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Welcome!

Hello!

Hi, welcome to my blog! My name is Gretchen and I am from Virginia Beach, VA. I’m a second year Health Science student, with a minor in Food Systems Sustainability, Health, and Equity.

Ask me any questions about:

  • The coop application process
  • Community service in college
  • Taking language classes at NU
  • Cool cafes in Boston!

I’m excited to keep you updated throughout my time at Northeastern and share why I love this school so much 🙂

Only at Northeastern

October 19th. 9:00 pm. Speare Plaza.

It is absolute madness, but it’s also one of the most iconic events of the year: The Underwear Run!

There’s a few things that scream Northeastern: the lunch rush at Rebecca’s, the Doghouse/student section at hockey games (that one physically screams Northeastern), and the annual Underwear Run!

Last year, I passed on this classic event, but after watching a massive swarm of students only in their undergarments, I decided I could not miss out again. So this year, I joined the madness! This tradition has been occuring at Northeastern for the past 14 years and to describe it as madness is honestly a bit of an understatement. If the prospect of storming the streets of Boston at night in minimal clothing at all intrigues you, then I highly recommend participating.

First, the runners form a mosh pit in Speare Plaza — complete with a DJ — where everyone participating gets hyped up and dances together. Then, once the enthusiasm has reached an acceptable level, the run commences and students proceed to the course. The enormous flock of runners take over campus, running past some of the most iconic spots, including Snell Library and Centennial Common. 

After passing through the West Village Quad, runners move on towards Huntington Avenue, where the Northeastern Police Department shuts down the street to traffic, so that students can take over. My favorite part was definitely running on Huntington all the way to the Prudential Center, where we passed by stopped cars filled with confused, yet amused drivers, many of whom l rolled down their windows to get a better view of the event. I high-fived many perplexed onlookers who, despite their confusion, still cheered us on. Continuing past the Prudential Center, we made our way down Hemenway Street and eventually made it back to Speare Plaza. Somehow throughout the entire run, I managed to not get separated from the majority of my friends, which was quite the feat. Even though the running stopped, the hype lived on and we rejoined a newly formed dance party occurring in Speare Plaza yet again!

Although it was a bit chilly at first, the entire experience was absolutely electric, and I can’t recommend it enough! I think I now have a new favorite Northeastern tradition!

An Andean Adventure

While it’s understandable that some might not want to spend their spring break digging a giant hole, I can’t imagine a better way to enjoy my first spring break at Northeastern! This past March I had the awesome opportunity to travel to Ecuador on an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) and volunteer with the Tandana Foundation. We spent the week in the highlands of Ecuador and worked with the indigenous community of Motilón Chupa to dig a water reservoir system. 

Some of the challenges:

  • No showers for a week: While not the most “appealing” aspect of the trip, not showering for a week definitely brought me much closer to my 10 other team members!
  • The language barrier: Perhaps one of the biggest challenges (but also my favorite aspect of the trip) was the language barrier. Not only was the Spanish language barrier present, but additionally the community members speak Kichwa, a language indigenous to the highlands of Ecuador. While communication was more challenging, I also learned words in a language that I previously never knew existed.
  • The length of the trip: ASBs only last a week, and this was perhaps the biggest challenge of the whole trip. At the end of the week, everyone wanted to stay longer because our time in Motilón Chupa had been so special. 

Some of the highlights:

  • The community: The warm and welcoming community of Motilón Chupa was probably the best aspect of the trip. Playing with the kids and talking with the adults of the community was always fun and I learned so much from them.  On multiple occasions, members of the community cooked us meals and went above and beyond to welcome us. They let us into their homes and taught us some of their traditions, including how to make queso fresco (which involved cow milking lessons)! Their generosity made a lasting impression on me. 
  • The views: The community of Motilón Chupa is situated high in the Ecuadorian Andes, which in my humble opinion might just be the prettiest place on earth. Waking up every morning surrounded by spectacular nature was an incredible experience and a welcomed change from city living. 
  • My team members: The ASB experience has been my favorite memory from Northeastern so far. Not only did I become close with the community members, but the bonds formed between my team members and I that week have proved to be lasting. Working alongside others towards a goal that is much bigger than yourself is very rewarding and a unique opportunity to make friends. 

Even if I was a little gross after a week of digging mud and not showering, ASB was an incredible opportunity and something I would encourage every Northeastern student to apply for.  It’s a great way to step out of your comfort zone and learn about a different community, while making friends along the way!

Unique Classes at Northeastern

Are you interested in a future medical career serving Spanish-speaking populations? Curious about how to say bunion in Spanish? Perhaps you are looking to up your Spanish “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” game? If so, say no more. Northeastern offers the perfect class for you!

This semester, I enrolled in Intermediate Spanish 1 for Healthcare Professionals. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was hoping to at least expand my Spanish vocabulary along the way. Having not taken a Spanish class since high school, I was especially worried about how I would fare during the lesson; however, immediately upon entering the classroom, the professor made me feel at ease and created an environment where I felt very comfortable participating. She was also very conscious of including every student in conversations, which immediately created a collaborative atmosphere. Within the first class, I learned numerous parts of the body, plenty of medical terminology, and a handful of diseases in Spanish for good measure. In addition to learning extensive vocabulary, in every class we expand on grammar and get the chance to practice medical situations, such as doctor and patient interactions. Outside of the classroom, we reinforce lessons we have learned through weekly blogs, where we write about different healthcare topics in Spanish, such as dietary norms or healthcare differences in hispanic countries. 

Prior to taking the class, I was very unsure of what to expect, but I am thankful that Northeastern offers language classes that have such a targeted and practical purpose. Some of my classmates, such as nursing or biochemistry majors, are particularly excited to put the information from this class to use during their future clinical co-ops. As I am interested in doing public health work at an international scale, I know that learning diseases and health issues in another language will be very relevant in my future career. 

Thanks to this class, I can now conduct a basic physical exam, understand different health emergencies, and contrast healthcare systems in another language. So whether you are just trying to add to your reservoir of random words you know in another language, or you have relevant career aspirations, I cannot recommend Spanish for Healthcare Professionals enough!

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