Shannon on Finding Her Voice

DSC_7677 Shannon is a first-year Neuroscience Major and a member of the Campains Committee. Outside of GlobeMed, she enjoys sisterhood in the Pi Beta Phi Panhellenic Sorority and participates in the Care Extender Program. _________________________________________________________________________________

I’ve always been a pretty shy person. I used to never like to participate in class or any kind of discussion, and though I often had an opinion, I usually kept it to myself. Gradually throughout high school, I started becoming more confident and open with my opinion as I matured. However, I still hadn’t completely gone out of my comfort zone to express what I truly felt about current issues or major topics of debate due to lack of awareness and inadequate knowledge. Although this has always bothered me, I had never done much to change it. However, when I left Tennessee for UCLA, I made it my personal goal to be one of those independent college students that participated freely in discussion section, stimulating the minds of their peers and even the TA’s themselves. It didn’t happen at first. Then, I joined GlobeMed.
GlobeMed is a unique nonprofit organization in that it promotes sustainability and partnership. Our UCLA chapter works on building a lasting relationship with the Mpoma Community HIV/AIDS Initiative in central Uganda. GlobeMed is split into many different committees – campaign, finance, GROW, development, communications, partnership, community building, and gHU. With each weekly gHU discussion, I’m happy to say my knowledge on the various social, political, and health-related issues of the world has expanded greatly. Two weeks ago, I experienced one of the most intense, controversial, and fun debates in my time at GlobeMed. The topic was the Rwandan genocide, and each person in the group was assigned either ministry of health, ministry of agriculture, ministry defense, local Tutsi leader, or a NGO. After given background on the issue at hand, we were assigned the task of mutually agreeing upon how to distribute $3 million amongst each person, and each member of the group had to argue for money for their specific reasons. After a lot of yelling, dramatic hand gestures, and accusations, we realized that a conclusion could not be made where each member of the community would be completely satisfied. Participating in this type of passionate discussion where it seemed like our lives depended on getting that particular amount of money for our division shows how powerful our opinions and discussions can be. It demonstrates that we actually do care about global health and all the issues that surround our society and the impoverished countries across the world. Even though I ended up not getting as much money as I wanted, I left the discussion smiling because of how empowered I felt inside. I know it was just a hypothetical situation and I’m just one student with an opinion. But I know everyone else felt a similar spark within themselves, and a group of students with a common interest and drive to create change can go a long way.
Since joining, GlobeMed has allowed me to free my mind. It has allowed me to no longer be as scared or self-conscious of what others think of my opinion and to appreciate those of my peers as well. The members of GlobeMed all have our own unique thoughts and personalities, but each Thursday we can gather and push the limits of each others’ minds. You can offer your thoughts on the specific global health-related topic of the week, or you can sit back and actively listen to the intellectual and passionate conversations that are surrounding you. In the end, I think I have finally become one of those open-minded, engaging college students that seem to succeed in life, and I owe it to GlobeMed to getting my mind running.

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