A freshman’s take on joining GlobeMed and going on GROW

By Neil Thivalapill

This will probably be a very disorganized post because I can’t organize my thoughts for the life of me. So, here it goes:

GlobeMed. Level with me here, your club SOUNDS like it is filled with Pre-meds who want to save the world with their *expert medical knowledge* or at least convince medical schools that that’s what their end goal is. And I’ll admit, that was definitely a reason that I applied to GlobeMed. But damn, you guys did not fit that stereotype and I am so thankful you didn’t for essentially two reasons: I hate Pre-meds, and you guys have opened my eyes to the world of global health and social justice. My freshman experience at GlobeMed really did change me. It made me sadder but in a good way. I know that doesn’t really make sense but hear me out. Before joining GlobeMed, I didn’t understand health disparities, or social determinants of health, or really much of global health in general. Granted, I still don’t know a lot, but having my eyes opened this much to the field of social justice and global health was a lot to deal with. But it was comforting to know that I was and am still surrounded by people who get sad when they think of the current state of global health.

For some reason, I clearly remember repeating “I just love the community” when asked what about GlobeMed appeals to me. I mean come on, how could I sit there and tell the GROW Team coordinator and co-president, “Yeah the name of this club really jives with medical school.” Knowing both my interviewers now that would NOT have been a great answer. But I digress. Community. I definitely found it as a freshman, which I really did not believe would happen because I had this preconception that everybody hates freshman. But I found it nonetheless. I found it when at the new member retreat, at the reading of the Michael Brown verdict, at the Ugly Sweater Sale and at every chapter meeting (I hate how cheesy this sounds). I found people who cry when they think about global health disparities, who are not the conventional pre-meds and who are not pre-med but are fascinated by health. And I think these are the kinds of people I want to surround myself with for as long as possible.

When I got a missed call from Carol, I was walking back to my room from Norris and I thought I had been turned down. But I wasn’t really disappointed because I wasn’t expecting much. Then I saw that she left a voicemail and I began to question her life choices because who leaves voicemails in the 21st century. And then I listened to it and I guess the rest is history. To be completely honest, I am very scared for GROW. I can’t believe that we are less than 14 days from leaving and I consistently worry about messing up. What if I end up participating in voluntourism and leave a negative effect on the community there? What if I don’t immerse myself in the culture fully? What if I become a victim of racial profiling on the journey? None of these won’t matter in the end though, because past GROW members have told me that there is a good man waiting on the other side for us. And I really can’t wait to meet him.