Graduate School

Right so, I’m a couple of weeks into my master’s program and I’m feeling rather underwhelmed and not very analytically challenged. This has been a real eye-opener to how privileged I was to get the kind of education I did in my undergrad at Oberlin. It wasn’t acceptable to just merely do the reading and regurgitate what was read, we had to analyze it, deconstruct it, think about who the author was, who the intended audience was, the short-sightedness of the reading, the sociological frameworks, etc. 

Here, however, I read 100s of pages. I go to these 2.5 hour classes only to sit through a lecture with a power point of bulleted points summarizing what I just spent all night reading. No are further descriptions, no depth/layers added to what we read, and class is pretty much DEVOID of discussion. It’s like nobody has an opinion. Granted, a lot of the stuff we read is like an instruction manual on how to be a public health official. But half of the content is really about the social and behavioral determinants of health, and a good portion of that DOES deal with health disparities due to socioeconomic status, DOES deal with institutionalized racism, sexism, etc, DOES deal with the historical legacies of all these -isms, and YET, no one has an opinion on those portions of the chapter. No one says anything really. And when they do, it’s because they’ve NEVER heard the terms “institutionalized racism” it’s because they’ve never heard the majority of these terms/concepts that describe and analyze how our society got to this point in terms of race, gender, class, and sexual identity issues and so forth.

This is my masters degree. I was hoping for more depth, more focused discussion since we only take classes around one real issue. It’s unfortunate. Oberlin and other similarly structured institutions gives you this amazing vocabulary and ability to think critically, to analyze situations, to deconstruct, to reconstruct, to not take things at face value just because they’re handed to you really tidy on a silver platter. And I guess UNLESS you go into a graduate program that focuses specifically on sociological, anthropological, social justice issues, that type of discussion won’t necessarily be included in other studies DESPITE the relevance and utter importance in those areas. 

It plays right into the problem. We have so many health issues that fall along social designation lines, and public health/medical officials “try” everything under the sun to close health disparities. However, how do you address health disparities in the field, when during the education process of these health officials, there’s no real discussion of what these health disparities really are, how they came to be, what the history is behind the people with the worst health profiles, how those disparities are institutionalized and our participation in the institution only serves to reinforce NOT reverse those health profiles.

I came here thinking I would be gaining a comprehensive education, but I feel as if the structure of this institution only serves to further the problem, or rather continue its complicity in the problem by creating non-critically thinking future health educators, administrator, and policy makers.