How Opioids Hijack the Brain

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.

 

Article Link: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/us/addiction-heroin-opioids.html?module=inline

Artifact 3

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.

 

Artifacts

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.

 

 

Year in Review

[ “Year in Review”  is where you should reflect on the past year and show how you have evolved as a person and as a student.  You may want to focus on your growth in a particular area (as a leader, scholar, researcher, etc.) or you may want to talk about your overall experience over the past year.  For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email eportfolio@osu.edu. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

G.O.A.L.S.

[ “G.O.A.L.S.” is a place where students write about how their planned, current, and future activities may fit into the Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S.: Global Awareness, Original Inquiry, Academic Enrichment, Leadership Development, and Service Engagement. For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email eportfolio@osu.edu. Delete these instructions and add your own post.

  • Global Awareness: Students cultivate and develop their appreciation for diversity and each individual’s unique differences. For example, consider course work, study abroad, involvement in cultural organizations or activities, etc.
  • Original Inquiry: Honors & Scholars students understand the research process by engaging in experiences ranging from in-class scholarly endeavors to creative inquiry projects to independent experiences with top researchers across campus and in the global community. For example, consider research, creative productions or performances, advanced course work, etc.
  • Academic Enrichment: Honors & Scholars students pursue academic excellence through rigorous curricular experiences beyond the university norm both in and out of the classroom.
  • Leadership Development: Honors & Scholars students develop leadership skills that can be demonstrated in the classroom, in the community, in their co-curricular activities, and in their future roles in society.
  • Service Engagement: Honors & Scholars students commit to service to the community.]

Career

[“Career” is where you can collect information about your experiences and skills that will apply to your future career.  Like your resume, this is information that will evolve over time and should be continually updated.  For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email eportfolio@osu.edu. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

Artifacts

This past summer I had the opportunity to go back to Romania to see my family and travel with them around Europe for two months. I was born in Romania and I moved to the US when I was relatively young, but I still remember a lot about my childhood there. Over the years since I left I haven’t been able to return very much as it is very expensive to travel over the ocean; however, my experience this past summer made a huge impact on me.

I spent about a month total in my home town, and a month on the road with various family members. I visited some small villages around Romania as well as a few castles and ruins. I visited Valencia, Spain with my grandparents, Nikiti, Greece with my cousins, and Venice, Italy and Vienna, Austria with my aunt and uncle. These events were so important to me because I not only got to see my family after so many years apart, but I also got to step out of my comfort zone and see the world from a different point of view.

I had the opportunity to grow very much over the course of the summer as I was nearly on my own for the first time and in many different countries. It taught me so much about being independent and learning to only count on myself. It also taught me how privileged I have been in my life and how much worse I could’ve had it if my parents had chosen to stay in Romania. My time there improved my awareness for what is happening around the world and it fixed my misconception that everyone is living the suburban life that I have had.

When my parents left the country, communism had just fallen and the country was a disaster. It still is to this day, with corrupt politicians in every single position of high power, and a living standard rarely seen in the US. Had I stayed there I would’ve had much fewer opportunities to push myself and to grow and I for sure would not be the person I am today. My experience there made me much more grateful for what I have, much more willing to work for what I want, and more mature as a person.

Alba Iulia – This was a newly reconstructed church from before the communist era

Hunedoara – The castle where Vlad Dracula was imprisoned in at the end of his reign

Sighisoara – One of the best standing and still populated medieval town, originally constructed during Roman times.

Bran Castle – Vlad Dracula’s castle during his reign as well as the castle of many other rulers of Romania

Timisoara – my home town and the cultural center of Romania.

Venice, Italy

Benidorm, Valencia, Spain

About Me

 

I am passionate about STEM because I want to help people. I want to devote my time studying at the Ohio State University so that one day I can make a difference in someone’s life and hopefully improve it. I believe that I am qualifies to be a STEM scholar because I have the passion of helping people, but I also have the passion to become the best at what I do and work hard here at the university.

My parents and I are immigrants from Romania and they have taught me from a very young age that to succeed in the US, one must find what he/she is passionate for and give their all to be the very best at it. They have instilled a passion for the STEM fields as my father is a professor of statistics and my mother is a physician at a local hospital. When I was young I would always wait for my mom to come home from work so that she could tell me stories from her time in medical school and at the hospital, and hearing how passionate she was for her work made me love it too.

I am currently a pre-data analytics major on a premed track and I want to make a difference in people’s lives like my mother does does. I have volunteered for the same hospital at which my mother works and I had the opportunity of working with newborns affected by heroin use of their mothers and I learned how much of a difference just one volunteer can have on a person’s life. I have not yet had the opportunity to participate in any research or clinical shadowing but I plan on speaking to my professor  about getting involved as soon as I can.