To my former self,
Relax. I know you’re nervous. Don’t be. While this new chapter in life called college seems daunting now. It’s not as bad as you think. You will get lost on the way to class almost every day for the first few weeks. It’s normal, and it even happens again second semester. One piece of advice is learn to say yes. While you might think that extra two hours of cramming will help, it usually will not make a difference. Learn to say yes to opportunities and have fun, even if it is the night before an exam. You will regret not having fun way more than losing a few points on your test. While you might feel as though your study habits are horrible,you will develop them. In fact, by the end of this year, you will be very proud of how you’ve done. Develop relationships with your professors, they are amazing people. And most of them genuinely care about you. While talking to GSI’s might feel easier, the professor’s can become lifelong mentors if you build the right relationship. Take your time, have fun, and chill out; because before you know it, in the blink of an eye, the year will be over.
P.S. Organic Chemistry is not impossible and Kathleen Nolta is a walking saint.
Watching the movie Unnatural Causes made me think about inequities in a new way. Much of what was said echoes my Anthropology 101 class. We learned both in class and the movie how inequities are largely racially based. However, these inequities resulted from systemic racism by our government through the formation of policies throughout history that put African-Americans at a disadvantage. A specific example from the movie was the GI bill after World War II. The bill was passed to provide housing for soldiers and their families once they returned from war. However, this bill was not afforded to African-American soldiers. Over time, most of these families wealth became tied to the property they owned and thus, white families began to accumulate wealth in a way African-Americans could not resulting in a massive wealth inequity which still exists today. And as the movie mentioned several times, economic security plays a large role in the amount of stress a family has to deal with.
In order to remedy this inequity along with the many others, we need policies in place that motivate the fortunate to help the disadvantaged. I feel as though many policies fail because the people in power feel as though passing a bill to help the less fortunate somehow takes money away from them. Overcoming this “us against them” mindset is key in order to move towards change.
My question to you all is, “Do you believe in our current political climate we have the ability to reach health/economic equity?”
This semester has been one of the most formative four months in my life. When I think back to the person I was in September, that person looks unrecognizable. The primary theme throughout my letter to myself was how scared I was. I was scared of everything. Scared of classes, scared that none of my classes had posted a syllabus yet, scared that everyone is smarter than me. I was just very afraid of what my freshman year might hold in store. As the semester went by I began to find a groove. I was managing my course load comfortably and doing fairly well in my classes. Mainly, I was thrilled I did not take Organic Chemistry. However, I still felt as though I did not fit in at this university. As I began to get the swing of things I decided to join some clubs such as IASA, DMUM, and Alternative Spring Break. This was when everything changed.
For the first time in my life, I was participating in a club and actually enjoying it. I am most proud that I threw myself into new situations and got out of my comfort zone. In high school, extra curricular’s were mainly application builders for college but here, it is different. I realized through my own experiences as well as the Panel in UC that college is about doing things you enjoy. Join clubs you’re interested in. You don’t have to do research if you don’t want to. College is a time of exploration and I have begun doing just that. Exploring what I want for myself in the future.
However, this semester was not all sunshine and rainbows. My study habits are still severely lacking as I found myself often overloaded with work at certain points due to my procrastination. I really hope to figure this out as next semester the dreaded Organic chemistry will arrive.
The concerning events that took place over the past few weeks have brought the issue of racism to the forefront of our thoughts. At almost the exact time, my Anthropology class learned about race. In reality, race is completely false. It is solely a social construct fabricated by colonialism. Humans share around 99% of their DNA with chimps proving how little biological differences exist. In addition, the idea of racial groups based on skin color is foolish as skin tone is based on latitudinal position with people closer to the equator having darker skin to protect from UV radiation. While race might be false, racism is very real. Racism creates a hierarchy of races seeing certain groups as lesser. In the past, this has led to discrimination and slavery. However, even today, at a campus like the University of Michigan where students are seen as smart and well-educated, race continues to a controversial issue. Events like what took place in Angell hall remind us of the great distance we still have to travel to defeat racial discrimination.
Global health is another topic we have discussed in my Anthropology class. When, the videos we watched told us how many women in Sub-Saharan Africa sought traditional healers rather than doctors I was not surprised at all. In Anthro we have read of numerous peoples around the world who believe in some sort of nontraditional healing. The Yanomami of Brazil see shamans that use hekura spirits to cure illness. The Azande of South Sudan practice witchcraft and sorcery. While these methods might seem foolish to a group of future medical professionals it is important to view these practices in context. While these healers might not actually provide medical treatment, they absolutely restore emotional confidence to their patients and many times that can help the process of recovery. In addition, many of these peoples have other reasons for death outside of illness. When any person dies in the Azande, it is never due to chance. Witchcraft is the root of all misfortune. Witchcraft is a social function that promotes order and respect as it is only committed by the people you have angered. My Anthropology class has opened my eyes to seeing topics such as race as medicine in new ways.