Response to: Is Hope a Bad Thing?

Sakshi’s post Is Hope a Bad Thing? provoked my thinking as she highlighted the line “He told himself: hope is a gateway drug, don’t do it” (Whitehead, 222). That line had not stuck out to me before, so I am glad Sakski brought my attention to it. As I went back to the text to look up the context of the quote, the already dark line became even more gloomy. In this section, the skels were encroaching on Mark Spitz’s hide out with Margie, Tad and Jerry. His stay with these three was a rather hopeful blip in his otherwise depressing life. He felt as if the four of them were almost a family, as “he was trapped in this house and he couldn’t think of where else he’d rather be” (Whitehead, 224). However, as the theme of this novel persists, all good things must come to an end and the skels eventually end up invading the house and the group separates. Prior to their disbanding, Mark Spitz had agreed to stay with the trio after the skels left and they were not trapped anymore. This glimpse at family and companionship in the midst of the plague was a glimmer of hope Mark Spitz allowed himself to enjoy, even against the warning to himself. Through his various experiences portrayed in the novel, Mark Spitz learned that hope only makes the disappointment worse when life comes crashing down, as seen when his relationship with Margie, Tad and Jerry comes to an end.

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The Complexity of Human Identity and Disease

Navigating through the flashbacks and complex vocabulary of Zone One proved to be a difficult path. Coupled with the fact that it centered on zombies did not necessarily make Whitehead’s novel my favorite read. Nevertheless,the plague’s devastating symptoms weave into the course’s analysis of human identity. Genna’s post, Identity and Disease, helped me to identify this theme in Zone One. Her disclaimer at the beginning of the post stating that she wrote it prior to reading Zone One actually helped me to frame my thinking to consider the novel’s relation to her ideas while reading her post.

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The Power of Social Media

Scrolling through Facebook, I stumbled upon a link shared by an old friend of mine who is currently in the Peace Corps. Her posts always catch my eye, as she is stationed in Senegal and frequently posts pictures of her trip. However, this post caught my eye for a different reason–it discussed the precautions individuals should make when posting pictures from their trips abroad. I immediately saved the link for a future blog post, as it reminded me of our in class discussions and our future collective course statement on medical voluntourism.

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Implications of the God Complex

After undergoing years of expensive training at selective medical schools, it is almost expected that a doctor would finish with not only a degree, but a feeling of superiority. Those outside of the medical profession often regard these doctors as highly knowledgeable as well. Our discussion from class about doctors’ God complex made me question the implications of holding physicians on such a high pedestal. In reading Avery’s post, “The ‘God Complex’ and Doctors”, I began to think of the negative effects that occur from regarding doctors as an omniscient being. Continue reading “Implications of the God Complex”

Integrating Medical Cultures


In reading Alyssa’s blog post, Home Remedies, she discusses different familial home remedies used in different cultures, such as a special soup when an individual is sick. Other cultural home remedies I have used came to my mind, such as sitting in front of a pot of boiling water to let the steam clear your sinuses, drinking orange juice when you feel a cold coming on, and a cold washcloth on your forehead for a fever. Although these home remedies have some medical backing, they are common treatments passed down through family generations. Different cultures have different home remedies in their cultures. When looking at different families in different cultures, each family will have different remedies when approaching healthcare. These different cultures have different healing practices deep-seated into their society. When medical care from different cultures come in contact with each other, integrating the different medical techniques is often difficult based on the ingrained cultural meaning behind the medical practices. Continue reading “Integrating Medical Cultures”

The Price to Get Ahead

Looking at the most current data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), in 2017, less than 50% of applicants that applied to medical school matriculated with a medical school (21,030/53,402). The number of applicants does not even reflect the actual number of those wishing to continue their education in medical school–many other students are unable to apply because they need to pass the prerequisite courses, maintain a competitive GPA, or achieve a good MCAT score. Additionally, high school students, aspiring to be future physicians, attempt to maintain a high GPA and above average SAT scores to apply to schools with programs geared towards pre-meds. With so many high schools students and undergraduate students wanting to pursue a career in medicine, it takes more than just statistics such as their GPA and test scores to reach that goal. Many undergraduate colleges and medical schools look for experiences in medicine that set these applicants apart. Continue reading “The Price to Get Ahead”

Dark Usage of the English Language

The more one looks into racism, the more prevalent it appears. From investigating racism further in this class, I was astonished at the profound effect it has on many disciplines. Its integration into literature and the English language in particular is astonishing. Max’s description in class of the field of gynecology being “dark” sparked my further investigation into terms in English that have racist backgrounds. When I looked up the word “dark”, I found various definitions: “gloomily pessimistic”, “a situation characterized by tragedy, unhappiness, or unpleasantness”, and “not fair in complexion” (Merriam-Webster). Continue reading “Dark Usage of the English Language”

Ignorance vs. Knowledge

In brainstorming potential collective course statements, I saw repetition of a common idea: increasing knowledge is essential. Grace, Jennifer, Sabrina, Emma, myself, and other classmates all emphasized that a vital takeaway from this course is that we should increase learning to create societal change.  This necessary increase in knowledge is overwhelming. Faced with the impossible task of attempting to learn everything conflicts with the common saying–“ignorance is bliss”. Is ignorance bliss? Or is knowledge power? Continue reading “Ignorance vs. Knowledge”

The Question of Consent

When presented with the word consent, I think of the diverse usage of the word in different situations–consent between partners engaging in intimate relationships, consent for a company to use a photo, consent for a researcher to study an individual’s demographic data, and consent for organ donation after death. The amount of situations that require consent is overwhelming. However, respecting individuals requires consent. Blindly taking action can easily offend someone or cross their personal boundaries.

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The Power of Methyl Groups

By Sunita Singh

A methyl group is one of the simplest molecules of organic chemistry. In my organic chemistry class sophomore year, this is one of the few concepts I could firmly grasp. As I went on to my Genetics and Heredity classes, I was especially interested on the profound effect methyl groups can have on gene expression. When I saw epigenetics was the topic of Grandma’s Experiences Leave a Mark on Your Genes, I was excited to revisit the subject. Continue reading “The Power of Methyl Groups”