Back to School AGAIN!
By: Colleen Zuckerman
Last September of 2009, I got the itch to take a course or two at a local University. I checked on-line and found that Brown University had some very interesting courses in the evenings. I was so afraid that I would fail or need to drop out because of my mental illness that I almost did not scratch that itch that I had to go back.
Last fall I chose two courses in my field of interest. Both were in the Neuroscience Department. The first course was entitled "Learning and Memory." The course covered the neurological pathways that we use from infancy through adulthood in order to remember what we have learned and how to access it. The best part for me was doing a dissection of the human brain!
The second course that I took was entitled "Mental Illness and the Brain." The course covered all the mental illnesses that people live with, where in the brain the site of the disease is located, what medications are used and the method of operation of these medications. This was by far one of the most fascinating courses I have ever taken. Since I am bipolar, that part of the course was very informative, but so were all the other aspects of studying the etiology of other mental illnesses and the hope for new medications.
Having been successful in the fall of last year, I decided to take two more courses this spring. The first course I chose is entitled "Infant and Child Mental Health." This is a course that is totally foreign to me, but a subject I have always wanted to learn. So far things are going well.
The second course I chose was another interest of mine, and was entitled "Social Media and Online Technologies." When I realized that Brown was on Twitter, I was amazed and intrigued especially since we had just set up a Facebook page for Hillsgrove House and we hope to be on the World Wide Web soon. I am learning how integral these types of communication have become to socialization amongst people, and particularly how it is benefiting the mentally ill. People can now communicate any time of the day, especially if they just need a friend to converse with late at night. I look forward to exploring the theories of this course as it progresses.
I cannot express how much taking these courses has done for my self-esteem. I feel like I come alive when I'm in class. What a sense of accomplishment I feel when I can think through my medications and my mental illness. The most important thing is that if I had to drop out, or if I failed a course, that I am not a failure. Rock on!