Looking back to the beginning of the semester, there are so many things that I wish I knew. Looking at the prompts, I realize that the struggle I went through and the thing I wish I knew go hand in hand. I wish I knew that it was okay to not be okay. I spent so much of my first semester just trying to push through all the stress, and just do my best. It is hard being at such an outstanding university, because so often we are told that everyone is struggling. Since everyone is constantly stressed, and generally worried, it is hard to recognize when you aren’t feeling your best. This is what happened to me, and I spent so much time just attempting to ignore what I was going through. If I could go back and warn myself, I would simply say it is okay to feel whatever you are feeling.
If I could I would, but I can’t so I shan’t. I can’t go back in time and prevent myself from feeling down, and feeling isolated in my stress and struggle. I can’t go back, but I can reach out to those people who are feeling the same way. The most important thing I have learned this year is that you are truly never alone. Going through all my struggles did a lot to make me a more open and vulnerable person. I was able to overcome my challenges by first admitting that I had them and then reaching out. Reaching out was a lot easier than I expected it to be, and I am so glad that I made that choice. I don’t regret my struggles, nor do I expect it to just better overnight. I am happy to be on the journey to recovery and health, and being the best me.
To my past self, I love you and you aren’t alone. To my future self, never forget how you became this person. Patience and acceptance taught me to take care of myself and be gentle with people around me. These lessons aren’t what I expected to take away from my freshmen year of college, but they are the ones that saved me.
After hearing Dr. Zikmund-Fisher’s discussion, I was pleasantly surprised that his views actually aligned with mine. I feel that too often, professionals feel the need to exert their knowledge and ‘power’ over their patients. Dr. Zikmund-Fisher had a different outlook, and we share the standpoint. You can’t always TELL someone what they should do. Sometimes you just have to give them the facts and hope they make the best decision they can. There are so many factors that contribute to a person’s thought process, and we can not always just be the over arching hand that controls their choices. That being said, even though we share some of the same opinions, he still taught me something that I had not previously considered. People have actual concerns and issues when they are refusing an option. Although I technically knew this, I did not consider how it would affect their decision-making processes. This leads into why it is so important to be able to communicate with those you work with. Asking questions like “what concerns do you have” or “what is holding you back from pursuing this option” allows for open conversations that can shape how a patient views their options.
That being said, even though we share some of the same opinions, he still taught me something that I had not previously considered. People have actual concerns and issues when they are refusing an option. Although I technically knew this, I did not consider how it would affect their decision-making processes. This leads into why it is so important to be able to communicate with those you work with. Asking questions like “what concerns do you have” or “what is holding you back from pursuing this option” allows for open conversations that can shape how a patient views their options.
Like they say in IGR, ‘No one knows everything, but together we know a lot”. I think this can easily translate to decision making and communication. It is never our job to force people to do what we think is best. On the contrary, it is always our job to inform, guide, and listen so that both our patients and ourselves end up with the best outcome possible. This is sometimes easier said than done, so what strategies do you think should be implemented to help guide people in the decision-making process?
At the beginning of the semester, I was just dealing with a lot of worries. In my letter, I stated that I wanted to do well, be happy, make friends. As the semester progressed I realized that most of the things I was worried about would happen naturally. One of the changes that I made that I am proud of is not being so ashamed of myself for struggling. I spent so much time feeling like each mistake was the end of the world when in reality it just meant I needed to do something differently. Now that I have had a semester go by I am much more cognizant and self-aware. I have recgonized the things that work for me and the things that don’t. I feel so much more confident know that I am allowing myself to take pride in my accomplishments rather than lament over my failures.
Professionally I have learned that you can’t plan everything. I came here with a set plan and trying to force myself to stay on it caused me so much stress and unhappiness. I understand now that sometimes things go off course and you have to be able to go with the flow. I also have learned how to push through difficult situations and come out stronger.
Going into the next semester, my goal for myself is to push harder to do the things I want and that are best for me. I often found myself doing things for other people that weren’t helping me. I want to gain the confidence to be able to say ‘no’ to things I don’t want to do. I want to be on the path that I choose, doing the things I want.
I’ll end with something that Tazia said to me that really motivated me, “You have to be able to take pride in both your accomplishments and failures.”
Have a good winter break everyone!
Diversity is something that I believe the university is lacking. It is common to see a lack of diversity in classes, yet because many people come from a single-race town so it doesn’t seem so bad. The posters came as a shock to me personally because I had never faced such blatant propaganda. One illustrated an opinion on how refugees suckle at the tit of America and deplete its resources. I almost laughed at the absurdity, but even as I tore it down the hateful message clung to me. How could someone spread such a cruel message? How could people harbor such anger toward an entire group of people without justification?
The university tells us that although they do not support the content of the messages, they support freedom of speech. So I can’t help but wonder, where do my freedoms begin? Am I free in a place where someone else tells me I am genetically inferior? Is it appropriate for me to read that my white mother made a catastrophic mistake by dating my black father? These messages tear apart the identity of our students, but we are expected to uphold and respect the right to be hated.
Students of color can find some solace in student organizations or friend groups. Knowing that you aren’t alone can bring comfort, even while your identity and worth is being attacked. These resources are important when issues like these arise because having community can influence how someone experiences these events. Yet the posters still come up in conversation. I am forced to remember the anger I felt, the shame, the sadness. This is the problem with hate speech. No matter what it says, or how incorrect it may be it is damaging. For this, I want to say I’m sorry to every student negatively impacted by these people’s decision to abuse their rights. I think the only way to create a better environment is to actively teach that just because you have the freedom to say something doesn’t mean you should. It is important to not group entire communities together, this is how bias happens. When you stop seeing people as they are due to preconceived beliefs, you miss out on important aspects of their character. As future healthcare professionals, we have to be able to take any bias out of our mind to properly treat patients. Viewing each person as an individual who deserves respect creates a more inclusive and accepting environment for everyone.
My questions for you all are: Do you think that freedom of speech should encompass hate speech? What restrictions should be in place to prevent messages like these from infiltrating a supposedly safe learning environment?