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Author: ivyli

Year 1 Reflection

Year 1 Reflection

Coming into college, academics and grades were definitely of priority to me especially as an out-of-state student who wanted to pursue a Nursing degree in 4 Years. And while that still holds true to now, there are definitely a few pieces of advice I’d give myself if I could go back to the beginning of first semester.

 

I can’t stress enough how incredibly important it is to plan ahead and to manage your time well throughout the school year. In most cases, we tend to push back assignments and study times because we’re “too lazy to start them earlier”, or “because we acknowledge the loads of time we have before the deadline”. Although I never found myself to be much of a procrastinator in high school, there were definitely times when I was noticed how stressed out and anxious I was the week before homework, papers, and projects were due. Good planning helps us create a sense of order and undoubtedly helps to reduce unnecessary pressure which is something we could all benefit from. And often times, our physical and mental health become better when we allocate sufficient time to study, plan for appointments, and even get together with friends.

 

Another piece of advice I’d tell myself would be to relax and have fun! College is a great time to meet new people, become more involved in new organizations, and to ultimately grow as an individual. I never would have thought I’d love Ann Arbor and its food the way I do now, let alone already signing an apartment lease with a group of girls I’d never even met before coming to the Mid-West. These opportunities and memories opened up because I was willing to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. Yes, college is supposed to a time of learning, excelling in academics, and becoming part of the leaders and the best, but we can’t forget that these next 3 years are full of potential memories if we’re willing to venture out and explore.

Dx: Long Term Stress

Dx: Long Term Stress

The video, Unnatural Causes, drew attention to the economic and racial inequalities that exist in the world today- emphasizing the differences in incomes, living conditions, access to resources, and education between families of different socioeconomic status.

On top of all the stressors mentioned in the video, additional stressors may include having an adequate income to provide for the family (both in terms of food & shelter), being able to afford health care coverage, easy access to health care resources, transportation, insurance costs, and the stress to be able to send your children to school all are factors to adding more stress to people’s daily lives depending on their SES. In terms of class position, individuals with higher SES tend to live in safer neighborhoods, live a more affluent lifestyle, and are less worried about job instability & family income. Not to necessarily say that people at the top don’t face daily pressures in their lives, but that they are more likely to have power and resources to manage those pressures. On the other hand, individuals with lower class positions face greater exposures that can cause even more upset to their daily lives including lack of health insurance, uncontrolled debt, small and compact homes, noisy living conditions, job instability, and unreliable transportation. Social conditions such as the jobs we partake in, the income we receive, the schools we attend, and the neighborhoods we live in all are societal factors that create and reinforce stressors. While some neighborhoods have easy access to healthy, affordable produce, others may only have convenience stores, fast foods, and liquor stores. Additionally, individual behaviors such as smoking, drinking, exercising, and dieting all play a role in impacting our health.

Past and present discrimination has been seen by many people of color in terms of housing, jobs, and education, and has left many of them sitting in the lower half the SES ladder. Racism can impose may health burdens including segregation, social exclusion, stereotyping, access and treatment by the health care system. Inequalities in health from both racial and income disparities have existed for decades and have been the result of decisions that we, as a society, have made, therefore it is up to us to change this- to promote cultural diversity, to become more conscious and aware of our feelings, and to educate ourselves and others around us about this issue.

My Ongoing Journey

My Ongoing Journey

I came into college knowing that I wanted to become a nurse- and while that still holds true today, without UC 105 I wouldn’t have gained as much knowledge about Public Health, Spirituality, Opioids, and most importantly the history behind Health Care Reform and the ACA. A lot of the topics we covered this past semester have been very applicable to our lives today and allowed me to gain new perspectives on issues that I previously wouldn’t have thought of before. After hearing from a variety of guest speakers, I’ve definitely become more interested in global health and public policy- and I might even consider looking into travel abroad studies to explore more of these topics in relation to nursing. Like another one of my nursing peers, I’m also looking into possibly pursing a master’s degree and specializing in a certain nursing field down the road. There are so many paths to choose from within the health care field and the speakers and topics we have learned in UC 105 have only motivated me to explore even further before solidifying exactly what I want to do.

Something things I’m most proud of this semester have been time management and becoming more independent. Being so far away from home has definitely made me become more aware of making healthy food choices, getting an adequate amount of sleep (something I’m still working on), meeting new people, and setting aside time to do homework and study. I thought I would be one of many who would struggle to adjust to college as an out-of-state student, but it turned out to be just the opposite. This semester has flown by so quickly and I am loving every part of this journey. The friendships I have made, the amount of opportunities available to me, and the amazing support from my HSSP community has been one of the greatest factors in shaping in college journey to where it is so far.

Next semester, I want to continue exploring more fields within the health care field through new guest speakers and HSSP Observations, and take advantage of the opportunities that the University of Michigan has to offer. Additionally, I want to keep motivating myself to continue working hard in all my classes and to remember to have fun along the way!

Health Disparities & Obesity

Health Disparities & Obesity

As we learned in class, the Socio-Ecological Model shows how different levels of society are affected by a variety of health issues, with its main focus on the public policy aspect of it. There’s no doubt that many health disparities continue to exist in the world today with larger issues more known to us such as social injustice and health care coverage, yet sometimes we forget that other issues such as obesity or geographical location have a large impact on health disparities as well.

One example of a health care disparity that many continue to face today is the lack of healthy food options in our communities that ultimately lead us to make poor food choices on a daily basis. In relation to the Socio-Ecological model, an individual may choose to depend on fast-food chains due to limited income or easy accessibility to these places. In addition, having these fast food options is efficient for us to simply grab food to-go and continue on with our busy lives which is one of the reason why many people turn to this lifestyle. Following the personal level, it then spreads to the relationship/interpersonal level where the individual’s closest social circle, partners, and family members become influenced by their behavior and start to experience similar lifestyles. And as a result, these poor food choices can lead to obesity if proper exercise is not consistently maintained. Lastly, the public policy / societal aspect is looked at as we seek to identify the characteristics of these settings that are associated with poor health choices, and why many people so easily fall victim to this.

There are many smaller issues that can lead to health disparities and making poor food choices is just one of many. Although we might not consider it a big deal, these unhealthy lifestyles can lead to larger issues for many low-income individuals such as a high risk of obesity and/or the inability to receive adequate quality care, which in turn can lead to poorer health outcomes. These small issues may not seem significant compared to the social injustice of minority groups we hear about all over the news, yet it’d be foolish of us to ignore them until they become an even larger issue.

Some of the key initiatives that are helping to reduce health disparities are the 2011 Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Disparities Action Plan, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Disparities Action Plan sets out a series of priorities, strategies, actions, and goals to achieve a vision of “a nation free of disparities in health and health care”. On the other hand, the ACA helps to increase coverage option for low-and moderate-income populations and includes other provisions to address disparities. One way we can personally address health disparities is by making smarter choices about our diet and thinking of the long-term effects caused by these. Healthy eating is not necessarily about strict dietary limitations, but also about depriving ourselves of the unnecessary, fattening foods we love. If we can educate our communities about the importance of eating healthier, obesity rates wouldn’t be as profound an issue and poor health outcomes wouldn’t be as prominent in the world.

Week 1 – On Purpose

Week 1 – On Purpose

  1. What do you think your purpose is? How will you find it if you don’t know? How will you maintain or change it if you do know?
  2. What excuses do you use in your life? How can you combat against these excuses and continue to push forward toward your passion?
  3. What do you think Larry means when he finishes his talk with the word “unless?”

Everyone has a different purpose in life that could have been shaped by factors including the ways we were raised when we were younger or how the environment around us may have played a role during our teenage years. My purpose in life is to live life to its fullest and to help others, and while it may differ from that from my peers, I think the best way to find out your purpose is to explore and stay open to new things.

Some of the excuses I find myself using in my life include sayings like “I’ll just do it tomorrow” or “I don’t think I can do it because it’s too hard”- these sayings are just so natural for us to use on a daily basis during instances when we simply try to put off doing something, or just don’t believe in ourselves to accomplish those goals. Even though it’s easier said than done, the easiest way to combat these excuses is just to try. There’s no failure in just trying something out, and who knows, we might be better than we presumably thought we’d be. We can’t let something small discourage us from even attempting to pursue our goals and it’s our jobs as a society to encourage one another to take that step of courage and take action.

When Larry finishes his Ted talk with the word “unless”, he wants to leave his audience with the idea that “unless we change our perspectives/fear of failing” we won’t be able to accomplish all the great things in life such as pursuing our passions or taking chances. In similarity to Brene’s Brown concept in Rising Strong, Smith emphasizes the idea that we (everyone) will fail, and that we will look ridiculous at times, but if we don’t try, we essentially won’t have a successful career.