I read the article Heroin Addiction Explained: How Opioids Hijack the Brain from the New York Times, written by Shreea Sinha and Jennifer Harlan – link provided below. They interviewed people who had used and been addicted to opioids at some point in their lives, but were now in recovery, as well as their family members. They also interviewed doctors and the family members of deceased opioid users. Throughout the article, they detailed the process of becoming sober from the perspective of the users, and included comments from doctors.
I can see that in this article, they focused more on the emotional aspects of being addicted to something as strong as opioids to appeal more to people’s sympathetic sides, but they didn’t include many stats or facts about the addiction, how it’s affecting our economy and society today and who is contributing to the growing epidemic. I believe this is very important for people to read anyway though because not many people, especially people who grew up privileged like I did, know the real life effects of these drugs and why people will keep going back to them if they don’t have help. Addictions like these can affect any person in the world if they happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and are offered it. It only takes a moment of weakness or peer pressure to start an addiction that can either last a life time or end a life.
Addiction is a disease and I believe more people should try to see it as this. While taking whatever drug for the first time is an unfortunate choice that can be avoided, once you start its incredibly hard to stop. One person in the article described their first time using opioids as receiving a hug from Jesus, and I can imaging why one would chase that sort of high up to their death. However, it can’t be achieved again since the brain begins to regulate itself after the first use until after a long time of using, the user isn’t even chasing the high anymore. The user is just trying to avoid withdrawal. While our medical system is improving and we are finding more ways to treat these patients, not enough is being done yet. Too many people are not getting the help they need, too many families are being destroyed and too many are dying. Throughout the future I hope we can do more to help these people and I want to be a part of that help.
During my time here at OSU, I have had the opportunity to participate in many new things, but one experience that has had a significant impact on me is joining the Latin Student Association Dance Team.
Joining this team has been so impactful for me because I’ve had the chance to express myself in a new way and meet all sorts of diverse people in the process. This group meets a few times a week, more often when we are close to a performance, and we learn and practice salsa, bachata and occasionally some merengue dancing, lead by a choreographer. The people in the group are from all over Latin America, from Mexico to Peru, to Cuba. They all have incredibly unique experiences and when we’re not all dancing, we take the time to chat and get to know one another. These people have opened me up to all sorts of new experiences around campus, and they have taught me a lot about what is going on around the world and in their countries. I have also become more exposed to the Latino culture by joining this group. As immigrants, every one of us has a new story to tell and it’s so interesting to hear from others.
I also learned that dancing and spending time in this group is an incredible and productive way to relieve some stress. When exams come around and all of us are panicking and scared, it’s nice to have a support group to go to and lean on. All the movement we do during practices helps relieve some of the physical tension while talking relieves a lot of the emotional aspects.
I’m really glad I found a group on campus that has had such a positive impact on me and I’m excited to see all the new places being a part of this group will take me.
Over the course of this semester, I have developed my mindset about my future a lot. Coming into college I did not expect it to be much harder than high school since I took many accelerated classes and did well. I expected to be able to continue with the study habits I developed in high school an do just as well. I learned that I was very wrong. To be able to excel in college I have had to change how I look at my assignments and my future. Making it to medical school and to become a doctor is a long, slow process throughout which I will need to give my best effort nearly every day.
The way I look at school and how I learn is the biggest part of my mindset that has changed. I have learned to be much more open minded to experiences that will benefit my future and I have developed a lot of discipline in a few short months by forcing myself to just sit down and do what I have to do to be read for whatever exam or quiz is coming which is a skill I’m going to have to use for a long time. I have learned that in college and in the real world there are no excuses, and to be successful I will have to just shut up and do what I have to do. Resilience is so important and I will have to be able to take bad test scores, move on, and do better the next time.
An important event that I think taught me a lot about discipline and making a goal and sticking to it was training for the Cap City Half Marathon last year. I began thinking I wanted to run a half marathon at the end of my high school cross country season when I realized how much I enjoyed running and how much progress I’d made in the last year. My mom and I decided to sign up for a half marathon together in the spring and we made a plan to train together and run it together.
Once my senior winter track season started though, I was hit with a knee injury that took me out of running for a few months. It really slowed down my training for the half marathon and took me out of the winter track season. I trained hard through the injury however and worked on getting better so I could rejoin my team for the spring track season and run the half marathon after.
As I got closer to the date of the half marathon I realized my knee would likely not be healed in time to run the whole thing. I was going on 6, 7, 8 mile runs and still experiencing pain. I cut down my milage to only a few miles a day to not over work my knee but still try to keep up with the training. I got more and more nervous as the date came. The week of the half I began to panic and I went out on an 8 mile run just to prove to myself that I still could. I was surprised when I felt no paint the whole time.
When the race came, I went out with my mom and felt good for almost 9 miles. Then I felt that familiar pain in my knee and I knew what was coming. I ended up running the last 4 miles with my knee aching but there was no way I was going to stop. I’d worked hard to try to get better and fix my knee and there was no way I was about to give up.
Training for this half taught me so much about how to persevere even when you can’t see the end of your struggles. I had no idea if and when my knee was going to get better and it only worried me more as the half marathon came closer. I learned how to stick with my goals in the face of adversity or outside factors you have no control over. I know this will be very important for me in the future.
The path to become a doctor is a long, hard one. Many students say that you just keep working and working and you have no idea when you’re going to stop and take a rest or when all your hard work is finally going to be recognized. Working hard for this half marathon taught me how to do that and I will absolutely take those skills with me into the future.
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