How Ohana Eased my Graduation Anxiety by Haley Harder
For as long as I can remember, I have never been able to answer the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I didn’t use to mind this lack of clarity, but as I drew nearer to the end of my undergraduate experience, it felt like the only thing anyone talked about. I began to dread the innocent relative asking “What is your plan after graduation?” I envied everyone around me with an answer – friends that had found their occupational passion, peers expecting return offers from well-known companies, and even those navigating the difficult process of applying to medical school. It seemed that I was one of the few without some sort of formulary to guide me into my career. All I knew is that I wanted my work to have a positive impact on population health.
OhanaHealth caught my eye early in the process of applying to internships in my Junior year of college. It seemed like an opportunity that could appeal to my interests of health care and business, and student reviews of their experience were overwhelmingly positive. But I was not completely sold – nobody I knew had heard of OhanaHealth or the start-ups it partnered with. To me, the thought of working at a start-up was intimidating because it broke away from many of the traditional paths that I had seen my peers take. Would the internship be able to give me the caliber of experience that employers were looking for? Would it provide any clarity as to what I should do after graduation?
My doubts about Ohana were eased when I met Daniel for the first time over video chat. We talked at length about my interests, concerns, and what I hoped to gain from an internship. He presented a company – Oshi Health – that he thought would fit the bill, and after a few more weeks of interviews with them, I had locked down a summer job that I was genuinely excited about. Oshi is a digital tool for people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and my role would be to help them determine the optimal commercial strategy by researching other players in the digital health space.
Through my research, I was introduced to a myriad of unfamiliar fields, including digital health, employee wellness, and pharmacy benefit management. I had to organize the copious amount of information I had found, draw insights from it, and present it in a way that flowed and made sense. This process is common in many jobs, so practicing and refining it aided in my professional development. My superiors at Oshi were also constantly offering advice on career preparation, from LinkedIn tips to presentation skills to how to upward manage.
My experience with Ohana gave me the confidence I needed to ready myself for leaving the familiarity of college. It opened my eyes to occupational fields that I didn’t know had existed – ones that I could see myself thriving in after graduation. Both Daniel and my Oshi mentors continue to act as resources for advice, network expansion, and guidance throughout the job application process. And even though I still don’t have an answer to “What is your plan after graduation?”, I feel much less restricted by my options and a lot more sure that I will – eventually – go down the path that is right for me.