As a Human Biology major, I have learned that our brains are chaotic, messy libraries of knowledge, but that knowledge is power. Power to make decisions that can affect those around us in the years to come. Through our classes we have learned things such as: why it is so hard to cure cancer; our battle against infectious diseases; the gut-brain connection; smarter use of antibiotics; why hunger and starvation are still problems; how we can end Tuberculosis; if we can find a vaccine for HIV; how climate change will impact life on earth; how the food and companies we invest our money into affect us; our ethical obligations in the world; and much, much more. We now have an appreciation for the diversity of life on Earth, and an understanding of the role of Human Biology in addressing societal issues. Most importantly, we have learned to solve real-world issues.
Whether you decided on this major because you also wanted to be a healthcare professional, or if you simply want to conserve the environment and tackle life’s challenges head on, Human Biology has been the way to begin living a fulfilling life and our time here. This major has ignited a fire in my heart to dedicate my life to supporting global health initiatives and is constantly shaping me into the type of future healthcare provider that I want to be. For the first time I started doing things I was passionate about not just to put on a resume, but because I wanted to play my part in giving back. I have always been inspired to be a part of something bigger than just myself and I am a firm believer that there are some things that simply can not be taught in the classroom. Although it starts there (thanks to our incredible professors), it has the potential to extend to our daily life as well. Sometimes you need to be reminded how important things like team-building, empathy, and planning ahead are and this program has done just that for me. For those of you going into medicine, your job is not to just prescribe medicine and treatment plans; it is really to be your patient’s strongest advocate and to show compassion, always. Your smile and demeanor should make someone feel halfway better even before you think of a diagnosis. Our classes have taught us how to be advocates for human conditions and this step has been the foundation of the rest of our future.
I can speak for us all when I say I have valued the flexibility and choice in fulfilling our major requirements, allowing us to learn about a multitude of different things. I have re-discovered the little girl inside of me that was purely curious about science and the world around her. It has been a constant learning experience and has opened my eyes to how others live. Especially as a college student, we sometimes get wrapped up in our own bubble and forget that others problems are far bigger than ours. Service learning has connected theory and practice for many of us. When I said education was power, I meant it. While on my medical brigade to Guatemala, I couldn’t help but think how others would love to be in our position. And how lucky we were to even be stressed about having five exams and two papers due all the time. It is something I still think about even on the hardest of days. This experience has proved beneficial to me in many ways both personally and professionally. I would like to thank the professors that have helped us grow over the years (although not so much for the billion exams it feels like we have taken at this point). I would also like to thank my mom and dad for the endless support (and money for my coffee addiction while taking said exams, which my dad still thinks I used for gas money…oops lol), and to all of my peers. Through this program I have met a multitude of like-minded peers who have been a wonderful source of encouragement, laughter, and inspiration. I hope that you, too, have been inspired along the way and that the places you go in life reflect your values, understanding that we have the potential to create a ripple effect, and taking with you the lessons you have learned from your HUBI classes.
I remember being intimidated coming to this big campus, and now I never want to leave. I can’t believe our time here is done. If anything, these past four years have taught me that time truly does fly and soaking up every moment with those around you is crucial, despite the craziness of life. But the blood, sweat, tears, and "quite frankly" the lack of sleep for the past four years are balanced out with achievement, honors, and celebration. So cheers to the next chapter. No matter what stage of your journey you are on, you’re getting there and doing great. Trust in yourself, believe in your strengths, and cultivate your weaknesses. I wish nothing but the best for all of us.
In a world that loves making decisions for us, stay true to you. Knowing who you are will help you when it’s time to fight. Fight for what you believe in, fight for the job you want, fight for the kind of world you want to live in. Appreciate the world and make your own evaluations of it. But whatever you do, choose joy and meaning and find gratitude in each and every little thing. Together, we can inspire galaxies of greatness for generations to come. The only answer to hate is more humanity. We have to replace fear with curiosity, and be dedicated to making a change in this world, using our HUBI degree for good. We are entering a world of infinite possibilities, confusing ideas, and continuous changes. But, no sky is the limit. It is only the beginning. So, to the doers, the givers, the helpers….. here’s to loving and living in our here and now…….Lift off.