purpose.

Ideally, I should write about my semester experience immediately after my last class in May, but since I took my last class as a graduate student in June, I decided to wait till I was done

My classes

I took three interesting (one method and two content) classes during the semester. The methods class was particularly a challenging one. I worked with a colleague on a methodology I have only read about but never used. It was ethnography.

Every week, I had to systematically observe a group of people, create field notes from my observation, analyze these notes, and derive a meaningful research study from them.

I recall leaving some of my other classes early to arrive at my research site on time, ensuring I did not miss any potentially significant moments for analysis. During this period, I often questioned whether anything valuable would emerge from my observations. However, I am deeply grateful to my professor for her unwavering guidance throughout the project.

She understood our anxieties whenever we came to class with our “idealess” field notes and gracefully eased us through the process. I recall appreciating her for accommodating and helping us normalize our struggles as new qualitative researchers in our field!

The other class required that we create a theory or revamp an existing one. I did the latter and it was another productive challenge. I recall frequent visits to the instructor’s office, where I shared my thoughts and sought guidance.

I eventually decided to revise the social influence theory with a more critically conscious approach, influenced in part by my interest in critical studies. I aim to advance the project for conference presentation and potential publication. But I am taking a break from that to focus on other priority projects.

Research

Speaking about publications, I recall sharing in previous pieces about some of my research endeavors with my research mentors. Two of these research projects have been published. I am excited to share them here and here. Publishing these projects was part of my moments of gratitude this semester.

I look forward to sharing the other projects I worked on this past semester as they are published. Additionally, I aim to provide an abridged version suitable for a general readership.

Also, throughout the school year, I collaborated with an interdisciplinary research team to design and examine health messages in the context of alcohol and breast cancer. The initial plan was to work for the Fall 2023 semester, but my interest in health campaign design as a strategy for behavioral change has motivated my continued involvement to date.

And this semester, I read four books relating to my interests! Captivating and transforming reads!

Books I read in Spring 2024

These are my takes for the summer! Two already done! A professor gave me two of them, a colleague gave me another two and I bought one!

Summer picks!

Spiritual growth

As mentioned earlier, my faith has been a source of strength for me. I continue to adjust my routine to accommodate my schedule, setting aside moments to read and meditate on scriptures. Weekends, in particular, are dedicated to nurturing this aspect of my life. And it's been the best decision.

As I conclude, I began the Spring Semester and year filled with hopes and expectations. Despite encountering storms that brought doubts, tears, and ample reflection, I have chosen to confront them head-on relying on divine strength. I hope you do too!

After all, challenges are what make life interesting. Isn’t it?

I write this piece when the summer is halfway gone, so I hope you are having a lovely summer.

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Abigail Oyinkan Olajire

I am a health communication researcher interested in creating and implementing cultural competent solutions to health problems for underserved communities.