Dear 2016: A Letter From Me to You

Dear 2016: A Letter From Me to You

Dear 2016, it's me

Dear 2016,

It's me, Makayla... I just have a few words that I would like to get out. I promise I won't be violent, although I wish I could say the same for you. Because let's face, 2016. You were pretty, damn shitty. What went wrong this year?

I mean there has been some pretty awful years, but come on 2016... Really? You top it off as the worst YEAR EVER... And well, I have suffered a lot this year. A lot of people have... Everyone is blaming it on you and I don't know if it's your fault or what, but you have been really rough on everyone.

I do want to say that there were some good times with you. I started the new year being the happiest I have ever been and I thought it was going to stay that way. I had my 18th birthday with the people I love and then I graduated high school (something I thought would never).

2016, you brought me joy, tears, frustration, anger, laughter, feeling helpless, feeling hopeless, losing faith, gaining some faith -- you brought me closer to some people I cared about and you made some people disappear, but overall you taught me some very valuable lessons.

For starters, you taught me how to love more and be very open-minded to certain subjects. Even though, I was really good at this I experienced a lot new things, especially when I travelled -- I am glad I learned to respect and learn and accept others cultures.

I understand that there is a lot of hate in this world and that there will be more to come in the future, so you need to love more and more each day.

I started working on accepting myself, my body, and everything else about me. Once again, I learned to love more.

I found the importance of cherishing family, especially when you don't have a lot of time with them.

It's okay to like different things than your friends and it doesn't mean you're any less cooler than them or different. So, like what you like, and who cares about their opinion.

I learned to hear both sides of the story before jumping to conclusion. And definitely don't believe every, little thing online.

The fact that not everyone will stay in your life and sometimes they pick someone over you, but that doesn't mean you did anything or that you aren't loved.

I learned to try new things even if it seems scary at first and it may be a little strange.

There is so much more 2016, but I do want to thank you. Thank you for teaching me a lot... It means a lot.

I can't wait for you to end.

Sincerely, someone who despises you

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.


When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

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Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

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Public Health May Be The Most Important Area To Focus On As A Society

I saw with my own eyes the importance of public health initiatives in villages throughout Honduras and Nicaragua.


Medical exploration and healthcare management has thrived throughout the 21st century, with major developments in epidemiology allowing organizations such as the World Health Organization of the United Nations to track the spread of preventable diseases such as malaria and influenza across impoverished countries worldwide. I saw with my own eyes the importance of public health initiatives in villages throughout Honduras and Nicaragua when I traveled there as a Brigadier with Stony Brook's Public Health Brigade, a coalition organized by Global Brigades during the Summers of 2016 and 2017.

Working alongside other university collaborations such as Boston University, I was mesmerized by the impact that improvements such as clean water through mountain pipelines and sustainable housing could do in reducing the severity of Zika virus outbreaks in the region, as accentuated by the near 8,400 villagers with access to clean water as a result of our efforts.

These experiences demonstrated to me the value of preventative measures highlighted by the public health approach — by attacking the origin of a disease and the medium through which it spreads instead of merely treating the manifestation of its symptoms, a holistic approach would allow for the eradication of a malady throughout an entire region whilst educating the local populations about the importance of proper hygiene practices and fortified infrastructure to prevent its re-eminence. It is for this reason that I feel inspired to pursue a graduate degree in Public Health as a professional, so that I can help contribute to the eradication of preventable illnesses across the globe.

A specific area of interest that I wish to target as a field of study would be the impact of sustainable housing in the eradication of illnesses such as lead poisoning through contaminated water sources. My own experience in this particular aspect of Public Health Administration as a Brigadier with Stony Brook Public Health Brigade showed me the importance of secure infrastructure in the reduction of preventable diseases as an especially pertinent area of community health in the United States, highlighted by the water toxicity crisis in Flint, Michigan.

A recent study released by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha at Hurley Medical Center noted an uptick in the blood-lead concentration of Flint Children from 2.4% to 4.9% after changing their water source, with spikes as high as 10.6% in correlation with elevated levels of lead in Flint water. These elevated blood-lead concentrations put these children at higher risk for lead poisoning, characterized by reduced growth rate and learning difficulties. Purification of the available water sources throughout the region would be a comprehensive long-term solution to reducing elevated blood-lead levels amongst Flint residents.

My goals after my master's degree in public health would be to pursue a medical education and become a doctor, or go into Healthcare Administration and eventually work with the WHO of the UN to establish a more easily accessible Healthcare system across various countries to increase the number of people in impoverished areas that can be reached by doctors, nurses and other primary care practitioners. I feel that a proper understanding of public health would, therefore, be essential to establishing my career in service to humanity.

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