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One part research
Two parts reflection

The prospect of joining Sangath as a research intern is quite exciting in itself. One gets to define the internship’s trajectory and ideate with like minded people under excellent mentorship. Getting started on the Young People’s Health Survey gave me a plethora of opportunities to learn from. Therefore, inquisitive to explore the world of research, my curiosity took a sharp turn after engaging with aspects that one does not traditionally think of, when dealing with research. Besides the academic deliberation, the thought that is put into the aesthetic appeal of a survey’s website makes a difference. Colour palettes to memes and everything in between is planned based on the target population - young people. The excitement, when clubbed with a colourful (pun intended) flipside, turns introspective.

Part of my job as an intern was to conceptualize what the survey website was to look like; designing the content from a young stakeholder’s perspective for a young participant. It is surprising that the interim between designing and releasing the survey is one of the most crucial periods. Recruitment, which is central to all research is planned at great lengths, keeping in mind the potential participants (a minor oversight could lead to a loss in participation). 

Somewhere amidst all the planning and designing, I subconsciously started internalising the content. Every single aspect I worked on resonated differently each time, be it self-care related or statistics related. Engaging with the content mindfully made me understand the nuances of the themes being explored. I often ended up reflecting on the relation between physical activities and mental health especially because ironically, I tend to run away from the former. Therefore, while scrutinizing on the relationship between the two I realised the impact of the simplest of activities. Eventually, I consciously started assessing the components of mental health with my own lifestyle.

For me, although the survey has carried different meanings, it has largely been representative of a shift I would like to make. The content I specifically worked on demarcates in a very non-judgmental manner, the dos and don’ts within various spheres of health. A reason why I wanted to develop content was simply that getting involved entailed an exciting self-exploratory journey as well. In a lot of ways, the survey served as a directive, giving relevant advice, defining guidelines. The survey is therefore relevant as there is definitely a paradigm shift in terms of health habits across generations. Exploring themes centred around health, targeting a young population for a potential sports-based programme can change perspectives and shape a lot of lives. Looking closer to home in terms of that, my takeaway stems from a change in perspective; begin addressing a change by acknowledging that it’s needed and by grounding it in simple alternatives.

Lastly, as a twenty-something I would urge the readers to participate, to understand the various aspects the research aims to explore, most importantly, keeping in mind the difference an intervention could make. Your participation would also be an important step towards a new approach; a little could go a long way. To understand the research question being explored, look out for more articles over the course of a few months to understand chronologically, how all fragments come together to answer the larger question!

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