Spotlight Blog Post #3

--Original published at Melissa's Blog

Filming people with mental illnesses has become a growing trend on reality TV networks. Very few networks accurately portray mental disorders, while most expose the world to false information. Another controversy regards how people with mental health disorders are treated on the shows. The people with the mental disorder should be the priority, however, some TV shows treat them unethically and cause additional stress, just to please the audience. Two highly debatable shows are Hoarders and Hoarding: Buried Alive, which aim to improve hoarders living conditions and relationships.

One supporter of the hoarding shows is Terrence Shulman, an attorney for 22 years and a licensed certified social worker and addictions therapist. Additionally, Shulman is credible because he is the founder and director of The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending and Hoarding, is the author of several books about shoplifting, theft, and hoarding, created the support group C.A.S.A. (Cleptomaniacs And Shoplifters Anonymous), and is in recovery for addictive-compulsive shoplifting and stealing. In a Huffington Post interview, Shulman stated the hoarding TV shows are overall positive and effective. He thinks the shows are accurate representations of this mental health disorder because real people are being filmed. He mentions the shows have raised awareness for hoarding disorders. He also said the TV series informs the public of the causes of hoarding and how it should be treated.

Furthermore, many followers argue the shows are ethical because a practicing psychologist and professional organizer help the person with the compulsive-hoarding disorder. Dorothy Breininger, also known as Dorothy the Organizer, appeared on several hoarding episodes with psychologist Dr. Michael A. Tompkins. According to Dorothy’s website, Dr. Tompkins believes hoarders excessively buy and collect, are extremely attached to their items, have unhealthy, cluttered living conditions, and are significantly distressed or have an ailment. Dorothy supports the HARM Reduction Technique Dr. Tompkins uses on the show, which focuses on reducing the risks associated with hoarding and improving quality of life. Tompkins prefers the HARM Reduction method, rather than treatment, which has the goal of completely stopping the hoarding behaviors, because most hoarders rarely seek help and often refuse treatment. Although hoarders frequently resent treatment, they still need assistance because they are living in dangerous environments. Additionally, Tompkins argues HARM reduction is more effective than treatment because it involves hoarders’ families and communities, who are also at risk. Lastly, Tompkins emphasizes forcing treatment on resistant hoarders can lead to dislike and mistrust.

Dorothy is credible because she is the best-selling author of five books, appears in several TV shows and magazines, owns three companies, is a former national board member and Los Angeles President of the National Association of Professional Organizers, is actively involved in the Institute of Challenging Disorganization, and is a renowned international organization speaker. Dr. Tompkins has impressive credentials: he is a behavioral and cognitive psychologist, the co-director of the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy, an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, a founding member of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, a trainer and consultant for the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior, and the author or co-author of several scholarly articles, chapters and books. Dr. Tompkins’s credentials and experience strengthens his argument to use HARM Reduction to combat hoarding, rather than treatment.

Contrary, Anna Almendrala’s article, “Hoarding Reality Shows Might Do More Harm Than Good,” disputes televising this mental disorder. Almendrala believes a majority of the audience are uneducated about hoarding disorders and watch the shows to enjoy a home makeover. She is supported by the British Psychological Society’s belief that the purpose of these shows is to entertain the audience, rather than help the person with the compulsive hoarding disorder. Almendrala also cites Randy Frost, the author of the book Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding And The Meaning Of Things, who emphasizes removing the clutter is only a temporary solution and will eventually lead to relapse. Almendrala argues the hoarding TV shows are ineffective because hoarders need long-term treatment, so they can gradually overcome and cope with their mental illness. Almendrala’s article is credible because she is a senior reporter for the Huffington Post, and references psychologists, psychology organizations, and authors of hoarding books to support her argument against the accuracy of the hoarding TV shows.

Another critic of televised hoarding is Scott Helman, whose article, “Where the TV Shows Get it Wrong on Hoarding,” discusses how non-clinical hoarding organizations are more effective than TV shows at treating hoarding disorders. Helman’s focal reference was Jesse Edsell-Vetter, a man who inspected Boston housing and had to evict residence for hoarding. Edsell-Vetter created a hoarding intervention program, based on cognitive behavioral therapy and intensive case management to help hoarders who are in danger of being evicted. Edsell-Vetter forms relationships with these people and their families, talks about their hoarding behaviors, personally helps clean and organize their homes, and monitors them to prevent relapse. Helman supports Edsell-Vetter’s gradual and realistic method for helping hoarders. Edsell-Vetter finds hoarding shows harmful because someone’s mental health condition should not be used for pleasure and entertainment. He argues it is stressful, violating, and destructive to force a hoarder to immediately dispose of all their valuable possessions. Also, he believes the hoarders on the shows often regress because they received no follow up care.

Helman also cites Randy Frost and Lee Shuer, who created Buried in Treasures, a 16-week program for hoarders, led by hoarders, and is based on cognitive behavioral therapy. Helman explained the workshops are more beneficial and successful than the TV shows because the current hoarders are comforted and motivated by those in recovery. Overall, Helman is against hoarding shows because they disrespect and mistreat the people with the disorder and are only used to make money and amuse the public.

Scott Helman’s article is trustworthy because it was published on the Boston Globe newspaper, he is an author of two books, and his team were finalists for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting for investigating the Massachusetts mental health care system, thus, he is educated in mental health disorders. Additionally, Helman included credible references, Jesse Edsell-Vetter, Lee Shuer, and Randy Frost, who was also cited by Anna Almendrala.

After researching, I am against the controversial shows, Hoarders and Hoarding: Buried Alive, but I agree with some of the supporting arguments. I understand Dr. Tompkins uses the HARM Reduction approach because hoarders are likely to refuse treatment if they are in denial or are skeptical, however, he ignores the need for long-term care. Hoarders need persistent care, not an instantaneous home make-over, which Dr. Tompkins defends. The prompt clean-outs disregard the meaning behind the clutter, thus, causing the hoarders anxiety and distress. This can intimidate hoarders in the audience and make them reluctant to get help for themselves. Additionally, other convincing points are the shows raise awareness for the disorder and accurately represent the dangerous living conditions and relationship struggles hoarders experience. Although this is true, I think most audience members are ignorant of this mental health condition and solely watch the show for enjoyment. Also, the shows only portray extreme cases of hoarding, and ignore less sever stages, to entertain the audience. I think the TV producers and cast are more concerned with their ratings than the hoarders’ well-being, due to a lack of follow-ups or monitoring after the show has aired.

Mental health conditions should not be used for entertainment and pleasure. Often, people with mental health disorders need long-term treatment to make any progress. Thus, barging into a hoarder’s home and forcing them to throw away their meaningful belongings is an inappropriate way to help. Instead, I think it is most beneficial for hoarders to receive care from recovering hoarders who have gone through similar situations. This connection will motivate the current hoarder and give them someone to look up to. If this service is not easily accessible, hoarders need long-term aid from an experienced professional. During recovery, the hoarder and professional should from a relationship, go through the clutter together, slowly and gradually, and discuss the underlining cause of the hoarding, like Jesse Edsell-Vetter in Scott Helman’s article. The TV shows are unethical because they provide the public with inaccurate and inefficient treatment strategies for compulsive-hoarding, dismiss how traumatizing the show is for the person, and misrepresents how they feel.

Media Production Project

--Original published at Melissa's Blog

The 2015 study, “High School Students’ Use of Electronic Cigarettes to Vaporize Cannabis,” published by Meghan Morean in the journal Pediatrics, reports an influx in teens use of cannabis. Instead of smoking cannabis, today’s cunning youth are getting high by vaporizing cannabis in e-cigarettes.

Morean, an assistant professor of psychology at Oberlin College, and fellow researchers, surveyed 3,847 students from five Connecticut high schools, from varying socioeconomic standings. To determine if vaporizing cannabis was most prevalent in a particular population, the participants listed their demographic information: age, sex, socioeconomic status, and the name of their high school.

Morean reported an 89.9% variance between demographics and using e-cigarettes to vaporize cannabis (Morean, p. 613). This means the students’ age, sex, and high school were influential. Morean noted the student’ socioeconomic statuses were not statistically significant. It was necessary to include the high schools in the demographic information because their substance tolerance and rules, which Morean called “cannabis culture,” influenced the students’ likelihood to use cannabis and e-cigarettes (p. 614).

The survey asked students to state if they ever used cannabis, if yes, how often, and the devices/methods they used to get high, in the last 30 days. Morean labeled the students who never tried cannabis as “never users,” (e-cigarettes: 72.1%, cannabis: 70.8%); those who ever tried cannabis as “lifetime users,” (e-cigarettes: 27.9%, cannabis: 29.2%); and those who ever tried both as “lifetime dual e-cigarette and cannabis users,” (18.8%) (p. 613). These labels do not account for students who only tried cannabis and/or e-cigarettes once. Being classified as a “lifetime user or dual user” infers the students get high regularly, which is likely false. Thus, Morean’s data may not be representative of the population, all high school students. Next, the cannabis and/or e-cigarette users selected their preferred device/method: “e-cigarettes with hash oil,” “e-cigarettes with a wax plug,” “portable vaporizers with dried marijuana,” and “other” (p. 613).

Morean determined the correlations between the above data. The results showed the most prominent cannabis users were lifetime dual users (26.5%), followed by lifetime cannabis users (18.4%), and lastly, lifetime e-cigarette users (18%) (p. 613). The most used devises were portable electronic vaporizers with dried cannabis (6.7%), then e-cigarettes with hash oil (4.5%), and lastly, e-cigarettes with wax (3%) (p. 613). The data proposes high schoolers are more likely to experiment with cannabis and e-cigarettes than adults; 5.4% of the students surveyed used e-cigarettes to vape cannabis, compared to only .2% of adults. The study’s overall findings indicate young male high school students, classified as lifetime dual users, are the most likely to use e-cigarettes to vaporize cannabis (p. 614).

Morean reminds parents to closely observe and monitor their children to protect them from the harms of cannabis. She adds, cannabis from e-cigarettes is odorless, thus, harder to notice, and cannabis oil used in e-cigarettes is stronger and more dangerous than dried cannabis.

One limitation to Morean’s research was the participating schools were all from Connecticut, a state that prohibits cannabis and those under 18 from using e-cigarettes. Another weakness was collecting data with a survey, which relies on integrity. Consequently, many self-report methods suffer from social desirability, lying to be praised or accepted, and malingering, purposely making yourself look bad. Another disadvantage to using surveys is the lack of treatments or control groups. Additionally, the study’s sample size of 3,847 students is too small to represent all high school students. Thus, Morean’s study fails to generalize to the intended population.

Morean study would have been more relevant and significant if she surveyed more diverse students. She failed to account for demographics such as race, religion, and culture. Morean attempted to incorporate race, however, she had to remove it because the sample was 85.9% Caucasian (p. 612). Lastly, Morean did not include how many students were from each school. This is problematic because more students could have been from schools with liberal tolerances toward cannabis and e-cigarettes, than from stringent schools.


In my summary, I included essential information the news article left out. The news article did not mention the considerable influence of the students’ demographic information. I referenced the demographic portion of the survey because Morean found it significant. Specifically, Morean emphasized that the high schools’ drug tolerances influenced whether students’ used cannabis and e-cigarettes. Further, I was surprised the news article authors ignored the study’s finding, young males, labeled as lifetime dual users, were most likely to use e-cigarettes to vaporized cannabis. This result shows a correlation between age and gender.

The news article failed to include Connecticut’s legislation against cannabis and those under 18 from using e-cigarettes. I found this important because if high schools in a strict state show an increase in the use of cannabis and e-cigarettes, liberal states are likely to have even higher statistics. I also decided to explain Morean’s labels on the survey: “never users, lifetime users, and lifetime dual users,” because they are not representative. The term “lifetime users” presumes the student smokes or vapes very often, when some students may have only tried it once.

The news article excludes the limitations of Morean’s study. The limitations were noteworthy because they suggest Morean’s study can not be generalized to the population, all high school students. Additionally, unlike the news article, I included statistics from the study to strengthen my summary and add credibility. Lastly, I think mentioning my questions shows the study has flaws and needs supplementary research. Likewise, I answered the five critical questions in my summary to show the study was not a true experiment. Morean’s study is not representative of all high school students because it was survey-based and there was a small sample size.

The past three assignments made me realize the complexity of psychological journalism. The pop culture article critique exposed me to an interpretation of a scholarly journal. After examining and critiquing the journal article I was faced with the task of writing my own summary. When I read the news article I assumed it was simple and easy to describe the journal article, however, the media production project proved me wrong. I was dumbfounded by how precise, yet, thorough news articles must be. Condensing a 4-5 page journal article into a 1-2 page summary takes more time and effort than I initially assumed. This assignment was helpful because I learned how to comprehend and analyze scholarly articles. Also, now I know to read the journal article because although the news article is supposed to be concise, authors can leave out essential information.

Works Cited

Fox, Maggie, and Erika, Edwards. “High School Kids Use e-Cigarettes to Smoke Cannabis.” MSNBC, NBCUniversal News Group, 7 Sept. 2015,

Morean, Meghan, et al. “High School Students’ Use of Electronic Cigarettes to Vaporize Cannabis.” Pediatrics, vol. 136, no. 4, October 2015, pp. 611-616,

Spotlight Blog Post #2

--Original published at Melissa's Blog

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program was established in 1983 to teach children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. After researching, I think the original DARE program was not successful, however, the program is changing its curriculum and message, and, thus, is improving. Initially, DARE was an anti-drug program whose main focus was abstinence. The program enforced this believe with the slogan “Just Say No” (Dual Diagnosis, 2018). In the early 1990s, researchers were skeptical of the DARE program because they found such little evidence supporting its benefits. They found DARE students and Non-DARE students to have very similar substance use rates. Therefore, the DARE program was not as effective as it was intended to be.

Throughout the middle and late 1990s, supplemental data supported the same claim against the DARE program. Christopher Ingraham, an author who discussed the history of DARE and its future plans, said it was inevitable for some students this age to “try drugs out of spite” (Ingraham, 2017). He argues young preteens and teens are known to rebel and do the opposite of what they are told, especially when authoritative police officers teach these classes. Dual Diagnosis, an informative network for substance abuse, supported Ingraham’s belief. The website argues police officers are not qualified to spread drug and alcohol awareness because they have insufficient training; a basic 80-hour training course. Dual Diagnosis says students would listen and respond better to a counselor or addiction expert/specialist rather than a police officer. One statistic states, “40 percent of student respondents claimed they weren’t influenced by the program at all, and almost 70 percent cited having neutral to negative feelings about the program leaders” (Dual Diagnosis, 2018). Additional studies conducted in the early 2000s showed mirroring results to the 1990s data; the DARE program was ineffective.

As a result, in the late 2000s, the DARE organization was forced to change its curriculum and message. The new curriculum, Keepin’ it REAL, was evidence-based and did not preach for abstinence. Instead, the goal of the new program was to teach young students to be “honest and safe and responsible” (Ingraham, 2017). DARE was no longer an anti-drug campaign; Keepin’ it REAL was realistic and representative of what students were experiencing. The new DARE organization wanted children to know how to face real-life events, while still being aware of how dangerous drugs are. Keepin’ it REAL did not spread the message “everyone is doing it,” as the old program did, because many young adolescents were not (Dual Diagnosis, 2018). Additionally, Keepin’ it REAL was taught to a much wider range of students. Dual Diagnosis predicts the updated DARE program to be successful because students are learning useful information, like how to deal with real struggles, make good choices, and be responsible. Also, Dual Diagnosis reporters think older students should be educated about mental health because it is so prevalent and often linked with drug use. To summarize, the sources suggest the original DARE program was unsuccessful and did not prevent children from using drugs and may have even sparked an interest. Contrary, the improved DARE program, Keepin’ it REAL, appears promising and more successful.

A similar argument is made about sexual education programs in schools. Comprehensive sexual education programs have been proven much more effective and accurate compared to abstinence-only programs. Comprehensive programs promote abstinence but also teach students about contraception, safety, consent, sexuality, and sexually transmitted infections/diseases (STI/Ds). According to Advocates for Youth, comprehensive sex education delays the start of sexual activity, decreases the number of sexual partners, thus decreasing STI/Ds, and increases contraception use, thus decreasing pregnancies. Many research studies have found abstinence-only programs to be inaccurate and unsuccessful. Some courses make up false data and statistics and lie to the students (Advocates for Youth, 2009). Studies show students in abstinence-only programs are equally likely to participate in sexual activities; “among youth participating in ‘virginity pledge’ programs 88 percent broke the pledge and had sex before marriage” (Advocates for Youth, 2009). Comprehensive sexual education programs are realistic and effective. They teach adolescents what they actually want to learn; how to safely face real-life events.

The take away message is the initial DARE program and all abstinence-only programs are unrealistic, inaccurate, and negatively effecting adolescents. It is impossible to stop curious teens from experimenting with drugs and sex. This realization needs to be accepted so all children can get the knowledge they need to protect themselves. Abstinence should be enforced, but teenage students should also be educated on how to make safe and responsible choices when they are experimenting and facing these inevitable events. Adolescence are curious, it is a fact of life, what we can do is teach them how to explore with caution. Teaching teens about drugs and sex, what they want to learn, and answering their questions, will decrease their willingness to experiment.


Advocates for Youth. (2009). Comprehensive sex education: Research and results. Publications. Retrieved from

Dual Diagnosis. (2018). Does the DARE program work? Drug Addition. Retrieved from

Ingraham, C. (2017, July 12). A brief history of DARE, the anti-drug program Jeff Sessions wants to revive. The Washington Post. Retrieved from

First Impression Post Week 13

--Original published at Melissa's Blog

Educators play a significant role in students’ academic achievements and success. I have personal experience with teachers who were extremely helpful, caring, and supportive, and those who were the total opposite, judgmental and looked down on their students. The encouraging teachers helped me overcome the academic challenges I was facing. Without their help I would have struggled in their courses and would have had low self-esteem because my academic performance is one of my main priorities. If these teachers didn’t help me, I would have been unhappy with my grades and wouldn’t be where I am today. I am grateful for the teachers who were always supportive and eager to assist me. My high school teachers helped me improve and maintain stellar grades, which helped me get into Elizabethtown College. So far at Elizabethtown College all my professors have been willing to help me. They are reliable because they reply to my emails and are always available during office hours. The professors at Elizabethtown College get to know their students and want them to succeed.

On the other hand, in high school I had a few teachers who made their students aware that they were inferior to them. For example, my AP Language teacher put our essays on her public “wall of shame” if they did not meet her standards. One of my essays was publicly shammed and I was so embarrassed and discouraged. I tried going to her for help, but she made me feel worse about myself and my academic performance. As a result, I lacked confidence in her class and was always anxious that my future essays would be ridiculed. I think educators who show they care and push their students to do their best deserve credit. My accepting and encouraging teachers and professors have made me a better student.

One change to guarantee struggling students get help is mandating meetings with their teachers, like the advising meetings here at Elizabethtown College. Students should be required to meet with their educators, so they know someone cares about their academic performance and achievements. This would also give shy students a chance to talk about any academic challenges they are having but are too nervous to seek help on their own.

First Impression Post Week 11

--Original published at Melissa's Blog

Stress in college is inevitable. Students must balance loads of assignments, extracurricular activities, such as sports and clubs, a social life with friends, family events and obstacles, and healthy sleeping, eating, and exercise habits. College students’ stress levels are through the roof. My current stress management strategies are not very effective because I always feel stressed and overwhelmed. I usually don’t have time to relax or socialize because I have so many academic responsibilities. The rare occasions when I spare myself some free time, I enjoy being with my friends, talking and laughing with them, working out at the gym, Facetiming with family, watching TV, coloring, and one of my friends has been trying to teach me to crochet because she finds it relaxing and rewarding. I would love to spend more time doing these leisure activities, but my busy schedule infrequently allows it. When I get ahead on my assignments, which seldom happens, and partake in the activities I enjoy, they work great because I am much more relaxed. Currently, however, when I do these activities because I need a break, I often feel guilty and not productive because I could have done more work instead. I think I need to start incorporating one or two hours of free-time in my schedule because it will relieve my stress. I must stop badgering myself for taking a break because I do need it. I think I will be more willing to participate in these relaxing activities if I get ahead on my assignments. Until then, I will try to give myself an hour or two a day to relax, without feeling guilty. I think all college students need to manage their stress levels, so it does not interfere with their physical, emotional, and mental health. We all work very hard and deserve a short break every day.

Johari Window Bonus Post

--Original published at Melissa's Blog

I really enjoyed exploring my personality through Johari Window. I usually do not reflect on my own personality, so thinking about how I perceive myself was eye-opening. The six traits I chose for myself were caring, dependable, friendly, happy, loving, and sympathetic. I asked eleven people, a mixture of friends and family, to select the traits they thought best described me. All the six traits I selected for myself were known to my friends and family. The top two traits people chose for me were caring, 63%, and loving, 54%, which I also chose for myself. The next most prominent traits from my list of six were friendly, happy, and sympathetic. In addition, I agree with all the personality traits my friends and family used to describe me. Some of the most commonly chosen traits, that were not on my personal list, were cheerful, warm, intelligent, helpful, and organized. This personality assessment was a positive experience for me because I reflected on myself and learned how the people I am closest with view me. I am pleased that my friends and family’s perspective of me is very similar to my own. Seeing what each person chose for me really brightened my day and made me realize how grateful I am for each of them. For me, the Johari Window was valid and credible because all my traits were known to my friends and family. Overall, I learned that I am surrounded by people who really care about me and I have good self-esteem. I would recommend the Johari Window to anyone who wants to learn more about themselves and how they are viewed by others.

First Impression Post Week 10

--Original published at Melissa's Blog

For this first impression post, I took four personality tests and am analyzing how accurately each of them described me and if I find them credible.

  1. The first test was the Humanmetrics Jung Typology Test. Of their sixteen personality types, my type was ESFJ, extraversion, sensing, feeling, judging. To summarize, the results say ESFJs love traditions, are liberal in giving, enjoy being in charge, work hard and play with enthusiasm, provide service and expect the same from others. ESFJs are easily wounded and show their emotions, are warm and friendly, have a ‘mothering’ drive, and have trouble making important decisions. As caretakers, ESFJs sense danger all around; they are not paranoid, but alert and cautious, and serve excellently as protectors, outstanding in fields such as medical care and elementary education. These results very accurately described me. I love traditions, work hard, provide service, have sensitive feelings, am warm and friendly, have a mothering drive, hate making important decisions, am alert and cautious, and I am going to work in the medical field. Overall, this site was credible because the test was thorough, and the explanations were clear and logical.
  2. The second test, the Personality Test Center, was the easiest of the four because there were only two answer choices per questions, with explanations, rather than agree/disagree or yes/no. It was also credible because the website appeared to be the most organized and official and didn’t have advertisements. According to this test, my personality was ENFJ, extraversion, intuition, feeling, judgement, similar to the first test. ENFJs are optimistic, group leaders, and help others be the best they can be. When conflict affects a group, ENFJs take responsibility. They think they have a liability to be empathetic. When dealing with pain of others, ENFJs put them first, and lose sight of their own concerns and interest. ENFJs hold in and push off their feelings until their emotions explode. I think that these traits also describe me, and occupational therapy was on the list of careers for this personality type.
  3. The IPIP Big-Five Factor Markers test was not as credible as the previous tests because the website was unorganized and failed to thoroughly explain the results. For example, the explanation for the first category, extroversion, was: “Individuals who score high are outgoing and social. Individuals who score low tend to be shut ins.” My score, 54, was slightly above average. I scored just below average on the second factor, emotional stability, which had no explanation. My score, 93, was high for the third category, agreeableness, which stated, “A person high in agreeableness is friendly and optimistic. Low scorers are critical and aggressive.” Next was conscientiousness; high scores mean people are careful and diligent and low mean they are impulsive and disorganized.” I received a high score of 98 for this category. Lastly, the fifth factor was intellect/imagination, in which low scoring people are traditional and conventional. I scored just above average at 11. I did not enjoy this test because you are not provided with a clear and detailed explanation of how all your traits combine into your personality, as the previous sites did.
  4. The last test was the least accurate. The Color Test instructs you to start by choosing the color that makes you feel the best when you look at it, and then repeat the process for the remaining colors until none are left. The second step, done 110 seconds after the first, uses the same colors and rules, except the colors are in a different order. This test lacked credibility because the website was disorderly, overcrowded, and the instructions were unclear. I interpreted the directions as picking the colors in order of most appealing to least appealing, because I assumed the colors I liked the best were the ones that made me feel the best. My results barely explain my personality. I feel that my results were very generic, and most parts could apply to anyone. Thus, it was not specific to me.

First Impression Post Week 9

--Original published at Melissa's Blog

Everyone always stresses the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but us students struggle because we have so many obligations. For me, it is extremely hard to do my assignments, call family, socialize with friends, exercise, participate in clubs, and go to sleep at a decent hour. In between classes and meals, I continuously do homework, yet I still find myself struggling to go to bed at a reasonable time. The main problem is how long it takes me to complete my assignments. Since I am slow at reading and typing I never finish all the homework that I planned and wanted to get done. As a result, I routinely stay up late to finish the assignments I failed to get to earlier in the day; late meaning past 1 AM. Then, I wake up at 7 or 8 in the morning, getting around 6 hours a sleep.

Going to bed this late is a new obstacle that I face. Last semester I went to bed around 11 every night and felt refreshed in the morning. Also, my energy would last well into the day and evening, so I was always eager to go to the gym. Now, it is much harder to get out of bed and ready in the morning, and I haven’t gone to the gym as often. My goal is to go to bed earlier, however, my current courses have more assignments than last semester. I need to be more proactive on my assignments by working ahead, and I am going to try to complete them quicker. I know I currently have poor sleeping habits, but I am striving to go to bed earlier every night. My goal is to go to bed around 11, so I get 8 or more hours of sleep again, which all college students should aim for.

Spring Break First Impression Post

--Original published at Melissa's Blog

I chose to write about option 1, regarding synesthesia. I was shocked after watching Daniel Tammet explain his experience of synesthesia. Tammet’s perspective of the world is astounding; words can have colors and emotions and numbers can have shapes and personalities. Tammet thinks synesthesia makes the “world richer and vaster.” In my opinion, synesthesia is confusing and advanced. If I had this condition, I feel that I would be overwhelmed because all my senses would be active and interfering with each other. In other words, synesthesia seems stressful and unorganized because there is no category for the senses. Sight is supposed to be only for detecting and differentiating between colors, patterns, and shapes. Hearing is supposed to be for listening to and hearing sounds. I would probably feel like I was going crazy if my senses were always active and intertwined with one another.

I feel that many people with this condition experience obstacles that others without synesthesia do not. For example, they might not be able to explain what they see or how they feel to others because no one understands them. People with synesthesia might be ridiculed by others who cannot imagine their symptoms, such as seeing colors and hearing sounds. Thus, many people are probably hesitant to believe those with this condition because it is such a foreign concept. Although I think synesthesia seems stressful and perplexing, those who have the condition are probably well adapted to it. After those with synesthesia realize they are different from others and learn how to express themselves and communicate their emotions and feelings, I believe they can function normally. I think people with synesthesia are very gifted and intelligent, and their lives are not limited or obstructed by the condition.

First Impression Post Week 7

--Original published at Melissa's Blog

The abstinence model is an approach for treating addiction that eliminates the harmful substance. The only way to ensure an addict will not use a toxic drug again is to completely remove it from their possession. In this model the addict will not have a way of taking the substance and will learn different coping methods during counseling. Another addiction treatment is the harm reduction model, which is meant for addicts who are not ready or are not willing to stop using. This approach aims at protecting the addict and others from the harmful consequences associated with substance abuse.

In my opinion, the abstinence-focused approach is more beneficial compared to the harm reduction-focused model. I disagree with the websites claim, “an important concept that some people and policy makers do not understand is that the harm reduction approach should not be seen as condoning risky or illegal behavior.” Although the website argues that the harm-reduction model is not overlooking substance abuse, I find it conflicting that they provide abusers with materials, such as clean-needles. Abusers should not be given materials that will promote their negative behavior. For example, if drug abusers are continuously given clean needles then they won’t ever be ready or willing to quit. The abstinence model may be more challenging and exhausting, but it is best for the abuser because they are completely stopping their behavior and have support to help them overcome and beat their addiction.

I side with the abstinence model because my dad used this treatment plan when he was recovering from alcoholism. He overcame his addiction with the help of support groups, counseling, and not being around alcohol. Therefore, if a loved one needed help with an addiction I would recommend the abstinence model because I know it is effective from my dad’s experience.