Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Glaring With Your Mouth?

For some reason, I woke up at 6:30 today. As I sat in bed, I contemplated joining the running club as they trekked around the campus, but then I remembered something very important. I remembered that I actually do love myself, and getting out of my comfortable 60 degree room and going running in the humid 80 degree weather on a sunny day is not exactly my idea of a good time.

We strolled to breakfast as a proctor group (I have to restrain myself from calling them a cohort as I have been using that term so often in the last few months) and grabbed our food. It's actually really nice to have people that I know very well (in other words, my cohort) around me as the people here formed groups very quickly (it's only really the second full day!) and infiltrating those groups during a meal to try to make new connections is as good as impossible. It's a lot easier in our main class and in our ArĂȘte extracurricular class, and when I'm there I make an effort to speak to new people.

So, I sat with Gwennie and Katherine, while Arnold sat with some of the people from his proctor group. As we discussed yesterday's scavenger hunt, Gwennie made some scathing remark about some injustice she witnessed from another group. Katherine commented that Gwennie was "Glaring with your mouth!" and none of us could get over how well that encompassed what she was doing at that moment. (Side note: it gets increasingly hard to come up with interesting blog titles as time goes by, so we take every opportunity we have to figure out a halfway decent one throughout the day)

By nine, we filed out of the commons to where Zach, the M.H.S (Medicine, Health and Society) TA was standing. He took attendance and led us to Wyatt Hall, where Ms. Talley was waiting for us. We delved deeper into the topics we covered yesterday. I feel that the most interesting part of our discussion was when we covered medicalization. I had never heard of the term before, but it basically means that a condition has been accepted as a disease. Before the medicalization of it, it was thought to be the fault of the person experiencing it. By "medicalizing" the as yet unexplained disease, it shifts the authority over to a medical professional who then decides the condition and the treatment that follows. I suggested that this process doesn't necessarily remove the stigma involved with the disease (I brought up AIDS to support my claim), but it normalizes it slightly more. The next step down from that is a syndrome, which means that the ailment has started going through the process of medicalization and is technically recognized by people in the medical profession, but nobody really understands it yet.   

We then covered Cartesian dualism, which, as I understand it, is the idea that there is a clear separation between the mind and the body. While this allows for many medical advancements by focusing on the body, this means that many of the patient's overall experiences that may be contributing to the patient's overall experience may be overlooked. In the article we read, "The Mindful Body: A Prolegomenon to Future Work in Medical Anthropology" there was an example that outlined this very well. In it, a woman was brought before a crowd of first year medical students. She was plagued by headaches, and explained that her son was dropping out of school soon, she was emotionally and physically abused by her husband, and she was basically forced to care for her bedridden mother-in-law. In the middle of her explanation she was interrupted by a student who shouted out "But doctor...what are the cause of her headaches?" Reading about this was incredibly frustrating, as most people go into the medical profession to help people, and this just seems like the desire to help is being systematically trained out of them. Ms. Talley explained this phenomenon. There is something called "transference" where doctors connect with their patients and become too emotionally attached to them to the point where their judgement is clouded when it comes to making tough decisions about health.

We were to finish the chapters assigned yesterday in class today, but I had gotten through most of it yesterday in study hall. I finished in about fifteen minutes, which Ms. Talley and Zach didn't quite expect. So, I was handed an article that we were supposed to read parts of after lunch, and finished it as well. After lunch, we came back and she assigned us parts of the article to read and present. I was allowed to choose my favorite section since I had read all of them. Zach placed me into a group with Katherine and Andrey, a student that is originally from Russia, but lives in Tennessee. We sped through planning our presentation, and once again, I asked Ms. Talley for something to do. I feel kind of bad that I am sort of throwing off her schedule since I finish early. She told me that I should start bringing something to do in my downtime to class since she can't alter the curriculum for one person, which I totally understand. So, I chose to start blogging, which is why this is going to be posted a lot earlier than I normally post. I do feel like blogging is becoming rather therapeutic, and a good way to decompress after a long day.
While I may be a little cut off, this was one of my
favorite pictures of the night due to the less than
photogenic faces we're making.

Arete was more interesting today. We did a lot of "storytelling" improv exercises, many of which I have been exposed to in previous theatre classes. There is a 40 minute break where we have free time, so the cohort took advantage of it by trying to find the item  hidden by A House that is worth house points. After traversing campus digging through bushes and looking rather strange, Gwennie discovered the tiny plastic lamp, holding it aloft victoriously. We went to dinner soon afterwards, and planned out what we were planning on doing for "SOFT Night" (Sign Out Free Time) The rules for the night are fairly simple. We must stay within a certain distance of campus that the proctors patrol, and keep our lanyards on so that we are easily identifiable. We invited people that weren't part of our cohort to come with us, but they all decided to go with other people, So, since Arnold has been desperate for a haircut for the last week, so we prioritized finding him a place that was still open at that 7 PM. We also were all craving ice cream, so when we found a salon across from Ben and Jerry's we knew that our night would go smoothly, and we would be back before nine, as promised. We rushed into the salon and asked to get his hair cut, then walked the 40 feet to Ben and Jerry's, which was overflowing with other VSA students. It got to the point where when I saw a teenager in there without a lanyard I almost had the urge to ask them where their lanyard was, and why they weren't wearing it, when in reality, they were just normal people that lived in Nashville.
This is Wyatt, the building where M.H.S is held. I took this on the way back from our
At nine, we had our daily proctor group meeting, where we recapped what we did with our free time, and then mentioned our "Rose, Rosebud and Thorns" where we shared a good thing that happened that day, something we were looking forward to, and something that went wrong. Going out for a few hours was the highlight of the day (aside from our class discussions, which are wonderful!) and the thing I am looking forward to the most is experiencing 24 hours in a wheelchair. I feel really lucky that the worst thing to happen to me recently is that I stepped in some mud and got it all over my foot, which isn't exactly a major problem. Then we had a "Riff-off" where we split into two groups of five, had Victoria suggest a theme word, and then went back and forth between our groups singing songs that incorporated that word. After that, we all left Victoria's room so that she could get some sleep. I'm sure that being head of V house is makes for a rather strenuous day!

Sofi was not in our room and I didn't really want to sit in my room alone, so I headed down to the third floor to Katherine's room. We blasted some jazz, listened to a musical theatre soundtrack as well as some A Capella arrangements. Our music tastes are essentially identical, which makes it easy to introduce new songs to the other person, since chances are, they will enjoy it. Between working on our blogs and listening to music Katherine and I were discussing how close we have gotten as a cohort in what is essentially only eleven days. If we count the interview, the school board meeting, orientation, the brunch and the info session as well as the last six days, we haven't really spent all that much time together, but I feel like they're practically part of my family now. It is wonderful to have more people that I can really connect with.
That was a sappy ending, I know. 

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