Many people float through life completely unaware of how they should take care of their own bodies—not knowing what to do other than see a doctor when something is wrong. Many are even unaware of what integral parts work together in order for the body to function properly.
The human body is amazingly complex and it needs care, love and understanding. It’s because of this—as well as the general lack of understanding—that I believe every college student should be required to take a human anatomy and physiology class.
One of the things I loved most when I first came to Eastern was the low number of specific classes that were required to graduate. I had so much freedom to pick and choose what I wanted to take within a specific framework and, in fact, when looking at the general education requirements for EMU, I only found two classes that are actually required without any wiggle room: composition II and fundamentals of speech—and even these classes have loopholes, because with the right ACT score and high school experience, it is possible to get out of taking these classes as well. And I never saw anything wrong with that.
Many students figure out how to write decent papers before coming to college and adjust fine without taking a college level writing class and many others will never have to face public speaking, so taking a class on the subject is not all that vital to them.
However, no matter what degree someone may receive in college, they will leave here in a body. They will leave here housed in a complex network of systems that function in a homeostatic balance (or equilibrium) and they need to know anatomy and physiology, not because they may want to become doctors, but because we all have bodies that need care. An anatomy and physiology class gives you an understanding of the mechanisms of the body, what they should look like when running smoothly and how they might look when they are not.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, only 11.9 percent of people who go to emergency rooms are actually admitted to hospitals. This means that almost 90 percent of people who go to hospitals practically don’t need to even be there. With knowledge of anatomy and physiology, it is possible for you to understand when you have minor pain that is not important or if it is actually time to go to the hospital. Of course, if you’re unsure you should always seek medical attention. However, going to emergency rooms is extremely expensive and can span from just a few dollars with great insurance to very expensive prices that most people even with good jobs cannot afford, according to the University of California at San Francisco.
I know I would much rather be aware of what was going on in my body and know that it was not a big deal rather than going to the hospital and finding out that I was just overreacting. When people go to hospitals unnecessarily it increases the risk of contracting infections. According to the CDC, about 5-10 percent of patients go to hospitals and contract infections. You do not have to be admitted to the hospital to get these diseases.
Knowing when you are overreacting and why you need to do something is very important and can help ward off many diseases that can be found in hospitals from colds to pneumonia. This ties into knowing anatomy and physiology because you’ll know when something is working properly and when it’s not and it is time to do something about it.
The State of Michigan has generally poor health classes. Most students think they are a joke. But, when we take classes in anatomy and physiology, we learn more about our body and our health and we can avoid unnecessary visits to the hospital (which can save us so much money). Perhaps you don’t take any specific joy in learning how the human body works the way I do. However, I know everyone takes joy in saving time on going to see doctors when you don’t need to and even more than that, money.