If I could talk to my new freshman self, I would tell myself to stress less about the future and live more “in the moment”. I feel like I spent so much time worrying about my next orgo exam or planning my life schedule that I enjoyed myself less and did not realize what great times I was having. While I think it is important to plan ahead and be responsible, I would want to tell myself to remember that it will all work out in the end. Not everything is in my control, so I should just focus on doing what I can to be successful and relax. I would tell myself to stay open minded and not stick to a single plan, but to take life day by day. Also, I would also give myself a planner because sometimes I would be unorganized and completely forget assignments because I had nothing to remind me. I would miss points on little assignments and grades that I could control because of my lack of organization. Lastly, I would tell myself to embrace all of the new experiences I would have and people I would meet. I met people from all different backgrounds and tried things I had never thought of. I wish I could tell myself to do this even more, because at times I got caught up in school work and locked myself in the CLC instead of exploring other aspects of the university. Overall, it was an amazing year, and I don’t think I could have prepared my first semester freshman self for all I would experience with a few wise words. Only by going through the year and making mistakes could I have learned what I have.
When I first started college, I had a very defined picture of what my year would be like. I envisioned myself on a perfect routine. I would get up and go to my 8 am, hit the gym, attend all my classes, and study tirelessly so that I could ace all my exams. As you can probably guess, this did not happen. I usually stumbled into my morning classes wearing basically pajamas, then came home and napped for an excessively long time. I told myself I wouldn’t eat the cookies at mojo and I ended up eating about three at each meal. Also, I am a very forgetful person and last semester I locked myself out of my room over 21 times. In general I was not very organized. However, I am proud that I have been able to realize my shortcomings, develop better habits, and overcome my initial struggle. My first orgo grade may have been sub-par, but since then I have been able to rebound and realize how I can succeed. I have begun to learn because I enjoy what I am learning, instead of just chasing a grade. In the end I wouldn’t trade this first semester for anything. I have formed amazing relationships with people of many different backgrounds. My mom always told me “The friends you make in college are the friends you will have for life.” Now I understand why. I have made better friendships then I had ever imagined. l Through my observations, the speakers in this class, and the PA’s, my desire to work in the medical field has only been strengthened. I feel more motivated to keep working hard, improving my study habits, and try to stick to a better routine. I also hope to continue to form great friendships and be happy with the work that I am doing here.
I was very moved by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk. She really opened my eyes to the fact that no one is simply defined by one story. People are like books: they have a wealth of history and information to read and learn from, you just have to get past what you see on the cover. It is important, especially as health care professionals, that we do not make assumptions about others and that we educate ourselves on different backgrounds. Abroad, it is clearly very important to have a strong understanding of the community you are working with so you can most effectively solve issues relating to health. In the video, we saw how the beliefs of Ghanan women about modern medical doctors and traditional healers impacted treatment of breast cancer. I was shocked to see the magnitude that different cultures and beliefs have on the health of the society as a whole. It revealed how important it is to look at issues from many sides. Also, if medical professionals became more accessible and got to know community members in Ghana, the women there would definitely be more trusting of them and more likely to seek treatment. We could see how the Peace and Love hospital held a very “us” and “them” atmosphere, with the medical professionals holding all the information and the patients left in the dark. By prescribing unnecessary drugs and treatments, they are only exacerbating the lack of trust of hospitals. One idea for a campaign could be simply for health professionals to visit schools and community centers, talk about their work, and converse with the people in the area. By getting to know actual health professionals, the preconceptions that women had about hospitals could change. By increasing transparency and accessibility, hospitals could begin to rebuild trust. It is understandable for the women to first go to traditional healers, as it is what they know of and trust. Getting a broader view of societal, cultural, and personal issues in an area clearly can make it easier to find more sustainable solutions.
My question for everyone is what are some ways health care workers can build trust and get to know the communities they are working in?