Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Our Second Day In Class: What IS A Drug?

I can see that every morning will probably be routine. We wake up, have breakfast, (which usually consists of eggs, bacon, and cereal) and head to class. Fortunately, class was very interesting today; with a few discussions, a video, and reading.

In class, we had a class discussion about what classifies a drug. In general, something is a drug if our body reacts in a physical, biochemical, or mental way; if so, this substance is said to have a drug effect. So in the end, this puts a lot of things into that category like food, and even water. However, we all concluded that the difference between a drug and something else all depends on how you use it. For example, you can use a drug for recreational use like cocaine, and medical use like an anti-depressant. Even so, these roles can interchange with each other, which is interesting.
Another discussion we had afterwards was based off this video we watched during class. It was about a scientist from Harvard believing that placebos were stronger than actual medication for pain. Before I go on, I will explain what a placebo is. A placebo is basically a sugar pill given to patients who think its actual medicine. In the evidence stated by the scientist, he had more patients who had relieved symptoms from the placebo than the actual pain medication. Certain patients who complained about arthritis in their knee also got a fake surgery, and almost all patients reported no pain in their knee afterwards. I was a little skeptic about this idea, but I began to think about it more and I’ve come to realize that the body and mind are strongly connected to each other.

If you think about it, our minds affect a huge part of our well-being and even in other areas of life. For instance, when you have a huge test at school, you will more likely get the grade you want if you come in with optimism than negativity. All of this has made me begin to wonder about the limits of the placebo effects. Can it be used in other areas besides pain and confidence? I guess this is one of those questions you have to wait to be answered or answer yourself.

After class, I had my second day of fencing. Fencing was pretty fun today, except we haven't had a chance to use the swords yet. However, I think it’s safe to say that I am not doing too shabby on the technical part of fencing. Even so, I think that speedy crab walk we have to do is still pretty weird.

When dinner time arrived, I finally met up with my cohort for the first time since our separation. Ms. Kronenberg was also there, asking to us about our experiences so far in Vanderbilt. We had a nice long discussion about how different it was from our expectations.

Mr. Mannix and Ms. Kronenberg also talked to us about their visit to different colleges. There was a predominantly female college they were thinking about adding to the ILC and sending boys to this program instead of girls. I thought this was pretty cool since this school really needs more boys – I mean, it is 80% girls.
Waiting for our laundry
Anyway, after our meeting together, we had the rest of the day for free time, which I spent with all my friends I’ve made here at VSA. We spent the time dancing and learning different types of mainstream dances from different parts of the U.S. It was a blast! Our proctor even joined in! My VSA journey has just begun, and I really look forward to learning more about the class and the people here as well.

1 comment:

  1. I'm curious to learn more about this female school we're considering adding to the ILC. I'm glad we have these blogs to keep me informed.

    While I can't speak to the male/female ratio at VSA, at least with the ILC when we hosted applications for the program we were gender blind.