If I could travel back to the beginning of this year and tell myself one thing, it would simply be to relax a little more. I came into college so sure that it would be insanely difficult and that I’d have to put all my focus into my classes and that my grades were everything. While I still definitely believe that college is hard and grades are important, I now know that it’s not worth it to give up other things I love to make more time for school. I would tell myself to join things I truly enjoy and trust that it’ll work out in the end, and that it’s not the end of the world if I do badly on an exam or two. I would also tell myself to try to focus on the actual learning more than I did this year, rather than just the grade I received. Finally, I would tell myself to enjoy every day I get to spend here, because time really does fly when you’re having fun.
The video Unnatural Causes delved deeper into issues that have been in the media and the public eye a lot more often than usual lately. The politics surrounding healthcare are confusing, but this video explained healthcare disparities in a detailed yet comprehensible fashion. One of the most important parts of this video was its description of chronic stressors. It described that although everyone is affected by stress, the level of pressure felt depends on the person’s power, control, and access to resources to manage stressors. This reminded of a TED Talk I recently attended given by the Executive Director of the Detroit Health Department, Abdul El-Sayed. He discussed how he recently advised an African American woman living in a Detroit neighborhood to start eating healthier and taking daily walks. She responded that there wasn’t a grocery store with healthy food she could make herself within walking distance (since she didn’t have a car), so she had to eat fast food everyday. She also said that since she works two jobs, she doesn’t get home until 7pm each evening, by which time it’s too dark to walk in her unsafe neighborhood. This is the kind of systematic disadvantage that so many of people of color have to deal with everyday. It’s so easy for people not in this class position to simply say “exercise more” or “eat healthier”, but so much more impractical to actually put into practice. With these circumstances, it’s difficult to know where to even begin to try fix this. My question to you all is what kind of policies do you think we can enforce to try to eliminate health disparities? What is the first step?
After opening my Letter to Myself from the beginning of the year, the thing that most surprised me is that I wasn’t as idealistic as I thought I might have been. Although I set high goals for myself, I ended the letter with, “I hope none of these sound naive to you, but if they do, then that’s okay.” After a hectic and much different than expected first semester of college, I have to say that I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and how I’ve grown. First of all, I’ve become much better at managing my time efficiently and planning ahead for things academically. In high school, I was constantly doing assignments the hour before they were due and going to bed at 2am for no reason. Now (although I can’t say I’ve been perfect), I start studying for tests much sooner and make sure to ask people for help when I need it, which is something I struggled with in the past. I’m also extremely proud of the relationships I’ve formed with new people here. Within just a couple months, I’ve found friends that I already consider some of the most important people in my life. They’ve helped motivate me, keep my spirits up, and keep me much more honest with myself and with them. Next semester, I want to continue working on my time management skills so that I can hopefully sleep a little bit more, and also continue meeting new and diverse groups of people.
The 2016 Presidential election is only two days away and, like me, many of you are anxious and passionate about the results. One of the biggest points of difference in the two candidates’ ideas is their plan for the future of healthcare.
One of the strengths of Hillary Clinton’s healthcare plan is her determination to build on and better the ACA already in place. The ACA has been in progress for a much longer time than most Americans know, and personally I feel that it is much more feasible to work on fixing the parts of Obamacare that are broken than to start completely from scratch. One of the weaknesses of her plan is to reduce out-of-pocket costs for healthcare; although this seems like a good thing, the deficit would have to be made up for somehow. This would likely be through raised taxes, which most Americans would not support.
One of the strengths of Donald Trump’s healthcare plan is his plan to make costs of health insurance transparent and give people the options of buying across state lines. This would lower costs through greater competition and allow people to find plans that better fit their lives and their needs. One of the weaknesses of his healthcare plan is to cut funding for Planned Parenthood; Planned Parenthood does much more than offer safe, affordable abortions. It also offers education about reproduction, many health screenings, birth control, and more. His intent to take away all of this only shows his lack of knowledge and understanding of what Planned Parenthood truly is.
Do you agree with these strengths and weaknesses? Do you feel that any of these “strengths” are actually weaknesses, or vice versa?