As I’m writing this, I don’t think I’ve completely come to terms with my freshman year of college coming to an end. You are told time and time again that your educational years pass you by, but it doesn’t dawn on you until you’re faced with the finish line. I can sum up this year as the biggest year of growth I’ve ever had. Through my classes, extra-curriculars, and friends I’ve made, I’ve started to learn about what I want to do and be in this world.
Coming into the University of Michigan, I was so excited beyond belief. Michigan was my dream school and I felt lucky just to be a part of it. But with all that excitement, I felt a fear like never before. I have always been afraid of the new. The new, the unpredictable, the unexpected. I’m a person who takes comfort in familiarity, the constant, unchanging, and reliable. I didn’t realize just how much I would be thrown out of my comfort zone, and I was terrified. From having to make new friends and questioning my career, what felt like, almost everyday, I was faced with changes left and right. The one thing I would tell myself at the beginning of the year is to embrace the new. Embrace the unfamiliarity and the uncertainty in the future. These moments will challenge you and allow you to grow. You’ll have the most fun when you make a spontaneous choice and have no idea where it will take you. Embrace the new memories you will make. Take time to have fun and treat yourself. And never ever feel guilty for buying that chipotle.
Often people may not see much of a connection between social justice and the medical field. People can see the medical field as a way to make a change in individual lives, but it may not be apparent how healthcare can play a role in overarching social change. From Carrie’s lecture, I learned that public health and global health are great platforms for social change within the healthcare field.
Carrie walked us through her occupational journey and demonstrated how we can be dedicated to social change and learning from different communities in the medical field. I was astonished by the work she did for HIV/AIDS by protesting, providing testing, counseling, and participating in conferences and campaigns to end AIDS. In doing this, she banded together with others passionate about the cause and worked to bring awareness to the public and the government. This is fundamental for social change.
Carrie also talked a lot about being sensitive to other communities’ cultures. In doing this, you have to come in with an open mind to a new and different set of standards and attributes. Engaging with the community and the people and organizations within it is a great way to learn about things you may be unfamiliar with. Carrie learned that even though she thought she had a reasonable solution, progress can’t be made unless you understand the community you’re working with. This is a valuable lesson as healthcare providers. Whether we want to serve people across the globe or here in Ann Arbor, we must dedicate ourselves to learning about the environment and the people we are serving. Only then can we really make long-lasting change.
What do you think about the role of social change and justice within healthcare? What are some ways that we can be culturally sensitive and ethical in working with different populations?
I definitely feel that I’ve grown over the course of this semester. Before coming to Michigan, I was scared that I wouldn’t adjust well to a new environment and to my classes. However, I’ve been having such a great time here. I’ve met some great new people, and I’ve really enjoyed my classes. I am grateful for the support I’ve been given and for how I am adjusting to being independent. In the letter I wrote myself, I encouraged myself to try new things, join clubs, and enjoy my time here. I’m proud that I’ve done this and it has made my first semester great. While some of my classes are harder than I expected, I am pushing myself to work harder and to do my best. Next semester, I want to improve my study habits, so that I spend more time studying effectively. I also hope to continue researching and find new things to be a part of. Professionally, I still plan on being a child psychiatrist, but because of the observations and the classes we’ve had, I am now considering social work as a potential career. I am glad that I’ve gained a better understanding of the healthcare field and the people within it. I hope to continue my career journey and discovery of the medical field next semester. I am looking forward to learning about mental health in UC 105, as well as other aspects of healthcare. I also look forward to attending more observations.
When one asks someone what their purpose in life is, they can’t always expect a simple answer. It’s quite difficult to pinpoint that one thing that your life on earth is supposed to be devoted to. For me, I don’t think I can really know for sure. I’ve hardly experienced what life has to offer. But, I believe to find one’s purpose, you find something that gives you fulfillment and joy beyond anything else. I’ve found a joy like this when I serve others. I’ve been told by others that I have a gift for working with and understanding children. Perhaps this is my purpose. I plan to explore the things that bring me joy in life and pursue a career in medicine and working with children.
I often find myself preventing myself from trying new things or taking risks because I’m afraid of failure, vulnerability, and not being ready or skilled enough. I counteract this by being optimistic, being more comfortable with vulnerability, and knowing that it’s okay to fail. I am learning to take risks because I know that it will only lead me to the goals I have for myself and to a life of happiness.
I found Larry’s choice to end the talk with unless interesting. The unless gives the audience the chance to look into themselves and think about what excuses they are making, and about how they can pursue their passion in their career in life.