I absolutely love helping people and knew I wanted a career where I could do this every day.
After graduating from Stonehill in 2012 as an Interdisciplinary Health Sciences major, I went on to Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) where I enrolled in a dual degree program (optometry and public health). However, I soon discovered that optometry was not, in fact, the best career choice for me. Rather than get discouraged, I quickly switched gears and enrolled in the MCPHS Master of Public Health program, dedicating myself wholeheartedly to pursuing this path instead.
Seeking to unite my two passions – public health and education – I tailored my coursework at MCPHS to focus on health promotion and wellness principles; specifically, I studied how to effectively plan, develop, and implement health education programs/sessions and to subsequently assess the effectiveness of such programs, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
Since engaging and effective communication is absolutely essential in the delivery of health education content, as well as for the successful implementation of educational outreach in the public health sector, I also wove courses, seminars, and workshops into my graduate coursework that honed my competencies in audiovisual presentations and public speaking, development of promotional materials, and culturally competent multimedia communication.
Once I graduated, I was at a loss of what to do with my MPH, as well as my life. I began stress eating, and stopped going to the gym. I knew something needed to change!
One Saturday, I attended a local Autumn Fest and came upon a health and fitness table. I listened to this lady’s spiel and took one of her pamphlets. Luckily, this lady followed up with me and convinced me to give her online health and fitness program a try. For the first month I kind of sat on the sidelines, drank my daily shake, and slowly tried the workouts (I was also recovering from a badly sprained ankle, but that’s another story). I started to notice that it wasn’t all about losing weight and being skinny, but rather being the healthiest and happiest version of yourself, that you could be. I decided this was definitely something I wanted to continue to be a part of.
Soon, I began to connect health and fitness coaching with what I learned while getting my MPH and I realized there was a lot of overlap. I began researching, and came across a Health Education Specialist Certification. I went on to study for and excel on the national exam to become a credentialed Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) in May 2017. I knew that by getting this certification, I could more effectively help others live healthy and happy lives.
Not long after, Healthy and Happy Living was formed!
I craft individually customized meal plans for members, develop and share original and nutritious recipes, and design weekly fitness programs tailored to members’ schedules, ability, and goals. I also manage various social media platforms to foster an encouraging and empowering environment in which members can interact to share food and fitness tips, recipes, motivational accountability, and positive messages.
As a health and fitness coach, I have had the opportunity to master social media outreach and management of digital platforms while making myself consistently available to field questions and concerns, and to provide the dependable source of education, motivation, and support that my clients need, to achieve their health and fitness goals.
This past summer while I was updating my LinkedIn page, I received a message from a graduate recruiter from Stonehill College. Apparently, they had just created their first graduate program: Integrated Marketing and Communication. She wanted to know if I would be interested in applying. At first I laughed because the degree had nothing to do with Public Health…so I thought.
The more I thought about it and researched it, the more I realized how wrong I was. One of their concentrations was social media marketing and graphic design. I came to the realization that what I was trying to do with my online health and fitness coaching was social media marketing. I have always found graphic design fascinating, especially as a visual learner. It sounded like this program was exactly what I needed to further my health and fitness coaching. I was accepted in August and my first semester started in September. I am already learning a lot and cannot wait to see where this journey takes me.
Every choice you make becomes an important part of your story.
To reach uncharted futures, you must trust in paths that make sense in hindsight; aka you cannot see the path until after you have arrived.
This sums up my life story to date. I can now see that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I trust my path(s) now, but I was certainly confused about where I should take my life over the years.
Always keep in mind that the first idea or solution is not always the best, in fact the third idea or solution is the best in many situations! My career advice is to always trust your gut instinct. Our unconscious mind has the ability to find patterns and meanings in quick slices of experience and impressions. If it does not feel right, come up with a new idea or solution.