If I could travel back in time to the start of my freshman year, I would advise myself to enjoy all of my experiences and to accept both good and bad circumstances in a positive manner. It is often easy for me to become so wrapped up in the process of achieving my goals that I forget to stop and truly be satisfied in the position my life is in right now. This year, I have been challenged on many occasions to pursue my interests in a newer perspective as well as confront difficulties with tenacity and courage. It is impossible for any person to be perfect, and failure is an integral part of the human experience because it refines and teaches an individual. As the old adage says, “It’s okay to make mistakes. Just don’t repeat them.” I have found this wise proverb to be very applicable to academic and personal situations.
As I continue down the long road towards medical school, I am aware that many obstacles will confront me along this journey. It is important for me to utilize the experiences and skill sets gained in order to develop personally. The Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Taking the first steps here at Michigan were sometimes out of my comfort zone. However, no progress is made toward achieving my goals if I do not persist. Looking forward to the next years of a collegiate education, I am appreciative of the knowledge and experiences that were developed during my freshman year, and I eagerly anticipate a sophomore year that will be abundant in these beneficial and necessary elements as well.
Hearing the testimonies of those who came into class on Thursday, I am regretful to understand the dire situation which confronts many individuals who have faced or are facing issues of substance abuse. So often, the stigma that inextricably adheres to such abuse prevents these individuals from receiving the care and support that is crucial for their full rehabilitation and recovery. Nevertheless, I am inspired to alter my outlook on those who are caught in this vicious cycle of addiction. It is the job of future health professionals to lead the charge in ending the stigma by reaching out with compassion to those who hare vulnerable while ensuring awareness about these often sensitive topics.
There exists a multi-faceted approach to leading this charge. The general populace needs to better understand the direct link between addiction and mental illness. While addiction is also a moral issue, it is manifested and stimulated in biological, psychological, and social phenomena, all of which can be adequately targeted through personalized treatment and specialized care. In education, students should learn not only about the biological basis for addiction, but also the social determinants of health that may create opportunities for addiction to flourish. Nonetheless, students must also realize the harmful effects of taking substances, and additional community programs and seminars, such as those hosted by the College Recovery Panel, should be hosted in order to foster awareness of this issue. Also, as addiction is a mental illness, it is absolutely essential that the general population handle the overarching subject of mental illness with a more serious perspective. It is commonplace to joke about substance use and alcohol or to use phrases like “You’re so OCD” or “he’s a druggie.” These examples do not justify the severity and difficulty that those who have these illnesses experience; using these phrases condescends these individuals and their conditions. Imperative is it that we should re-evaluate our words in every aspect so as to prevent apathy toward these real and pressing ailments.
The ‘star’ activity in discussion truly showed me the impact that each of one of us can have on those suffering from abuse. We can be that friend, a member of that community, that classmate who laughs off addiction as a matter which does not pertain to our wellbeing. Such an outlook is dangerous and abominable. We have an obligation to support those around us, addicted or not, in helping them reach their fullest potential. To best help those suffering from addiction, we must first start with ourselves in contemplating the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
The semester has progressed so quickly, and the end is clearly in sight. I am thankful for opportunities that I have had to grow and develop as an individual, most specifically in my faith, professional relationships, and academia. Throughout the course of these past few months, I have been compelled to step out of my comfort zone and widen my horizon of experiences. From reading the letter that I wrote to myself, I have continued to fulfill the expectations and advice that I had set forth in my letter; I thank God, my family, professors, and friends who have kept me going through high and low points throughout the semester. My career goals have not been altered through UC 105, but the information that I have learned has definitely confirmed my interest in medicine and has spurred me toward reaching for my goals.It has definitely been a pleasure being a part of HSSP, and the welcoming community that it offers aided substantially to my transition from high school to university life. As I am glad that the semester is finishing, I am equally grateful for the lessons of perseverance, dedication, and courage that I have gathered from my experiences at Michigan so far.
Shocked. Motivated to change. Compassionate. Eager. These words describe my reaction to the videos we viewed this afternoon regarding the plight of patients in underprivileged areas like Ghana. Nevertheless, many of the problems exemplified by the Peace and Love Hospital in Ghana mirror some experiences that even American patients face; I think such detrimental experiences come as a result of ignorance and indifference by some healthcare professionals toward patients. These situations have prompted me to personally enter the medical field. Rather than just prescribe medications or order surgeries, I desire to directly impact and improve the physical, emotional, and spiritual lives of patients by utilizing knowledge that I have received, experiences that I have treasured, and analytical skills that I have developed. It’s pretty amazing to think that even though I won’t be doing chemistry during a surgery or calculus when I’m helping a patient, this base of knowledge and learning to critically develop a necessary skill set will help me influence others. What an amazing thought it is for healthcare professionals to get up each morning and dedicate the next 24 hours to improving the wellbeing of others!
On a varying note, I think that it is detrimental for the U.S. healthcare industry or professionals to forcefully impose their will on other communities and societies. Such imposition bring remnants of colonization into my mind; colonization should not be the face of global health. Rather, when healthcare providers collaboratively work with local doctors through a comprehensive, mutually-respected relationship, optimal care can be provided for patients in need. In such situations, a thorough understanding of the local customs and culture is key, once again, to best serving the needs of individuals. When unruly healthcare professionals step in without consideration for the societal situation (macroscopic) or an individual situation (microscopic), it would have been more beneficial if they had remained estranged from their lofty ambition. What the world needs is more caring, eager, motivated, and empathetic health professionals who are willing to cooperate, willing to learn, and willing to be both right and wrong in various situations. Only through this mindset can our global healthcare system continue to progress for all people.
In President Obama’s JAMA article, I was particularly fascinated by all the details and statistics that he provided with regard to the progress of the Affordable Care Act and the effect that it has had on Americans. I was surprised that he himself wrote it (note author credentials – Barack Obama, JD); the extensive amount of information as well as the weight of critical thinking and analysis that many individuals, not only the President himself, have undergone to produce this report demonstrates that research has been productively dissected to explain the impact of the ACA. Without always agreeing with the President, I appreciate his goal of providing quality healthcare to all Americans as health and wellness is an important issue in our modern society.
This coming election season, I am worried about both candidates, to be honest. I understand their goals of improving the welfare of all Americans, and much of the time, the hyperpolarization in Congress or politics, for that matter, does not stem from a lack of a common goal, but rather a disconnect in the means through which a particular goal is accomplished. Secretary Clinton has made her support for the ACA and Medicaid expansion undeniably explicit; while I do agree with certain fundamental portions of the ACA, I regret to endorse the restrictions that it directly imposes on insurance industries and individual freedoms. Many pharmaceutical and insurance industries do manipulate the American populace. Our focus should not be directed in condemning these industries but rather in devising solutions to such manipulations, thinking about ways in which the American people can work together to allow private enterprises and the American public to coexist in a firm space from which to build toward a better future. Mr. Trump, on the contrary, has been an outspoken critic of the ACA. I do agree with his arguments as well regarding the overextension of government in state and private affairs; such ideas are linked to the Tenth Amendment in our Bill of Rights. It is a grave crime to leave millions of underprivileged Americans uninsured, but it is a grave crime to point fingers at parties and companies or force individuals or businesses to destroy their respective practices. In addition, consideration must be offered to the thousands of our Americans neighbors and friends who work in the healthcare industry such as nurses, physicians, public health officials, social workers, physical/occupational therapists, dentists, medical technicians, who will suffer losses in income due to the government’s underpaying of customer costs in comparison to payment of private insurance agencies. The ACA has mandated restrictions which show angelic and diabolical appearances; the job of all Americans is to work comprehensively and collaboratively to uphold charity, freedom, equity, and justice in our healthcare system.
Healthcare should be reformed to a simpler, more effective means that slashes overbearing governmental regulations and red tape and makes individual insurance accessible to every American. First, I think we should start to do away with the whole employer-based coverage and make the connection between insurers and individuals. Thus, the penalties should be eradicated for business who choose not to offer health care because they will not offer insurance – this change will protect the integrity of businesses. Next, the individual mandate should be done away with. Whoever wants to purchase insurance will contact an insurance company and determine what insurance works best for them. nevertheless, checks should be made on these companies to make sure that manipulation or inflation of insurance rates remains affordable for all Americans.