If I could go back to freshman year and tell myself anything, I would tell myself to be prepared for anything and everything. It may sound cliché but I think that is what I needed to hear before I began the semester. In high school, I took a lot of AP and honors courses and I did a lot of extracurricular activities. Balancing these things, I figured college couldn’t be that much harder than what I had been doing for the past few years. I also felt that the beginning of the first semester was “easy” so I got comfortable in doing the bare minimum. By the end of the semester, when the workload began to pick up, I was completely caught off guard and quite frankly, had no idea what to do. I guess I would tell myself to not only be prepared, but to also not get too comfortable. I would also tell myself to prepare for the big culture shock that I was about to experience. Coming to Michigan, I can definitely tell that not everyone was raised the same way or grew up with the same background as I did. Especially, with the election, it was definitely shocking to find out what some people believed and valued. It took me a while to adjust to these differences. However, in a way, it helped me with what I will have to deal with in my future career.
This semester has been both everything I expected and nothing like I expected at the same time. Before the semester started, I knew I would struggle with some of my classes, but I knew that I would be able to focus and push myself to overcome my struggles. In my letter, I reminded myself to not get overwhelmed and lose focus. Although I did not lose focus, there were many times when I felt overwhelmed. I am most proud of myself for maintaining a balance between academics, fun, extracurricular activities, and still finding time for myself. In my letter, I also prewarned myself about how anxious BioChem would make me and I was dead on. Next semester, I want to make sure that I do not get comfortable and slack off in the middle of the semester. This semester, after I passed my first exams, I got a little cocky and slacked off on my studies. When it was time to take my second exams, I felt unprepared. Although I passed those as well, I learned my lesson. Next semester, I also want to learn to study and retain info throughout the semester, rather than waiting until exam time to study. I have changed professionally by being more open to the different fields of medicine available to me. Before coming to Michigan, I thought my career and education journey was set in stone. However, after going to my observation, I realized I needed to explore more fields before I spend a lot of money and time on something I do not find interesting.
When most people hear the word health, I’m sure the first words associated would be hospital or doctor. As we learned in class, however, there are so many other factors that contribute to our overall health. The social determinants of health are just as important as being treated as a hospital. Some of the social determinants we learned about in health include education and biology/genes.
Education has always been stressed in my family. As a daughter of U of M alumni, my parents have always taught me and my sisters that the world is much more open in terms of opportunities afforded to you with a higher education. Being a part of the working-class community, my parents can provide our family with health insurance that allows us to get both necessary and elective health benefits. Along with access to health insurance, education has also my family to practice healthier behaviors. Looking at other family members who do not have college degrees, I can visibly tell the difference in health practices, such as homemade meals versus fast food almost every day. Because with higher education comes a higher income bracket, my parents are often the people they go to when they need something. I guess one bright side of my parents being the high-income earners in the family is that our house is usually the go-to house for events and celebrations.
A social determinant that affects me negatively would be the biology structure of my family. My dad’s side of the family is prone to high cholesterol and heart disease. In 2004, my dad, unfortunately, suffered a mild heart attack. As a result, my family now must take extra precautions when to choose what to eat and I get my cholesterol checked more often than others.
What do you guys think is the most prominent, or biggest social determinant affecting this generation?