Thursday, July 16, 2015

Step Back to Move Forward

As with yesterday's post, I am beginning to adjust. Class continues to pick at our brains and challenges us to think from different cultural perspectives in relation to health, but also we are encouraged to question everything. Meal times are becoming more close with the cohort and new friends. Arete is also great with all the fun activities we get to do and the many laughs we get out of it.
The Commons
'Cause me and Katherine were
kind of matching today. #Vandy
Focusing more on the class, I'll entail some of what we immersed ourselves into today. For one, we delved more in-depth with a Southeast Asian group, the Hmong (pronounced Mong) while examining their cultural values and their role in their perception of health. They are a group we look at to better understand this class's point of view on health in Western society. For example, knowing more of them allowed for us to better understand a better model towards healthcare: LEARN (Listen, Acknowledge, Explain, Recommend, and Negotiate). In particular, it values a cultural competence around groups in regards to healthcare. For example, the Hmong conduct spiritual practices that involve sacrificing animals, ancestral guidance, the belief of animism, and having a shaman enter the spirit world through a trance. These things are obviously extremely different from the standard that Western medicine was placed, however, it is something that interferes with the Hmong's beliefs and practices. It might seem out of the ordinary to contemplate, but the beauty of this class is that it takes an anthropological approach into understanding cultures for the sake of knowing how to work with patients with different backgrounds.

Something else we learned, on the other hand, was Cultural and Biomedical Hegemony. In essence, these concepts are viewed as different ways in which a certain type of thing in society has overpowered and been exalted to be the standard of our Western society. Though the structures that are placed to implement this dominant is quite more in-depth, this scratched the surface and shows how manipulative society can be upon its people. This creates the illusion for the general public that the way things are working is normal. It favors the richer, ruling class at the expense of others. This entails many more things such as Big Pharmaceutical companies as well ass through mass communications (media), education systems, organized religion, marriage, popular culture, and many more topics. As you might be able to infer, this class really breaks through the boundaries of what we see as normal in society. It makes me much more content with choosing this class. It's actually making me consider what I might want to do throughout my collegiate studies and beyond. Perhaps I may minor in Anthropology. Maybe I'll stick to other interests, like Global Studies, International Development, International Relations, Human Biology and Society, and Media. There's a lot this class entails that opens doors of what I might want to study, actually.

What we do with free time...! From left to right:
Savannah, Zach (our TA), Hummd, Mike, and Angel
As great as class is, one of the challenges, particularly at VSA, is effectively skimming through reading. Today, however, I found that it helped me stay focused in class after transcending into a wonderful sleep during one of our breaks during class. I got to the rather comfortable couch entering the Wyatt Building, and drifted off for a while. Also, during another break we got to play with a few things Monte (our professor) brought. A group of students got together for some old fashioned Four Square, For a good while, it was fun, before it was time to head back. It was refreshing, though. Maybe we should have more breaks. Both of them today were awesome.

On another note, after about two days, we get another SOFT (Sign Our Free Time) Night! That means free time. Free time means sleep. I, however, am deciding to work on today's blog and just get some time to chill, watch videos, and to get things done so that I'm not stressing tonight. Aside from today at VSA in general, I came to look at school again. Having just touched upon possible studies, over and over again, I see myself running in loops always thinking about college and where I should go, possible majors to pursue, possible schools, etc. After watching one of those motivational videos you can find online, however, I see myself feeling further renewed and thinking about how I can improve on myself right now. The video mentioned something about connecting the dots in your past, though- not of your future. One's future is yet to come, so it makes sense to stick to the present. With this experience (and all the work that comes with being in this VSA program) I am thinking about how I just have to make sure I keep it up. I'm adjusting, as I mentioned in my previous blog, and what better way to adjust than to keep up a good work ethic? As a result, I feel slightly more centered again, with some more motivation in keeping up with my reads. Anyway, that's that. All I can try to train my brain to do it to take things one step at a time. On that note, I'm about to read some before our nightly proctor meeting. That's a wrap for today, though. More to come soon!
A look at my view to class

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