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Author: carlsnat

Buying Into It

Buying Into It

Your_Comfort_Zone

I remember Adam showing us this picture at the beginning of the year and thinking it was a nice idea, but not really buying into it. Little did I know that this year would be one of the most difficult and uncomfortable of my life. As a result, I experienced a lot of growth, or “magic”, despite being hesitant to change.

When I applied to the University of Michigan, I believed that I wanted to be a physician. However, a few months after my application had been submitted, I realized that nursing, or advanced practice nursing would be a better fit for me. Because U of M has a direct admit nursing program — meaning that students are immersed in nursing curriculum their freshman year — I would have to transfer into the program for my sophomore year. This has been a huge challenge and source of frustration for me.

This year I have had to be patient, advocate for myself, cope with uncertainty and anxiety, and work harder than I ever had before. Because I am not in the School of Nursing yet, and therefore don’t have a reserved seat in classes like those in the program do, I had to receive overrides for the majority of the classes I took; before I had even arrived on campus I was emailing professors begging and pleading with them to allow me into their classes.

Within the first two weeks I frequently called home crying, questioning whether I really even wanted to be in the health field or not. This uncertainty pushed me to pursue information about other majors, occupations, and even nursing. I started volunteering as a doula at the hospital, and fell in love with the idea of being a health care provider all over again; though a time commitment, and somewhat awkward first engagement, the connection that forms between laboring mothers and me is something I would never trade.  These experiences have taught me to pursue what I want with a passion, and to try to learn something along the way. This year I’ve learned to love being uncomfortable because I know that the outcome on the other side will be something unexpected and worthwhile.

As I sit and type this, I’m still uncomfortable. The School of Nursing is notoriously unorganized, and has yet to alert me of their decision about my admission into the program. However, I know that whenever the news comes, be it “good” or “bad”, I’m going to be okay. The growth is going to happen whether I want it to or not, so I might as well embrace it.

 

Maintaining Mental Health

Maintaining Mental Health

In class we talked about how the main reasons adolescents in college did not seek help regarding mental illness was not that they were unsure where to go or were unaware of the resources available to them, but that they thought they figured their stress was normal, that they are better off handling their stress on their own, or questioned the severity of their problems. Though I believe that the University of Michigan is doing  a good job providing students with options and resources when it comes to mental health treatment, I think that the University could be doing a much better job when it comes to prevention of mental illness.

In some way, I think that everyone struggles with maintaining their mental health in college. Especially as the semester comes to an end, I see this in my friends and peers more and more — there is more evidence of exhaustion, stress, sickness, and sadness. It’s in these moments that our mental health is most important. Couzens Hall recognizes this and is putting on a “Wellness Week” during exam week. However, knowing most of my peers (and myself), many of us will not make attending these events (yoga, massages, exercising, etc.) because we will be too consumed with studying. I think that the University — and residence halls — could do a better job of promoting healthy mental health habits through out the entire year. This might look like Mental Health committees in each residence hall that put on “Wellness Weeks” every week or biweekly, have open dialogues about mental illness and mental health, and/or are trained to support students who are struggling with mental illness.

Outside of college campuses, I think it’s important to learn how to take care of our mental health starting in middle and high school, as the age of onset for mental illness is typically around 14. Secondary schools could encourage this with morning meditation or study breaks in the day, helping students to recognize that taking this time is not selfish, but necessary for maintaining their mental health. 

Fake it ‘Till You Make it

Fake it ‘Till You Make it

Having obviously never experienced college before, my expectations of my freshman year were all based off of my older friends’ experiences. I expected college to be “the best four years of my life” and the transition from high school to be a walk in the park. It is safe to say that any expectations of college I had were quickly blown out of the water: my first month here was more like a sprint in the wild. I considered transferring and I had trouble finding my way. I think I’m most proud of myself for persevering, even though it would’ve been really easy to give up hoping that the grass might be greener on the other side (but is that ever really the case?).

In my letter that I wrote during welcome week, I encouraged myself to “step out of my comfort zone often and without hesitation in order to form new relationships”. This is exactly what it took for me to feel at home, more comfortable, and more confident in my own skin. I absolutely love where I’m at – geographically, and in life – and could not be happier that I’ve found a family within HSSP.

Next semester I start working on a research project for the first time while also balancing a full load of credits. Although I think I did “fine” this semester, I hope that I can find a healthy balance between my academics, social life, extracurriculars, emotional, and physical well-being. I think that this is something that I will always need to work on, but as the weather gets colder and my bed seems warmer, I’ll need to be especially proactive about my motivation next semester.

I can’t say that I know exactly who I am yet, but this semester has taught me a lot about myself and the really cool people I get to live with, study with, and be friends with. I finally respect myself enough to prioritize the things that are important to me, and I’m a happier person because of it. I have made meaningful connections with mentors, professors, GSIs, students, and continue to learn from these devoted and impressive people every day.

If this was just semester one, I’m anxious and excited (and maybe a little nervous) for the relationships and growth the winter semester will foster.

Health Care Reform – Don’t Hold Your Breath

Health Care Reform – Don’t Hold Your Breath

Based off of the information we learned in class, and in my opinion, the biggest challenges in America’s attempt to reform health care have been distractions and Congressional opposition. Since the Truman administration, health care reform has been at the forefront of both the American and governing mind. Americans have proven this by voicing their concern and disapproval for the health care systems we’ve encountered through out history. Presidents have proven this by addressing health care reform in State of the Union Addresses, speaking at rallies, and touring to promote their reforms. Despite the passion our country has for this issue, it took almost 70 years for legislation to pass. Time and time again, our executive branch (Kennedy, Clinton, Obama) was met with strong opposition from Congress, or were called to other events. Elections, scandals, and general lack of support all deterred us from American health care reform.

I think that the biggest failure in health care reform was simply how long it took for our government to come together to enact legislation. Too often partisan politics or even individual politicians stood in the way of reforming our health care system, which is a loss for everyone; because it took so long to get the ball rolling, it will now take even longer to build and improve on the Affordable Care Act that is now in place.

On the other hand, I think that the biggest success in U.S. health care reform has been the perseverance of our nation’s presidents to reform this system. As noted in class, it took many years of drafting, refining, and recycling ideas to finally enact ObamaCare. However, if it were not for the many leaders that set the stage, paved the way, and started the conversations around health care reform, this effort could’ve died a long time ago.