The saying is true: you only have one first year. This slightly contradictory sounding, but completely correct saying has been the collective feeling for me this year. Because of this I tried to make the most of my first year and all of its wonderment and fear. Yet, in the process of making the most of things there were still mistakes made. If I could go back and tell my freshman self some information that would be beneficial, it would be that they should not be afraid to open up to people. Over this whole year I have been going through trying to build friends with everyone and it has allowed me some great friendships but I have always had a problem with getting close to people. If I had known that this was ok and that I need to just not focus on this fear, I would be able to enhance many of my current relationships that I currently have. Even with this minor bump that occurred in the beginning of the year I have had a great year and there is no other way that I would have wanted to spend my first year in this community and at this university.
The University of Michigan is one that leads the field in multiple areas such as research and public health but I believe that there is always room for improvement with mental health. The university currently invests a lot of money in services such as CAPS, Wolverine Wellness and SAPAC all of which address aspects of mental health and ways to help with issues that would leave the students grappling with possible mental illness. These mental health services are a great first step and are essential to mental health on campus
With all that being said there is still quite a few issues. One of which is that a lot of students do not know where these things are or even that some of these things exist. For me personally I did not know that Wolverine Wellness did anything with mental health until last week. The university should show students what they need to do to schedule appointments with these places as well as show the students where to go for these places. These small improvements to show the students the accessibility of the mental health resources could help to mitigate the idea that students “do not have enough time to go” to places to CAPS, Wolverine Wellness, or SAPAC.
As for ways to improve student’s mental health outside of the campus, this is difficult to do because the university cannot directly influence this as it can within its own campus. A possible way to make an impact outside of its campus could be to ask the parents of the students to ask their child who is at school about their mental health and how they feel.
How would you improve mental health on our campus? Or do you think that the universities current system is fairly comprehensive?
“Dit is het einde” is the only way I can explain this time period right now. This is Dutch for this is the end and this simple sentence holds all of the feelings that have welled up over the whole semester. Change is a big thing for kids going to college and college makes sure to prompt it as much as possible. The ability to change and adapt is something that we all need to learn. For me personally I have changed because I see that I have gained a whole new group of friends through the openness of the community that I found among the Health Science Scholars Program. This personal growth was necessary in the new setting of a large university especially since I knew no one really coming into college not knowing anyone in the program. Professionally I see that I have changed as well. I came in with a plan on what I wanted for my career to be and then within a few months that idea weakened and fell apart seeing the variety of things to do in college and the experience that happened in some classes. Thanks to other classes I reconciled and made a new route that seems to fit much better than my original path.
If I have to pick an accomplishment that I am proud of was my ability to survive and enjoy the material that was presented in organic chemistry. This class is one of the classes that can make or break a people in college and I feel that I have handled it well.
I was interested when I opened the letter to myself because I saw that I wrote that “orgo will be hard but you can make it through orgo” that made me happy to hear because even from the beginning I was feeling that I could do this class and I was smart enough to do the classes here at the University of Michigan. This confidence is something that I will need to work on next semester. Because a person will always get farther with confidence than with fear. Know these things I am ready for next semester as well as the long road ahead that is the rest of college.
A current heath issue that affects many individuals is the plague of cancer. This awful disease takes loved ones from many families. Yet, minorities are affected by cancer more often than their white counter parts. It is estimated that the incidence rate of cancer is 10% higher in African Americans than it is for their white counterparts. Health disparities like this can be modeled along a framework called the Social Ecological Model (SEM). This framework helps to show how public policy, community, organizational, interpersonal, and intrapersonal reasons all relate in an aspect of health, whether that be a solution to a health issue or a health disparity. Using the health disparity of cancer within the African American community it can be seen that various aspects of the SEM that these factors can be used to perpetuate this disparity. On an intrapersonal level the lack of knowledge about cancer within the African American community than in the white community perpetuates this disparity. The lack of knowledge of this disease leads to less recognition of the early symptoms that could lead to effective treatment and less awareness to risk activities that could cause cancer. On an interpersonal level, African American families are less supportive during an illness than their white counterparts in order to breed the idea of making individuals tough. This inadequate support system will drive African Americans to not seek support for cancer and other cancer related high risk behaviors. Lastly, on an organizational level there is little support for individuals and little to no resources for individuals affected by cancer or high cancer risk behavior. These different ways that this awful health disparity are perpetuated exemplify areas that we as a society should strive to change and support.
These health disparities that affect minorities do not have to be a permeant. We as health care professionals can lead the charge in the elimination of health disparities. This could be done on many levels of the SEM. One way would be on the community level by giving cancer screenings through social organizations such as a church or a community organization. This intervention at the community level could increase awareness of this awful disease within the African American community and the cancer screenings could detect early signs of this disease allowing for early treatment and survival against cancer. The higher treatment and survival rate would be a good step in the right direction to improving this health disparity. As health professionals we all hope to do the best for our patients and their wellbeing; no matter their race, gender identity, sexuality, or any other factor.