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Advice to a Young Person Starting College

Oh, mercy! Have the years brought wisdom with the wrinkles for me to dare offer advice to the young?

Could relating my first day at The University of Chicago weeping with my weeping parents—who lived less than an hour away by car for gosh sakes!—touch an emotion that would resonate with anyone else?

Could my sophomore epiphany that I was undergoing some Mobius strip kind of turning inward and then outward help anyone else who might be aware that they, too, were undergoing some kind of metamorphosis?

Could my joy in my third year that I could concentrate on my major and not have to struggle any longer with Aristotle or readings in The People Shall Judge help those who are equally eager to get on with the business of becoming USEFUL?

As a transfer student, I had been mitigated from The History of Western Civilization.
What a crime.

So, after I got my Ph.D. in Biochemistry and as a young mom, I audited William McNeill’s Art History course. Oh, and as a graduate student, I took a Life Drawing course from Harold Hayden because I missed that part of me that I had been denying in my race to the finish line.

And, I remember staring at the dapper Saul Bellow in the corner drugstore and at Norman Maclean as he trudged by my house while I was clearing the snow, and hearing Milton Friedman lecture, and lunching with a Nobel laureate in chemistry as he conversed with my toddler.

Although I have great respect for my first encyclopedic Biochemistry text by West & Todd, my favorite book that I keep returning to as an adult is To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf.
Is it any wonder?

The Scoop on the New HPV Vaccine

You might have heard about the new cervical cancer vaccine. This is very exciting news — this is the first vaccine that can prevent any form of cancer.

This vaccine works by creating immunity to some strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 100 types of HPV, but only some of them are associated with cervical cancer. Some of the rest can cause genital warts. Most young people are exposed to HPV viruses within two years of becoming sexually active. Usually, these exposures don’t cause symptoms and don’t result in any warts or cervical changes.

The new vaccine, called Gardasil, will target the two viruses that cause 70 percent of cervical cancer and the two viruses that cause 90 percent of genital warts. Studies done by the company that makes the vaccine showed that the women and girls who received the vaccine had fewer incidents of the precancerous cervical changes that can lead to cervical cancer and are far less likely to get genital warts.

Ideally, girls between 11 and 12 years old should receive the vaccine during their regular checkups. Women up to age 26 should discuss the potential benefits of the vaccine with their practitioners. The vaccine is currently not FDA approved for women older than 26 or men.

Vaccine recipients still need to get their Pap test at regular intervals because it’s not known how long the vaccine’s effects will last, and it doesn’t protect against all the cancer-causing HPV strains. Hopefully, this exciting new vaccine will lower the risks of young women getting cervical cancer, precancer, or warts.