This is how my first summer went!

Abigail Oyinkan Olajire
4 min readAug 13


What about yours?

Ryan Jacobson from Unsplash

Summer break is over! I promised to share my first summer experiences and that’s why I am here!

I am penning down my experiences because I hope that as I do that I can make sense of them and most importantly help others (especially new graduate students) as they transition fully into the US academia.

As I was rounding up the spring semester, I started jotting down the list of things that I must get done in the summer. I knew it was going to be a packed one for me primarily because I had to take two courses within two months as I would discuss later.

So here’s how it went.

First, I am currently within a space where my research trajectory is evolving predominantly due to the classes I have taken so far and the readings I have done.

Particularly, this summer I decided to independently delve into reading literature in my areas of interest- health, culture, and Nigerian immigrants in the United States. I completed three books, and a plethora of journal articles which I found very insightful as I work on carving out a research outlook for myself.

My summer reading list

As I noted earlier, I took two incredible courses- one method and content- from two outstanding faculty in Mizzou. These courses were fast-paced as I took each of them within a month.

Sincerely, I was stretched because I made up my mind before I started my program to make every effort to read through all assigned readings for my scholarly benefit and to be able to contribute meaningfully in class.

As a popular proverb in Nigeria says- what does not kill you makes you stronger. These two classes definitely made me stronger- especially intellectually and physically. Physically in the sense that I now know that I can walk down to teach and take classes 5 days a week! I was unaware of the strength until June and July 2023!

Concurrently, I also taught an in-person class. Initially, I opted to teach online to have an experience of online teaching and to also accommodate my already busy schedule.

But I was informed that I had to teach the only in-person class for the summer. I first struggled with this, but I am glad it happened. This was one of the most interesting classes I was ever a part of. Truthfully, I always looked forward to this class daily and I was simply impressed with all the efforts these students brought to all their tasks. We established a very close relationship that even led to a pizza eat-out on the last day of class!

I also worked and still working on interesting projects with my colleagues and my department’s esteemed faculty. Some of these works have either been submitted to a journal, data analysis, data gathering, or conceptualization stages.

I am particularly excited about all these projects because they all revolve around my area of concentration- health. With this, I am already delving into the literature that would add up to my dissertation phase. I hope to share a summary note of these publications as soon as they are made public.

This is even the whole point of desiring to publish them- contribute to knowledge and solve health problems. Right?

I also continued my research assistantship role with the Institute of Public Policy. This time, I worked with the evaluation team of the Missouri Teen Prevention Program. I was honored to contribute my skill and knowledge to the program and I am excited about working with the incredible team in the future!

Further, conferencing is a commendable culture in the academy in the US and I am immersing myself in this culture. I am currently preparing for my first National Communication Association conference set in November in Maryland.

I cannot contain my excitement as I hope to meet with thousands of reputable communication scholars (students and faculty) from across the country in one place! I would definitely share my experience and thoughts after the program

On a lighter note, I also took driving lessons through Mizzou 2’s summer free driving lessons for Mizzou students. Mizzou 2, a student organization I am a part of, is a body that caters to the needs of spouses of international students and scholars in the university. Few weeks ago, I took the first test but was not successful. So wisdom says that I need to practice more, and I hope to take the final test again soon!

And at the end of July just after my classes, I visited Canada for a week to spend time with family and friends. I have really never been intentional about vacations until I moved here. It was a great experience spending quality time with some of the most important people in my life without getting involved in my regular activities. I felt refreshed when I returned a week after and I hope would be a habit henceforth!

Abigail between one of the monuments of the sport in Toronto

And I would also not forget to add that I played soccer in the summer. Thanks to the group of energetic ladies that encouraged me to leave my comfort zone to stretch my muscles.

Finally and enthusiastically, I welcome myself to my second year!

I am excited and most importantly grateful to my Lord for how far he has brought me!



Abigail Oyinkan Olajire

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