Student Exposure

Jillian - Columbus, Ohio
Entered on March 11, 2008

I’m a social work student at a university in Dayton, Ohio. Doing a small internship of only 32 hours I work with patients having issues from drug addictions to mental disease. On one of my first days in the facility, which I will refer to as “the side”, I witnessed a patient diagnosed with schizophrenia die. Having lived in the side for 10 years, he passed away from the coroners deemed “failure to thrive”. A term that I still question the meaning of. Personally, I have not been exposed to death but for maybe 4 occassions in 20 years of existence. Crying on the first day was not the impression I would have liked to have made. After weeks passed and spending significant time with the residents of the side I was able to conclude one thing. That I really should have been exposed to these experiences earlier on in life. I can understand the wishes of my parents to keep me sheletered as much as they could. However, as a mature teen it didn’t exactly cross my mind to read the news or think about things outside of my confined world. In high school there were courses such as current events that were made to expose me to those ideas. However, that class consisted of reading a news paper and writing down what I read. It didn’t include implying that information or story to real life. I dont think just reading something really puts into perspective a main idea. Visually seeing the effects might have made things a little more vivid. It was never made abundantly clear to me the magnitude of society’s problems. To anyone reading this I encourage you to expose yourself to poverty. Expose yourself to the world through the eyes of someone with a mental disease. Because all the problems you think you have will seem small. The fights with your parents over how late you can stay out, arguements with your boyfriend or girlfriend over how much they call you, all seem like pebbles on the road of life.