Just so you know,
Things are going to change. A lot. You can’t predict what you will feel or how you should react. You can’t predict how your first year is going to play out-so don’t try to. But, here are a few tips. Switch out of that 8:30 lab while you have the chance (you are not actually a morning person despite what you like to believe). Go with the flow! Getting sleep will help with this. Actually, get more sleep than you think you need, and don’t listen to your friends who make fun of you for sleeping in until 1:30pm because you’ll need it! Also, try not to get addicted to coffee. Always keep food in your backpack and find pretty places to study. Laugh until you cry with your friends in the private dining section of MoJo, but also know that it’s okay to cry even if it’s not from laughter (spoiler alert: college is stressful!) Realize that things that were normal at your high school may seem really fucking weird to your new friends, and vice versa, but don’t change yourself for anyone. Ever. Be organized, but don’t be discouraged if you feel like your life is a little scattered from time to time. Sure, plan your days, but not your whole year. Plan to make check lists and small obtainable goals, plan to call your mom and dad, plan to find time for yourself, to read and to dance and to take an hour long shower if you want to, plan to walk everywhere so make a good few playlists, and plan to be a good, kind, and honest person. These things are important. Chances are, if you can’t control something directly you shouldn’t try to. In the long run, it won’t be worth it, and you’ll realize that everything has a way of working itself out.
In the film we watched, we learned about the many negative health factors caused by stress. While knowing that stress is bad for your health is not news, I believe that many of us were surprised to learn how. Of course, some stress is good as it motivates us to succeed. Stress is often caused by the fear of failure and in an academic setting it is clear how having a reasonable amount of stress is healthy. After-all, stress is caused by the release of the hormone cortisol and as we have been told many times, hormone imbalance is natural. A college campus is naturally a stressful place at times; we walk into the library during mid terms or finals and can tell by the mere atmosphere that our peers are stressed. Often I feel comforted by knowing that the people around me are experience similar levels of stress and beyond that I know that others are comforted by the multitude of resources made available to students.
However, not everyone has access to support circles, and coping mechanisms that are so prevalent on current college campuses across the country. Because stress can be subjective, everyone responds to it differently and therefore it is difficult operationalize. It is not possible to say that person A is under more stress than person B because stress can each individual differently. Because stress is so hard to define, I grapple with how some areas have more support for individuals than others. So often we are hear “suck it up” or “at least…” but stress is a real problem and causes real problems. Due to stigma against stress and other mental health factors, such problems are not taken seriously. Stress can happen to anyone, anywhere and for that reason I see it is vital we strive toward creating more ways to help people cope and manage stress that is unfortunately, a part of life. My question to you is what resources do you think should be made available across the country to battle this problem and how do you propose we implement them?
Although there are many groups who suffer from health disparities, the LGBTQ community is one that suffers a great deal in regards to health care and biases. As the article we read proved, there are inequalities in healthcare, and while they may be unintended society, especially health care providers needs to be aware of such discrimination and work together to end it.
One thing that stuck out to me in lecture was that is there is a great bias against bisexuals then people who identify themselves as lesbian or gay. Until very recently, being bisexual was thought to be a made up identify and as a result this specific community suffered more so than others. One example showing how bisexuals are not only treated differently from the straight community but also from those of gay or lesbian identities was that bisexuals are said to get worse treatment in areas specific to mental health and well being; some sources even say that bisexuals fall victim to drug abuse than to others of the LGBTQ community. Many health disparities such as this stem from unconscious bias towards out groups, and since the LBGTQ community is only 2-10% of the population they are especially at risk of health disparities. One way to fix this is to break the social stigma of being gay, bisexual, gender fluid, queer, or anything.
One negative thing I hear quite often is that people choose to be in this group for attention. This creates huge judgments and inequalities and is frankly not true. If more people were to understand the genetic background of being part of the LGBTQ community I believe there would be less disparities.
So, my question to you as future health providers is what do you think is the best way to break the stigma against the LGBTQ community and decrease health disparities?