Blues, Books and Best Wishes

I hope everyone had a safe, happy and wonderful holiday season!

This winter break, I found myself experiencing some “winter blues”. Ordinarily, I love winter – the cold, the snow, and the holiday season makes me incredibly happy. Yet for some reason, I felt flat this winter break (I partly blame a late finals week). Partly to get a head start on applications and partly to satisfy my curiosity, I began searching for internships related to global and public health.

I quickly ran into a problem; I was passionate about almost every aspect of health; Environmental, mental, physical health, you name a category of health and I wanted to apply! Introspectively, I began questioning why this was so. True, I am a product of Whitman, a liberal arts college in which my three main disciplines are Sociology, Economics and Geology. But I think this is partly attributable to the vast amount of resources and influences; my mom is a doctor (a surgeon dealing largely with cancer), one of my favorite books is Paul Farmer’s “Mountains Beyond Mountains”, a book that opened my eyes to the importance of NGO work in rural Haiti and Russian prisons, and my chapter, GlobeMed at Whitman, aids Burmese refugees in Thailand. And as I continued my search for internships I was amazed with the opportunity and diversity, and also the sheer amount of resources at my fingertips, accessible through the internet.

This winter season, if you ever feel overcome with blues, I recommend thinking about what makes you passionate. I also recommend reading books about your passions. For most GlobeMedders, that includes books on global or public health. Beside’s Paul Farmer’s amazing book “Mountains Beyond Mountains”, we have more recommended books:

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures – a poignant account by Fadiman, editor of the American Scholar, of the clash between a Hmong family and the American medical community reveals that among the gaps yawns the attitude toward medicine and healing.

Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus: An engrossing, lively history of a fearsome and misunderstood virus that binds man and dog – journalist Bill Wasik and veterinarian Monica Murphy chart four thousand years of the history, science, and cultural mythology of rabies.

And the Band Played On: The narrative of the emergence of HIV in the 1980’s. A longer read that offers the opportunity for a greater understanding of the social factors at play in the early HIV/AIDS epidemic. We watched an excerpt of the film based on this book during our blood session.

Thank you for reading this musing blog post and I look forward to continuing the journey with GlobeMed at Whitman this coming semester!

– Paige

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