This is already my final blog post, and it’s weird to see how fast this semester has gone. I first want to thank Professor McCoy and all of you who are reading this for inspiring me by expressing your thoughts, connections, and interpretations of all the literature we have read and the topics we have discussed this semester. As a biology major, there isn’t very much opportunity or need for me to stray from taking heavily-science based classes or other curriculums that are required to help prepare me for MCATs. Although I did take this class initially due to its incorporation of the topic of medicine, I feel that I found value in learning about literature and how to interpret and talk about such works through this class.

Along with this class, I also took Humn I this semester, so I was definitely reading a lot more creative literature than I’m used to. I’m writing a final essay for that class at the moment, and it has given me a chance to talk about how Humn I could be relevant to our lives. My thesis involves the fact that the class gives us the opportunity to speak about our existence and human morals that are reflected through the classical literature we have covered, and I feel that this class has done the same. I feel that both classes involve the idea of being aware about anything besides yourself, even if it’s a little bit. Continue reading “Reflection”

How Hard Is Perfect?

In Zone One, Mark Spitz deals with a feeling of mediocrity throughout his childhood and adult life. He describes himself as a B-student, always meeting just the minimum to scoot by without worry of failure or high expectations for above-average achievement, “He was not made team captain, nor was he the last one picked. He sidestepped detention and honor rolls with equal aplomb.” (Whitehead, 11) Although Mark Spitz describes himself as mediocre, we can see through his talent at demolishing the plagued zombies of this new world that he isn’t as mediocre as he likes to believe. The other day I came across a piece of information discussing what is called the “imposter syndrome” and I immediately thought of Mark Spitz. Continue reading “How Hard Is Perfect?”

“life got in the way”

When I was writing my final self-evaluation for this class, I was trying to write what I thought about my attention to blog posts. After writing about how my quality of work has changed and grown since the beginning of the semester for a sentence or two, I then went on to talk about my pacing and said, “I tried stay on top of my blog posts at the beginning of the semester, but life got in the way,” and for some reason this really stuck out to me after I wrote it down. Continue reading ““life got in the way””

Disparity in Pain Management due to Racial Biases

Earlier in the semester, we listened to a podcast that shed light on the “backfire effect” which is the idea that people who hold deeply rooted opinions are not going to change even when presented facts. Rather, these facts actually make the person feel more confident in themselves because they doubt the source of information. Myth-based beliefs and biases can be stronger than proven ones. Eventually however, when presented with enough mounting evidence, people eventually come around and accept the new fact as true. This last caveat is important as it ultimately means that ignorance can be overshadowed by truth, as it just takes a patient, concerted effort.

Blacks and whites have experienced systematically different treatment by the medical community, as outlined in class and class readings. However, more seemingly benign disparities that were never mentioned in class add up. For example, black Americans have been proven to be under treated for pain relative to whites. While this is not the workings of a certain entity trying to systematically oppress blacks for no reason, it has been systemic nonetheless. This manifests itself in part because physicians might assume that black patients are more likely to abuse the medication, or because they fail to realize that pain medication is necessary.

A study derived from was conducted at the University of Virginia, and found that the differences in pain medication prescriptions result, in part, from white medical students holding false beliefs about African Americans. In the University study, white medical students were surveyed on whether they believe various beliefs (false) about race and then asked them the pain levels they would associate with different, mock medical scenarios. These false beliefs include that African Americans skin is thicker than whites and that their blood coagulates more quickly. Other false beliefs include that black people’s nerve endings are less sensitive than whites and that blacks age slower than whites (reference to idiom “black don’t crack”). These false beliefs are not predicated on facts, and they can therefore be overrode. In the University study, at least half the sample of white medical students believed in one of the false beliefs stated above. The study ultimately found that those who did not hold any false beliefs did not show any evidence of discrimination in treatment. This suggests that systemic racism, no matter what domain it is found in, can be eliminated, but only after confronting and proving wrong the false belief that predicates it.

The Collective Course Statement Assignment: What I Learned


At the beginning of this course, I was not expecting the collective course statement to take the shape that it did. I imagined it would turn out more like a PowerPoint presentation where we would assemble into our little groups, work on our solutions for a few class days, and then give small group presentations to the whole class via one of Microsoft Office’s oldest pieces of software. However, this is not at all how this project turned out, and I’m so grateful for that.

Continue reading “The Collective Course Statement Assignment: What I Learned”

A Dream Turned Nightmare

As a child I was always interested in novels based around worlds of fantasy and science fiction, anything that showed a spark of magic amidst the boring world of reality. I spent my time reading of heroes conquering beasts and monsters, ending in the hero saving the world or humanity. I always hoped that something out of the ordinary would happen and I, myself, would be presented with the opportunity to be become one of the heroes I idolized. Zone One is an example of one of the stories I would have picked up expecting to experience the journey and toil of a hero overcoming a large otherworldly problem, had I discovered this book on my own I would have been disappointed considering Zone One is the exact opposite.

Mark Spitz talks about how he too had always hoped for an adventurous adult life, “as a kid he’d invented scenarios for adulthood: to outrun a fireball, swing across the air shaft on a wire, dismember a gargoyle army with an enchanted blade that only he could wield.” (Whitehead 244)  It is kind of a sick joke that Mark Spitz gets his adventure, just in the form of a plague that wipes out all of civilization, including those he cares about. This makes me rethink my wish for a life out of the ordinary, I feel a sort of appreciation for how easy I have it. If a zombie plague were to happen right now, I have a pretty good idea of how it would go down for me. I think I would end up returning to my family and try to survive it with them until one us ended up infected. If I were the first one to go, I’d die, but if it was one of my family members I predict we’d all get infected because we’d wait too long trying to live out his or her last moments of life and be bitten. I want to say I’d be a survivor like Mark Spitz and his sweeper unit, but if I want to be true to the novel with my prediction, I know I lack the the willpower to pull the trigger on a walking corpse.

From this joke that Whitehead plays on Mark Spitz’s character I gain a new form of respect for his resilience in the time of the plague. Mark Spitz acknowledges the irony of his situation, but rather than dwell on it he finds humor in it, “All the other kids turned out to be postal workers, roofers, beloved teachers, and died. Mark Spitz was living the Dream! Take a bow, Mark Spitz.” (244) yeah, Mark Spitz is living in the zombie apocalypse, but at least he’s not dead.

Why do we play the race card with children?

Let Black Kids Just Be Kids says that “People of all races see black children as less innocent, more adult-like and more responsible for their actions than their white peers.”

Not My Bone’s by Marilyn Nelson says “I was not this body, I was not these bones, This skeleton was just my temporary home… You can own a man’s body, but you cant own his mind. You are not your body”(25).

When people view others by race, they aren’t accepting their internal characteristics as a human being; especially with children. The internal characteristics that human beings withhold are what should capture another person’s attention the most.If a child isn’t acting in the way that you want them to behave or expect them to behave you can’t really blame them, you can only blame the parents and their environment.

If you are a teacher that has a black student in their class, you shouldn’t teach them or treat them any different from the Asian boy or the white girl in the class. In doing so you are only reciprocating to societies standards and not improving yourself as another human being on this planet. We are all human, live on the same planet and in order to continue sharing the environment in which we all live in, we have to learn that we are not our bodies.

We can’t continue to place our complexions in to categories and separate people economically and financially just by their appearance.

Black children are just as innocent as white children. Children are children. The issue that I think that this article is pointing at is that white children happen to be a lot more protected in regard to money or opportunities. As of 2014 according to Black Demographics, “African American Income”, majority of African Americans make between $35,000-$100,000 a year. White household incomes according to “Demographic trends and economic well-being”, make between “$50,000-100,000”.

White households have a head start on making higher salaries because many happen to have money passed down to them. Many happen to get in to better universities, can afford to attend high end schools and programs from a young age. The list goes on, but historically African Americans are still at a disadvantage for opportunity and are still treated differently from white people.

These differences shouldn’t create a deviate the treatment towards any one, especially children. White and black children are innocent no matter what their conditions are like.

Like Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.”


Communicating With Others

While reflecting on the various class activities of this semester and the purpose behind them, I found myself relating this to my workplace, and the manner in which I am expected to behave and the values I am expected to embody. Some of these values coincide with the strategies and skills we learned or grew upon through the activities and class work of this semester. In the first weeks of class, Dr. McCoy showed us the purpose behind getting to know each other’s names. Continue reading “Communicating With Others”

7,000 bodies deep

Beneath the southern surface of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, 7000 bodies were found. According to “Up To 7,000 Bodies Found Buried Beneath University Of Mississippi Medical Center” about 80 years ago, the State Lunatic Asylum had shut down due to constant causes of death such as “tuberculosis, strokes, heart attack, and occasional epidemics of yellow fever and influenza.”

This article correlates with Zone One by Colson Whitehead because in the novel there are dead bodies everywhere either walking zombies or dead bodies outspread everywhere. The University of Mississippi Medical Center is dealing with a similar situation in that they have discovered what I imagine to be the same amount of bodies as in Zone One. As all of the deaths in the Asylum were from painful diseases, I would imagine that the zombies too went through a painful process to become who they’ve become in Zone One.

Despite the fact that the dead bodies are about 80 years old now, the correlation between the two situations is that regardless of the way you die, it is painful. Not only is it painful for the person dying, its painful for others around them to watch them torture others as zombies or for others to finally find out where the people related to them who lived in the Asylum have been buried all this time.

Although many may not know those who were found beneath the Medical Center, the story is still unfortunate. There were probably family members worried sick after the Asylum shut down about where their relatives were buried.

The quote “People fear death even more than pain. It’s strange that they fear death. Life hurts a lot more than death. At the point of death, the pain is over” by Jim Morrison helps me conclude the idea that death for both the zombies and the people who died in the Asylum was painful while they were living. Once they died the only pain left was for those who cared about them or the people today finding out the devastating story of the conditions in which those people were left to die under.