Middlebury College is an interesting, engaging, and incredibly special place; I feel so fortunate to be a part of it. It is also a place where productivity is sometimes the ultimate goal and individual schedules and stresses take center stage. Empathy often takes the form of commiserating about work and academic pressure, but oftentimes other sources of emotional strain are left unacknowledged. It’s almost like we get into empathy “ruts,” where only certain things are acceptable to share and receive. I think this relates back to global health in the sense that there are always health issues that, whether it be locally or globally, garner a lot of attention and empathy for one reason or another, while there are others that never receive that same empathy and attention (typically because of some stigma they carry). This sounds like a huge and almost insurmountable global health challenge. What could possible cause global empathy tendencies to shift and grow? Well, I think it could start right here on campus. Just like some health topics are stigmatized worldwide, things like eating disorders, mental health, perceived personal short-comings, and doubt can feel like they carry a stigma on this campus. By opening up to people around us we can give and receive meaningful empathy. I believe that at any given moment everyone is fighting some sort of battle and comparing and contrasting does no good; the only way to heal, and to help heal others, whether it be halfway around the world or right down the hall, is to accept their battle as it is, without any alterations or explanations.
- Community Awareness — Final Empathy Exercise
- Final Blog Post