Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Day 219: Updates and registration

Updates, I rocked my Organic Chemistry class. Rocked it. I hope you're all deathly afraid of my newfound (possibly latent) intelligence.

Registration, I just registered for the MCAT (the standardized test that all pre-medical students have to take -- think of it as the SAT for med school). This is all really happening. Holy freaking cow.

That is all. Vacation has been good to me but I could be studying/working out more. Meh. What's the point of vacation if you can't enjoy yourself a little?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Day 210: And it's all over (for now)!

Yes! I win!

And I'm done suckers. Muahaha.

I'm not going to lie. That final was hard. It wasn't necessarily anything I couldn't handle but it was, in typical Dr. Red (that's my Organic professor's "name") fashion, something I couldn't expect. I also did not study as much as I did for this final as I have for our previous exams but I've got to say, all in all, it was a good freaking final. It really tested one's breadth of Organic knowledge and I don't know...I'm a huge nerd who loves this stuff so I thought even though it was tough, it was good-tough. Either way, it's over and I'll get my grade for this course by the end the of the week (most likely).

The best freaking news ever is that I am going HOME. To California. Tomorrow.

Life does not get better than that.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day 208: Boys,Time Management and Donuts

The male species here in North Carolina are all so...not for me. My roommate has a new job. The boys at her new job asked about her roommate (me). Some of them have given her pictures of themselves to show me. All these little kids (literally, they're all teenagers) amuse me. Because they're so desperate for a girl. I just thought that would be a funny anecdote for you all.

Speaking of my roommate's new is at Krispy Kreme.What does that mean for me? A crap ton of donuts and a gabajillion pounds. Not good.

This is pretty much what I've done with the donuts she's brought home...

In other news, because all I know is science now, I didn't even know when I went home. I thought I flew home on Wednesday 12/17 but apparently it's Tuesday 12/16. Ha. Good thing I checked my flight status again. Now I can't decide if I want to pay an extra $75 to catch the first flight out, in an attempt to avoid air traffic and weather issues. I am going to home a whole day earlier than I thought so I guess it won't be that big of a deal.

Anyhoo, more studying. I think it's ridiculous how much I love doing problems and making sure I understand the stereochemistry and all that fun science jargon. Whee nerdyness!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Day 207: I win!

Muahaha suck on that science!

I passed my Biology and somehow managed to pass my Physics class? Granted, I freaking deserved it after studying my butt off for the final. All I have is my Organic final on Monday and I'm not even going to lie, I am not stressed at all. Everyone else seems quite stressed and unwell and I'm kind of excited. Even after our review session today, I'm still feeling a-okay. He's writing a 2-and-1/2-hour final for our three hour final period and I don't know. I'm excited about it...and still not worried.

I think this complacency (for once) has nothing to do with wanting to go home but with knowing that everything I'm doing is review. Unlike most of my class, I am not learning things for the first time. It's pure review. It's actually pretty sweet.

What kind of nerd says she loves Organic Chemistry and is not stressed-or-pressed about it? (Me!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Day 202: Some good news

I finally got in contact with the only girlfriend (Joy) I wanted to keep from the bunch of bad apples (that I once called "friends") and we missed each other. We were both busy studying for respective events so we were just busy. She still loves me and I still love her and all is right with the world.

Onto more good news...for those of you who know me, and I'm all about mitigating any good accomplishments because I hate bragging more than anything else, I'm going to step out of my shell a little and tell you something. We got our Organic test results back and I did fine. Better than fine actually. I...kind the highest grade on the test? Thank goodness he didn't call me out and say "Jessica got the highest grade on the exam" but it was pretty sweet to figure it out. In other good news, the class did so crappy (the average was 54) he's adding 10 points to everyone's score. I never count that stuff (he's done that twice now) but it's pretty sweet to know I've got a decent exam average. I mean, really freaking sweet.

The Physics test went fine. I did pull a Calvin on one question (I couldn't figure out how the numbers worked so I wrote a paragraph about why there should be a change in temperature) but I could care less.

If only my professor provided me with such a loophole...

I've decided if I come out with not-the-best-grade due to my circumstances...I'm going to deal with it. No tears. No pouts. No pissy fits. I'm just going to study my ass of second semester and kick butt on the Physics portion of the MCAT. If I can't fix the past, I can learn from it and improve my future.

So now I'm going to keep studying Physics concepts (specifically momentum and impulse and things that involve Greek letters), watch some "Dexter" (don't tell me!) and study some more for my final on Wednesday.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Day 201: Procrastination and a little village

Look at the little village my roommate put up!

(I'm going to try and put this in order from left to right)

A house, a school and a toy store

A popcorn stand and a seafood restaurant

The church (with a swing and carolers)

The popcorn stand, restaurant, church and fiber-optic tree!

And that is all. I'm feeling too lazy to study (even though I will) because home is so freaking close. Ugh.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Day 200: More tests (ridiculous), finals and blood!

Hello hello!

I am so close to the end, I can taste it. It tastes like sweet victory, hard work and sheer joy. Well, sort of, haha.

There has been a lot of Physics drama in the past three days and here is what went down. Apparently, the test printed funny and all the correct answers were lighter (in color) than the other options (it was a multiple choice test). Some kids figured it out and whispered the knowledge to their friends and thus cheating ensued. As a result, Professor Oldy McOld has decided to issue a retest on Monday 12/8. ...did I forget to mention that our final is on Wednesday 12/10? Oh yeah. So there's that.

Class was a vicious environment on Friday -- filled with seething students and an unappreciated professor and you can only imagine the sort of bickering and back-and-forth cattiness that occurred. It was not good.

The moral of the story is, shut up, stop whining and study. I'm not happy about taking another test (so close to the final no less) but instead of whining I am going to study more concepts and make sure I've got the math down. What else can I do? Bitch and moan some more. Yawn.

My Organic exam can go either way. It's fine though. As previously mentioned, we can drop an exam and even though I hate that mentality ("I can drop a test so this last one doesn't matter"), I did study hard and whatnot but if it goes the bad way ... well ... I can drop it. How begrudging of me.

Finals next week include Physics on Wednesday and Biology on Thursday. Then it's Organic on Monday 12/15 and then HOME ON THE 17TH. I'm a little excited and antsy. Can you tell?

And on a joyous note, I gave blood today! Whee second time! Let me just tell you, that is a big needle. And I have an excellent iron count. Yes!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Day 197: The end is near!

So many good things have happened since I last posted.
  • A friend from SIP gave me a ton of MCAT books. I am SO happy. I really want to start prepping for it because (I will only say this once) I am going to rock it...with hours upon hours of preparation. That, plus some hardcore dedication and true blue confidence...there should be no reason I will not kick the MCAT's butt!

    This is the actual stack of books my friend gave me.

  • Said friend has a Deaf roommate! I signed with him! I realized after the fact that I have never actually interacted with a Deaf person so it was pretty great. My signing was gosh-awful but he was very nice and he asked me where I learned to sign (high school and college) and I asked him what he was studying (English) and it was quite a nice conversation. I really miss signing. I was terrible though :\

  • I have decided to give a rat's patooty about the douche-y friends and I am completely ready to drop all their butts. Once I decided this (over Thanksgiving), I got so much joy out of it. I'm trying to figure out the best way to tell them to f-off but I have decided I am just going to ween myself out of their presence and wash my hands of them.

  • Biology I lab finished on Monday. Whee! (All the words necessary.)

  • I have a Physics test in T-minus 1 hour (give or take) and I just want to take it. I always get like this, too much studying makes Jessica antsy for tests.

  • I have an Organic exam on Friday that I'm excited about it. Well not excited, but preparing for. And yeah, a little excited. We can drop an exam and I have never understood that mentality of "oh, I can drop an exam so it doesn't really matter how I do on X test." That is just so dumb and lazy. I'm kicking this test's ass!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Day 188: Friends and physics

I realized today, the core group of friends I have here, are not really friends. We were friends throughout the summer and now...I'm a blip on their radar. It certainly didn't occur overnight and I think I did what I always do (which is pull out of these situations before I can get hurt) which may have abetted the situation. However, it didn't help because it still sucks.

Everything feels incredibly strained when we're together and I feel like I'm forcing myself upon them. At this point, they've stopped being friends and are now somewhere between acquaintances and friends. I'm not included in any outings anymore and it kind of sucks.

Therefore, my return to California now seems imminent and necessary. Come July 31st, 2009 -- I am driving me and all my stuff back to sunny California and getting out of this hellhole called North Carolina.

I hear ya lady, I do...

On an academic note (I can't believe I didn't post about as soon as I found out) decrepit physics professor is NOT going to be my professor next semester. I might actually learn something. I mean, what a concept! Huzzah for the possibility of learning! I just have to get through this class (and the final) and then I'm going to go home and teach myself what I have not learned these past 13 weeks.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Day 185: A little more positivity

So to actually update you all on the goings-on of my life...

Physics I lab ended on Wednesday. It was one of the better days of my life.

I have two tests the week we get back from Thanksgiving. Therefore, it is better that I am not celebrating Turkey Day with my beloved family. I can study instead, which is what I really need to do.

I'm making more friends and the friends I've got are fine. We play sports and apparently have Fun Fridays and it's fine. I'm learning to not do things that I don't want to (like watch them play "Call of Duty" for hours on end) and it's good. Slowly but surely.

Oh! And it snowed Thursday night! Snow! (It was cold...brr...) It's all melted now but it was fun to wake up to a blanket of snow on top of everything (including my car).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Day 184: It's all over...not really

I have nothing to do! That is until the week after Thanksgiving. I'm really excited to just do my own thing for the next week. I'm going to watch "Mixed Nuts", buy some holiday gifts, send some holiday gifts. Blah blah blah. This is all scintillating stuff. Blah.

School stuff, my biology test was fine. It could have gone better (a higher A) but I'm over the whole bit. I'm studying physics hardcore because I really need to. Organic is organic. I am as boring as a bag of rocks right now.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Day 180: Blah

I don't have good titles anymore.

I just try and blog regularly to keep you all in the loop.

Emotionally, I've decided every day is a struggle. Struggle makes it sound more dramatic than it is. Every day is question mark. Will I be moody Jessica or happy Jessica today? Moody Jessica tends to win out but I'm working on it.

On a much more positive note, I Skype-d around the world yesterday with my two best friends in the entire freaking world and was reminded that I am loved and wanted and blah blah blah. It's just good to remember that people care for you. Blah blah blah.

I have a biology test on Tuesday and then I'm home free until after Thanksgiving. Speaking of which, I will be staying here in North Kakalaky and bumming around and working and whatnot. It's a bit of a bummer because I really want to be home, but I'm a big girl now. (Supposedly.) I should learn to suck it up. ...or live some place closer to my family.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day 176: More test results and "sad" news

This blog must be so boring for all of you. Test this week, test that week. Results a few days later. Let me tell you, the lack of excitement you feel when reading this blog is fairly demonstrative of the kind of life I'm leading now. Blase. Boring. Discontent. Blah blah blah.

So I got my Organic results back and I did fine. My friend Chris did better than me again and I was in a pissy mood all day as a result. If I could truly express how innately more intelligent I am ... it's just offensive that he does better to be honest.

My "friends" are leaving me out of get-togethers and whatnot and whatever random-close-friendship-thing Kevin and I had ... well, that's over and done with too. I can tell that this whole situation is going to turn out like my last year at NYU -- lots of lonely nights and general bad things for my psyche.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Day 172: Another test, another day

I had my third Organic exam yesterday. It could go either way. One question (based solely on stereochemistry and nomenclature -- basically naming compounds and what they look like in space) was worth 36 points so...yeah. Either way.

I'm just chugging along with school at this point. A little bio here, and little organic there and some physics now and again.

In more social news, some friends(?) from SIP (not leaders but students in the class I lead for) invited me out to lunch and I accepted. We ate Japanese on Friday (after my test) and they're a cute bunch.

I am so boring. I think dripping snot is more exciting at this point.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Day 168: The Election

Today I will be straying from my typical school news to blog a bit about politics.

It's been terribly interesting to be in the South for this election. I come from liberal locations. California, liberal. New York City, super freaking liberal. North Carolina, pretty freaking conservative. It is important to note that many colleges run liberal so even here the Obama supporters are pretty outspoken. However, I can sense and see more conservatives than I ever have in my past.

One of my good friends here is a conservative. And the beauty of our friendship is how much we talk about politics. He sells conservatism and I listen. I rarely hear such comments and thoughts so it's rather refreshing to hear something so different than what I know.

Today, we were sitting in the car and listening to the radio and man, he was pissed. "We're heading towards socialism" and other such comments were uttered. What point we did agree on was GW's legacy. This is what George W. has done for his nation. He screwed up so bad, that he's turning red states blue. Blue! If Obama wins in NC, it'll be the first time the state's been blue in 30 years! That's a generation's worth of time!

I just can't believe it's November 4th. And I was thinking about what must be going on through the candidates' heads today and what will happen to them tomorrow. Whoever wins (and loses), will they rest? Do they have to keep campaigning? They won! (They lost.) It's just insane. And this time, I think the "liberal" media may finally get it right. Obama may very well become our first black president (which almost seems nominal at this point) and a Dem will be in office but this time, it's happening. I was so sure in '04 that Kerry would win (as a result of my location (NYC)) and was fairly shocked he lost. But this time around, GW has pretty much screwed the pooch for his party and this country. That seems to be the only thing the entire country agrees on at this point.

Like most things relating to me, this entry's all over the place but I'm not here to promote or condemn anything. The election has been so present in our lives for the past 18 months that I'm not sure what we're going to do tomorrow. Or next week. Or next month.

I hope you all voted and had an exciting voting experience. Huzzah for implementing your civic duties!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Day 165: Test results and thensome

I pretty much bombed my Physics test.

I didn't really, but when you get straight freaking A's for 5 months, getting anything less is a complete disaster. I don't want to talk about my grade or how much I completely abhor this professor. I just have to move on (because there's nothing I can do) and learn me some physics.

Halloween was fun. The post-bacc crew (we've grown quite a bit from the Fantastic Four) had a little shindig which involved spaghetti-and-meatballs, me and Joy being the only people to wear costumes, and my friends speaking Chinese to my Dad. All in all, it was a good night.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day 162: Physics test results

A 21 point curve. That was how bad the class did. At least 80% of the class got an F.

When you make a multiple choice test with only 19 questions, that's not so absurd.

We haven't gotten our tests themselves back. Just the general results.

I really hate today.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day 159: Physiology or Biology II?

I am currently debating which classes to take. I'm obviously going to be taking the second part of Organic Chemistry and Physics (and their respective labs). The dilemma is whether I should take Physiology instead of Biology II.

My friends in Bio II say that all they're learning about is plants and ecosystems and things that won't be on the MCAT. Physiology is more applicable to the body (obviously) and to what I may see on the MCAT.

Basically, Physiology is the better class but I checked out some Admissions Requirements for some med schools and they all require one year of General Biology (whatever that means). I'm trying to see if I can have Physiology count as "general biology" or if I'm going to have to take it. I've also heard that it looks better to med schools that I've taken Physiology. And if it's required, I'll take it in the summer or the fall (wherever I am).

I think I'm just trying to get/find some affirmation that Physiology is going to be better for me (for the application process and the MCAT) and that it's better to have that rather than a full year of Biology when I apply. I mean, I'm going to get that year, it just won't be consecutively. Pish posh, at this point, what about me is consecutive or somewhat normal (by human and/or pre-med standards)?

On another note, I think I'm going to continue SIP. I think. I'll have three classes with three labs and hardcore studying/prep for the MCAT. Oh fudge. Writing it out makes it more obvious that my schedule next semester is going to be the death of me. Maybe I can't SIP. UGH.

Decisions, decisions.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Day 157: Back to school and NY Pictures

Hey all,

I have returned from the Big Apple. It's still big and apple like. Anyhoo, here are the few pictures I took of the city and whatnot.

New York Public Library -- a couple was getting married that day!

Ashley's hand is blocking the flash -- still, fun picture :P

Central Park (from the lower west side)

More shots from the nouveau-discovered-lake-thing

Just a guy lounging, reading, enjoying the day

It's been a difficult week. Mainly because my head hasn't been in the game but I'm setting it straight this weekend. It was an easy week though, no labs, just hanging out really.

Physics test next week (uh, yeah, about that) and then a Chem II test to proctor. And then more tests. Whatever, c'est la vie de une etudiante (I have no idea if any of that was correct...I like to make up words in different languages :P)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Day 150: So close to New York

I took my biology exam yesterday and it was fine. I didn't feel as sure of the exam as my friends did but I did fine.

New York is turning into a bigger hassle than I thought because as of 1:58pm, I have to idea who will be taking me to the airport and the parking fees are going to be annoying for five days (about thirty bucks). It's fine if I have to drive myself (it might actually be better) but it sucks nonetheless.

I need this break. However, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to escape from school work. I'm quite positive my handy dandy Organic textbook is coming with me to NYC. Along with some extraneous biology and physics notes. Whatever. It's time for vacation people.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 148: Test results, part two

It's official. We have entered the Twilight Zone.

My friend Chris did better than me. By two points. That is completely absurd. I wish I could explain how much more innately intelligent I am than he...among other things. And I say that sincerely. Everything about today is completely off.

To begin, our Organic professor decided to leave the exams in front of his office for students to pick up. Great. Instead of getting all grabby with other students, I decided to wait until the rush passed and I would get it later. When I get up there, my exam is gone. Gone. Someone took it? I thought maybe Chris got it for me but when I saw him later he said he didn't. Well, I tell my professor that it's not there and he proceeds to 1) tell me my score (with a "good job") and 2) send out a mass e-mail about my exam. Goody.

I find out later that my friend in my Physics lab decided to get my exam for me since she knew she'd see me later that day (in said Physics lab). Uh, great? At least I got my exam. I went through it to see my mistakes and they don't seem to be anything I could really try and get any points back for. Let me tell you, at this point, my day has gone completely to hell.

Chris does not do better than me. In this universe, a parallel one or even an alternate one. It just doesn't happen. My ego is bruised, my life has no meaning and I'm in complete shambles. (Only a mild exaggeration)

I can't wait to go to New York. It'll just clear my head of all this stupid BS that is school and my life in North Carolina. Too bad I have to study for my Biology exam right now. I have been. And I will continue to do so throughout the probably-not-s0-scintillating debate tonight.

I am so not with-it right now, I can't even tell you. FUDGESICLES.

Day 148: Test results (for real!)

I get my Organic exam back in about four hours. Dun-dun-dunnnn.

I have a Biology exam tomorrow.

New York the day after that.

I haven't packed. I've been sleepy so studying's been going okay. No one has come to SIP for the past two days/sessions because they just had their test on Thursday so I've just been hanging out and studying.

Sorry this is so paltry. It might be a two-parter to let you know how well? badly? I did on the exam.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Day 144: Test results...sort of

I think I just realized how boring this must be for all of you. Tests, studying, blah blah blah. I'll try and be better about making it more personal without laying all my goods out. Sound like a plan?

Anyhoo, the Organic exam was good. I have no idea how I did because there's always the inevitability of human error but I felt prepared. I've finally decided how this professors tests. Most professors have you read the book, do problems and ta-da! You know it. When you walk into the test, you've seen it all before. That is not the case with this guy...let's call him Professor Steeler (he's from the Pittsburgh area). He truly tests you on concepts. Reading and doing problems won't cut it. You need to actually understand what is happening in the reaction and why the nucleophile attacks the electrophile and whatnot because come test day, he will throw you a curve ball. And if you're a good hitter, you'll be able to tweak your ability (in this case Organic Chemistry knowledge) to hit the ball (answer the question).

The Physics lab test went fine. He actually tested us on Labs 1, 2 and 3 (instead of only 1 & 2). Therefore, upon his mistake, we have to have another test this week. There is one nice caveat though. He called out some students' names after the test and said "If I called your name, you got above a 90 so you can decide whether or not to take the test next week. If you don't, I will just count this grade as your first test grade." ...he called my name, so that was nice. I don't foresee me taking the test next week since I need to study for my Biology exam on Thursday.

Ooh! Here's something personal...I'm off to New York next weekend! We have a fall break and I think I need to get my butt out of town for a few days to clear my head and not be here basically. It's nothing bad but it'll be a nice break. I get to eat good food and see my wonderful friends and just be in a city that thrives and where I don't fear for my life when it gets dark out (only half-kidding).

So this week, get through it. Study for Biology. The end.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day 140: Test prep (Organic, Physics Lab)

We're hitting hump day (I've only recently discovered that term refers to Wednesday) and usually once 5pm Wednesday comes, I'm just about home free. However, I've got my second Organic exam on Friday and I've got this dumb test during my Physics lab tomorrow. Blah.

Just wanted to keep you posted that I'm doing tons o' Organic problems, lots of alkene mechanisms (whee!), reviewing my Physics labs and other geeky science things. All things good basically.

Here's a mechanism I need to work on:

Peroxyacid + alkene -----> Epoxide

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Day 138: Some new ideas

I've been thinking that since the love of my life Joy will not be here next year (fingers crossed she'll be at pharmacy school back home) and North Carolina is by no means home, I'm thinking about going home after I'm done this year. Granted, that was intentionally the plan but then I made friends and realized I'd sort of established myself here and blah blah blah. Then I realized my friends are only so-so (the norm, discovering flaws in people after you've hung out with them so much) and my sister's pretty convinced that this place is not good for my soul (she may or may not be correct in that assumption).

The old plan: Stay here. Take calculus over the summer OR (maybe) apply to this "Medical Education Development Program" at UNC-Chapel Hill (basically a program where I take med school courses before I actually get in to medical school). Take cool courses like biochemistry and physiology to further my science aptitude and impress med schools. I would have already established myself -- with the school, with a hospital where I volunteer, etc. Post-bacc friends are here! (Some will leave but most of them will still be here.) Live with Chris (as was the plan) -- and may a somewhat small rent.

The "new" plan: Go home. If I don't do the MedEd (my own little shortening :D) program, then I will have taken calculus so I can scratch that sucker off. Enroll in a local state school where I will take biochemistry and physiology to further my science aptitude. I need to look more into it but maybe I could take it at the Berkeley extension which will certainly impress schools more than UNCG (let's be honest). Be with my family. Be much closer to my sister. Be with other, non-post-bacc friends. Not pay rent. Save more money. Be closer to schools I'm applying to (read: in-state).

As it looks, I'm leaning towards this new plan (hence the more prevalent pros) but it's still in the works.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day 134: Nice weather and moods

I had some extra time today so I thought I would blog. I know how excited that makes you all ;)

Anyway, I've decided to work on "not sweating the small stuff." And this sentiment deals mainly with friends and such but I think I'm letting it apply to school. There are things you can't change after the fact (like a not-so-hot lab score) and then there are things you can (such as studying like a maniac for upcoming exams) change before the fact. I know, I know, I'm a little late on the uptake but at least I got it.

I saw my friend Joy's cat for her Anatomy class. It's all dead and in a box and they named it Butters. I can't wait for Gross Anatomy where I get to hang out with a cadaver. (Seriously.)

Physics is still the absolute bane of my existence. That professor blows. Hard.

I'm learning to identify patterns in alkene reactions (Organic) so that's sweet.

I've realized/decided that Biology is going to be sheer memorization. No real concepts. No real understanding. Just stuff you gotta know.

And my moods have been on the upswing mainly as a result of ... the weather? And family and friends that care. And just getting my act together and getting myself out of these slumps. I can't depend on others for everything. That's just irrational.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day 133: A quick update

Just saying "hey" before my SIP session starts.

I really hate physics and feel like I'm not getting anything (even though I did fine on my test). I'm going to be royally screwed when the MCAT roles around and I don't even know the equation for work. Ugh.

Mmm, I again, am feeling better and am adjusting myself as a person and friend? I know that sounds bad but it may be for the better.

I'm still kind of tired lately, which isn't good.

I realized I'm having a hard time with (E) and (Z) naming of compounds in Organic but that's nothing a little (or a lot) practice won't cure.

Sorry for the brevity but something's better than nothing :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day 131: An Update

I'm feeling fine now. Nothing to worry about. Just a weird funk that I'm working my way out of but it's nothing ice cream/cheeseburgers/general goodness can't fix.

I got an A on my Physics test (phew!). I was worried I wouldn't see has how I taught myself but we're good.

Lots of Biology today. And that is all.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Day 130: Stuff

I'm sure you're all scintillated by the title of this entry. I find it quite descriptive and incredibly cliffhanger-like. And as I'm sure you all can tell, I've pretty much lost my mind.

I tend to keep this blog school-focused because a friend of mine said it's usually better, and less drama filled, when your business isn't all over the internet. That is true. However, I'm going to go into some feelings now so those of you who weren't looking for that well, you can stop reading now.

School is going fine. My social life is somewhat fine. Lately, I've been in a funk. Or several. My family's a little concerned and to be honest, I don't know if they should or shouldn't. That's how out of it I am. I can't even critically assess my own mental state and who the heck knows what that means. I still feel focused (academically anyway) and I'm developing more of a rapport with certain professors and that's all good, but I think personally and socially, I'm lacking.

I've got this amazing girlfriend Joy who is the bomb diggity. I'm attempting to emulate her because she is the shiz. She's married, in her mid-twenties and going to be a pharmacist. She's the best freaking person you could have as a friend and, sadly, even she can't make up for whatever I feel like I'm lacking right now.

I'm not feeling like myself (whoever that is) and I can't seem to shake it off. I guess I just need some time to figure it out ... or something. Maybe it'll come to me and I can rectify it. Or hopefully I can just snap out of it.

I'm hoping for an epiphany right now.

Alas, enough about me and now back to Organic and then Physics and then at some point Bio. My boyfriends ask so much of me.

Oh and I did fine on my Organic test and am awaiting the results from my Physics test. Meh. Whatever.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day 123: The first organic exam

I think my first organic exam went well.

Fun fact, I asked the professor a question before the test and he was extremely helpful. After he answered my question, he asked me how I was feeling about the test. I told him, flat out, that I was going to ace it. We both laughed and then more conversation ensued.

On the test itself, I think my knowledge was sound and even though I got a little caught up in some of the nomenclature and there were certainly some questions I didn't get right away, I think it went okay. Better than biology I hope.

Anyhoo, I'm studying some biology now and then I'm off to read more organic and then I need to do some hard core studying for physics. Hard freaking core.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day 119: The first Biology exam

I just took my Biology exam. It could have gone better. And I could have done better. She posted the answers to the exams right after class and I reiterate, I could have done better. I got an A, which was fine. But I was shooting for an A+. I think I walked in too overconfident and some of the questions were a little tricky. What it really boils down to is my annoyance at having made stupid mistakes. I really hate those. Ugh.

And of course I'm a little shaken by how low my A is so I can't focus on physics right now. Which is what I really need to be doing. And then my Organic exam is this Friday and I also need to get my game-face on for that.

You know what it is? I'm so used to acing Chem II exams and just kicking ass that not super-acing them throws me off. I need to just suck it up, shake it off and move on. Onto Physics!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Day 115: Studying for tests

I'm always wary of posting test dates because then my loquacious father always finds the need to bolster my study habits. Before you start, I'm studying. Already. So chill out.

Anyway, I've got two tests next week (Biology and Organic) and then Physics the week after. I'm going to ace all of them (and I say that sans cockiness but with craploads of studying to back up my knowledge train). Biology's just going to be a lot of memorization and it's a scantron test. Which I had to buy myself. I think going to a private school spoiled me to amenities such as provided scantrons and Blue Books. Organic doesn't seem too bad but I have to get my act together and a) actually buy myself a molecule set and b) practice Newman projections.

Eclipsed v. Staggered Conformations

B is interconnected to A so I think I need to just suck it up and buy it. I'm annoyed because mon nouveau ami Kevin won't just lend me his molecule set for a freaking week. Boys are so stupid.

Anyway, I hate physics. It is the bane of my existence and every day I walk into class, my soul dies a little. I am not exaggerating. This professor is the poster child for what not to do as a professor/old person. I am not kidding. He will fill an entire white-erase board with numbers and calculations and then look at it and forget a) everything he's done or b) what he was looking for. And I hate the book so I'm not learning well from that sucker either. I think I'm going to sell it and buy another more resourceful book. Maybe. I say a lot of things in theory while my implementation is only so-so.

I love SIP. I am SO glad I chose to do it. All the pros override the cons I was holding about this decision. SIP leader-wise, I've met a gaggle of wonderful people. SIP leading/session-wise, I'm lucky and have at least two people per session. I'm learning a lot of names and meeting a lot of people and it's going well. I hope to be a good leader and/or motivator to get them to do well and succeed. In general, I'm working on perfecting the SIP leading technique and I'm expecting more people per session in lieu of the upcoming test on 9/25.

I do apologize for not blogging enough but I'm working on it. I'll blog more next week post-(each?)tests to keep you all in the loop.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Day 103: The first weekend of the fall

It's labor day weekend and I'm hanging out with my boyfriends -- Biology, Physics and Organic Chemistry. I've gotta tell you, it's been a scintillating weekend. (Note the sarcasm)

However, more 411 on my classes.

Biology is going to be a little dry? Slow? The professor's the cutest woman you'll ever see but we're moving pretty slow but I think things will pick up eventually.

Physics sucks more than a vampire. The professor is old and scatterbrained and generally sucks. Nick hated him so much he's taking Physics at another university. (Yeah, he's that awful.) I'm dealing though. Class is only 50 minutes, 3 times a week so I just sit there and do Physics problems because that's going to be the only way to ingrain the concepts and formulas into my brain.

Organic is great. I was really worried about the professor but he's incredibly direct and organized and you all know how much I love me some organization. I'm currently doing book problems and am somewhat impressed with my drawing and naming abilities.

2,4-dimethylhexane anyone?

Mmm, my SIP course (Chemistry II) is going well. A friend from SIP (let's call him Kevin) is in that class and he's the best. He's actually way too smart to be there and we just pal around during class and it's good. A student asked me a question on Thursday and I felt all smart and appreciated and wanted. As Kevin joked, "it sounds like you almost knew what you were talking about." Which I did. I also did give her a little misdirection which I will correct when I see her Tuesday.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Day 099: A Quick Update

I've had just about all of my classes (including my SIP class!) and things are looking good. Good meaning I have a lot of work and I'm going to have to figure out how to study for numerous subjects rather than just one but I'm glad I'm getting closer to this whole doctor bit. Physics seems fine enough (we'll see how he is again today). I really like my Organic and Biology professors -- they've got their acts together so that's good. And good ol' Burnsy (my Chem II professor) is the same ol' same ol'. I'm glad he's my SIP Academic whatever-his-title-is ... we get along. And he pretty much knows he's writing my letter of recommendation to med school so that's sweet too.

In other news, I'm thinking about doing an internship? We'll see how much time I have and how well it pans out. It's not looking like too big a commitment but it is going to be cumbersome in regards to driving to and from but again, I don't really know. Never mind, apparently, it's highly sensitive and I may not be right for it. Oh well, let's see if there's something else I can try :)

There's a big storm in North Kakalaky right now so I haven't walked to school in a few days and instead have been late when people have given me rides. Ironic, I know.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Day 097: The first day of the fall semester

Today wasn't bad. I had Physics, Organic and (hopefully, if I can add it) Bio lab.

Nick is not a fan of our Physics teacher. He calls him "Grandpa". He's got a southern, old, white Grandpa feel to him and that would be okay if he didn't seem rather, well, decrepit. Not physically, but mentally.

Huh? What?

He doesn't seem all there and I don't want to make him sound loosey-goosey so much as just ... not having all his marbles. He doesn't come with prepared notes to class and just writes whatever on the board and, quite a defection from my Chem 2 professor.

Organic was good. I was incredibly wary about the professor because his Rate My Professor ratings were not so hot. However, an SIP co-worker/friend said he was pretty chill and class was ... direct. Which I appreciated. He has an aversion to cell phones ringing in class and cheating (good things). He was a drop-a-test policy (also good). Class is only fifty minutes, four times a week and Nick (who sat in with me even though he's in another section) was wary about 50-minute tests (he needs all the time he can get, plus some) ... I think it'll be good. I'm hopeful. Here's to hoping my hope doesn't die :P

Lastly, Bio lab was wasteful. They had an assessment test at the end of lab today and let me tell you, I was pretty pitiful. They asked questions about xylems and phloems and carnivores and haploids and meiosis and yeah, it was bad news. They said it wasn't graded and whatnot but I realized I'm going to be paying lots of attention during Bio :)

And that is all. I hope you all enjoyed this scintillating recollection of today's classes. ;)

Oh, I also manned the SIP booth for a little and that was enjoyable. I'm really liking the program and the people and am extremely glad I decided to do it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Day 093: SIP it is...

So apparently I had to turn in an application and interview for the position. I did that today and she offered it to me. I think she must have been really desperate, haha, but that's besides the point.

Now I'm starting to get antsy about school. I don't have all of my books just yet and am having trouble registering onto whatever networks my professors want me to. Now that the SIP decision has been made, my schedule must change and right now everything's more closed than a chastity belt so...I'm going to need to sit at this computer until I get into these classes.

I'm excited about SIP and training is this weekend which isn't going to be that big of a deal.

I apologize if this entry is so disjointed, my head's in a million places right now but I thought I'd finally blog and let you all know I'm back in North Kakalaky and am somewhat excited for school to start but right now I'm peeved and annoyed and just trying to get my act together. Le sigh.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Day 080: Final grades and some good news?

The registrar is being weird and not showing me my GPA or any earned credit so I'm going to call them today to sort it all out.

I passed Chem 2 and Chem 2 lab so that's always a plus. I celebrated by shopping like crazy and I think I deserve it :)

Anyway, my professor from Chem 2 asked me to be his SIP leader in the fall. Here's the little schpiel on the school website:
The Supplemental Instruction Program (SIP) is a series of weekly discussion/ review sessions for students taking historically difficult courses. SIP is available for all students enrolled in specific course sections. SIP sessions consist of a discussion facilitated by an SIP leader who has successfully completed the course. The SIP leader knows the class content and sits through class with you every day. They hear what the class hears and read what the class reads in order to help students critically think about the class material. Statistics show that students who attend SIP attain from 1/3 to 1 whole letter grade better than those who do not. This could be you!
Firstly, let's recognize what an honor this is. I really thought he was going to ask David because he not-so-secretly loves and wants to be David but apparently I have a better personality? Whatever, yay for me and not David, haha. So the fact that he chose me is pretty cool beans.

In all seriousness though, I don't know if I should take it. The position requires about a 10 hour commitment per week, I have to change Organic Chemistry professors (to a more challenging one) and yeah. Those are the main cons I've come up with.

The pros are: I would develop a good rapport with the professor (so that he could write a kick-ass recommendation for me), it would look good on my med school application, I would be firming up my chem knowledge and, that's all I've got.

I like how he thinks...or decides rather.

So it looks like I've got three pros to two cons but those cons are a big deal. To be honest, I came to win. If my grades suffer at all, I'm out of the game. So even though I have "kick ass SIP leader" on my application, how much will that matter if I get a B in Organic? Since grades and MCAT scores are what get you remotely in the door, I need to get in the door. Seriously.

So, it is certainly good news, it's just trying to figure out what to do that's the tricky part. Any advice friends and family?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Day 072: The aftermath of chemistry

It's over. So very over. The final was long. Longer than long. The group and I were under the conception that the final was going to be something that covered more conceptual information and that if you really wanted to improve your grade, the final would be your chance. Wrong. We decided that if you didn't know it before, hopefully you learned it for the final because it was very calculation heavy and just longer than anything.

For me though? It was fine. I didn't go over it as thoroughly as I have previous tests just because I was so sick of it after going through my numbers the second time around. I would have had to screw up big time to lose my A so I'm very whatever about it.

The long convoluted formal lab report I did? It actually turned out really well. I think when I'm more apathetic about stuff (but still on point, does that make sense?) and just plain sick of it and ready to turn it in, that's when I do my best. Haha. I spoke to my lab instructor about it and she said that I may walk out of lab with an A+ ... which would just be absurd. She was great though. She pointed out that she wasn't giving anything to me and that I earned it and that's always great to hear.

So I have more thoughts and such but maybe I'll blog about those while I'm on vacation! I'll be home in California for two glorious weeks and I'll blog more about feelings and thoughts and fears and I know, you're all just titillated by the thought. ;)


Disclaimer: I do not watch this show. I just thought Zanessa
would best demonstrate the sheer joy that I have about
26 days of vacation/no school. So yes, scream & shout!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Day 068: So close to the end

Two tests down, one to go. And by one, I mean a final. Meh. I was a little worried about it earlier this weekend but it shouldn't be too bad.

To be honest, I'm just ready for all this crap to be over. So I can go home. And see my beautiful family and friends. And just relax. Like that shirt/reference I don't actually understand, "Frankie says relax!" That's what I'm looking forward to.

The second test on Thursday was fine. I made a crapload of mistakes but I saw them all and corrected them during the test so ... we'll see. At least there's that.

Anyway, this final chapter is on chemical kinetics (the rate at which chemical reactions happen) and it's pretty math heavy. We discussed derivatives/instantaneous rates on Wednesday and I was reminded that I really need to get my calculus mind back into gear.

Oh, and I hate formal lab reports. They're annoying, mainly because they expect them to be immaculate but they only give us two days to do it. Whatever, lab's over on Tuesday. So close.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Day 064: Studying...supposedly

I'm done studying.

Well, not really, but I'm not burnt out anymore. I listened to some music, baked a little and just realized I'm fine. There's nothing to really be stressed about. I know the material. I think I was just sleepy yesterday.

Anyway, I got my test results back from Monday. Una A. We have this new kid in our study group, David, who keeps kicking my ass on these tests. And by kicking my ass, I mean he always gets 105 on each test (it's out of 100 with a 5 point extra credit question), so that's annoying. I suppose it's something to strive to though, haha.

Tomorrow's test is on oxidation-reduction stuff and voltaic cells and other stuff? I forget. Whatever, I just want to take it and start studying for the final and go home. I'll keep you all posted.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Day 063: Burnt out

I had a test yesterday which I think went fine. To be honest, yesterday feels a million years ago. I've been studying for my upcoming test on Thursday (yes, two days from now) and just doing problems and reading and the usual. I don't know what happened, or how it happened, but class is over in nine days. That's crazy.

We're about to start the last chapter/subject (Chemical Kinetics) tomorrow and I'm completely burnt out. Earlier today, I was sincerely insane -- I'm running on bad sleep (I'm not sleeping well for some reason) and then I had iced coffee so it wasn't good. I was singing random songs outloud (more so than usual) and talking a billion miles a minute and yeah.

I don't know what's going on with me. I think it's time for this all to end. The end is so close but like my friend Chris said, three tests in two weeks -- that's a little extreme. One down, two to go. And we'll probably have an in-class assignment tomorrow that I just can't even think about right now.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 061: Feeling caught up...for now

I'm sensing a pattern of blogging when class is over for the week (Thursday) and then again before the week starts (Sunday). Huh.

Anyway, I'm finally feeling caught up. I'm all studied out for our test on acids and bases tomorrow. I've done all the suggested and practice problems. As well as reading the book chapters and my notes. I'll probably read my notes again tonight before bed but at this point, I need to look ahead to Thursdays test on electrochemistry. We did a lab relating to it on Thursday which was kind of fun -- we used baby-baby spark plugs (essentially) and measured voltage of different metals and it sounds scintillating I'm sure. haha, well, considering our lab on Tuesday and Wednesday was more annoying than the song that never ends, well, it was quite refreshing really.

Luckily, the lab reports for those two weren't so bad. I'm really impressed with myself. I usually feel like I'm trying to catch up to what's going on half the time (because of this weird 8am class, I have a theory I will elaborate on in a second), and I finally feel caught up. Right now, I'm reading what he taught us on Thursday (the beginning of electrochemistry, focusing on oxidation-reduction reactions)

OIL (Oxidation, electron is lost) RIG (Reduction, electron is gained)

and hoping to actually read ahead? (Knock on wood) We'll see.

As I mentioned earlier, I think our professor teaches our 8am class like a 5pm class. He presents information as if we should have read about it beforehand so I feel he doesn't always delve as much into things as he could. Then the rest of the day (after lab) is dedicated to teaching what he should have taught me? Does that make sense? He's really clear and if you're 100%-focused, then you should be able to follow along. It helps to read just in case you weren't 100%-focused and it just helps to clarify concepts that he may not have covered well/thoroughly. So instead of being ahead as he seems to think we are, we're all really trying to catch up, every single day. This isn't a bad thing really. I'm just grateful he's so on top of things and helpful and organized (I really can't stress how important organization and structure is) and as long as I learn the stuff (a third through him, a third through the Fantastic Four (Five-ish; we have a "new" kid who studies with us sometimes) and a third just by myself), that's all that matters.

Until Thursday and then one more week! Time sure does fly. I'm sure you'll all depressed summer is coming to an end soon. Summer's almost here (for me), haha.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Day 058: The second test results and lab info

We got our tests back today and I did fine. An A for those of you that are wondering so, again, fine. I missed this question that was obvious but my brain was malfunctioning and switched the concepts/ideas (bonds forming = exothermic, bonds breaking = endothermic) and got the problem wrong. However, that was the only problem I got wrong so there's not much to complain about.

I really am terribly sorry I don't blog as much. I've realized that lecture and its accompanied homework/practice problems are not what's keeping me busy. It's lab. Let me fill you in on the 411...

Lab is worth one credit. Class/lecture is worth three credits. However, I swear to you, I am spending more than 50% of my time every single day working on lab. The lab reports are waayyyy more involved than they should be and they take forever and a half because reports are the only grades you can get and it's just ridiculous!

Par example, we have a (formal) proposal due in Monday for lab. A proposal! We don't even know what we're doing half the time (because lab rarely correlates with lecture and we're doing stuff because they tell us to -- nothing conceptual and nothing really gets taught) so you somehow expect us to create a proposal? And of course they're freaking scientists so they don't tell you length or any of that crap. Here's how you source, look here, go! ...UGH.

Basically, lab is consuming my life and it sucks.

On another note, I really like my professors/instructors this session. I like how methodical my lecture professor is and he's really helpful and succinct and organized and methodical and basically all things one wants in a professor.

The wand is just for effect. It's all in the chemistry.

He's so cute, he makes these dorky chem jokes and then he laughs at them and my friends make fun of his laugh because its a little bit like a bark and a little bit like Butthead's laugh (or is it Beavis? I never watched the show, thank goodness) from "Beavis and Butthead". An awful show and an awful reference but its the truest one there is. My only true critique would be that he has a very monotone voice so its easy to not pay attention and realize you missed a chunk of something. My lab instructor is so much more organized and actually teaches in pre-lab so we're not going in blind (like we did most days in Summer Session I). She's really friendly and she knows my friends and I 'cause we work and study hard and ask her for help on lab reports so she knows what's up.

I know this is long but I thought I should get everything in while I have time and it's still fresh on the mind. I'm serious guys, all I eat, live and breathe is chemistry right now.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day 054: Enthalpy, entropy and (Gibbs free) energy

I thought I would take a break from studying and attempt to blog more. I really do apologize for not blogging as much because this really is the sole means of communication between us so I reiterate, sorry.

Our test tomorrow is math-heavy. A lot of formulas and concepts are tied together. I know them all, it's just a matter of sorting everything into its appropriate little box and then after that, fitting all the boxes together to make a pretty picture.

Just to give you an example (feel free and skip to the next paragraph in case this bores you) ... Enthalpy is the amount of heat given off (or taken) by a system.

Looks like everything is in proper disorder...

Entropy (the amount of disorder/disorganization within the system) relies on enthalpy -- the amount of heat tells us what kind of reaction it is and other cool tidbits. Gibbs Free Energy is a combination of enthalpy and entropy and it tells us how much energy is "free"/left over to do actual work (e.g., how gasoline works/is used in the piston of a car).

I know, it all sounds pretty dry and random but it's pretty cool how everything relates to one another. However, it is also a little overwhelming to have to keep all these concepts and deltaH, deltaS, and deltaG's straight. Much less the different kinds of deltaG. No worries though, I've got a handle on it, just wanted to keep you all in my chemical loop, haha.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Day 051: Tests, labs, and such

Hey everyone,

I know it's been awhile but this new schedule is pretty intense. I'm up at 6:15-6:30 every morning. I have class from 8am to roughly 1pm (depending how long lab runs). Then I study until ... oh, evening time ... 6? 7? 8? Then I come home, work out, watch some TV to destress and then sleep. And then I do that again. And again.

We got our test results back on Tuesday. I did A so I'm happy. It's been good to take his tests (which are quite fair) and also see how he grades (also fair -- when he takes off points, he tells you why). We have another test on Monday (happy birthday Mom! Happy Bastille Day!) which is going to be calculation-heavy -- enthalpy, entropy and Gibbs Free Energy, in case you were wondering -- and then more learning. Coming up, we have two tests the week after that and then the last week of class. Whew! This has been quite a sprint!

The labs are fine. They're a bit cumbersome at times (both the procedure/performing the lab and also the lab reports) but I like that this time around, everyone seems much more organized. Which is always, always welcome.

Anyway, I should probably get back to studying/doing my labs. Thought I'd (finally) drop a line!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Day 045: The first test of Chem II and a freak out

I had my first test yesterday.

It was an extremely fair test. If you understood the material, you were pretty much set. He also offers extra points on test (as a way of getting extra credit) and I think I nailed that so I know that I at least got five points out of a hundred. Yes! Anyway, I think I did okay. We'll have to see how he grades but I feel like I prepared properly (studying, practice problems, etc) so, yeah.

Labs have been going fine. I like that this instructor has her stuff together. She preps thoroughly during pre-lab so that most of the time we get a good sense of what we're getting ourselves into. Do we know why we're doing such and such lab or how it correlates or any of that? No. But that's okay, at least we're doing it with some instruction.

In other news, I had a minor freak out the other day when we were learning about hybridization (it has to do with how electrons of different atoms bond together) because I didn't get it right away and the professor zoomed past it like he was in a sports car on the 17-mile drive. I was freaking out.

How carbon and hydrogen electrons form methane (riveting, I know)

Thank goodness for the Fantastic Four. Chris helped me figure it out and Michael (bless his heart) was trying to help me but he has a way of teaching in a demeaning tone sometimes so I was pretty frank with him when he was "teaching" me. "Michael, I know you want to help but you like to tell me everything I don't need to know about things and right now, I just really need to understand what's going on with all this orbital hybridization, ok?"

After two hours, I finally had a grasp on it. Luckily, I had Tuesday and Wednesday to solidify the material before our test yesterday and I gotta say, I finally get it. It is always, always a gratifying experience to overcome a mental block on stuff so yay hybridization!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Day 042: Getting into the new groove

Chem II is a HUGE wake-up call from Chem I.

This professor is a lot more organized, a lot more structured and all together put together. It's good and bad. Good because I'm learning a lot and in an orderly fashion. Bad because this is a lot of difficult material and it's based on things we should have learned in Chem I so as you can imagine, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. Grateful for a decent professor but overwhelmed nonetheless.

8am is freaking early...just throwing it out there. Now I know what my dear teacher-friend must feel like getting her butt up at the crack of dawn to get to school on time. I woke up at 6:15 this morning. No joke. I wasn't sure the sun was awake. haha

The lab instructor(s) seem like hard-asses. Which is lame. And apparently there are quizzes in lab? What? We didn't have that with the Bobblehead. Anyway, tomorrow we're doing Beer's Law -- something about absorbance and food dye and stuff like that.

What? No real beer? Lame.

I should probably read the lab instead of just perusing it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Day 037: The end of Chem I! (My one day off)

Today I hung out with the "post-bacc party" as Chris deems it. It was nice to relax and not worry about chemistry.

Ahh, lovely.

However, the fun is over so fast because Chem II starts bright and early tomorrow morning at 8am. Yes, A-M.

Anyway, this professor really has his stuff together. He's already put up everything I could possibly ask for on Blackboard -- syllabus, notes, practice problems, everything. Michael and I have decided he's going to be tough but it'll be a wonderful, organized, structured tough.

We are done with Shazam. I didn't like him, then I liked him and near the end I decided I don't really like him. Every day was an adventure in chemistry. Would we cover valence electrons? Would we make it through electron configurations? What exactly is happening for the final? Lots of questions that any good professor should have answers to. (He didn't.)

And of course, test and quiz days were always fun. The post-bacc party ultimately figured out how he tested. ...badly. He would mention something for literally four seconds and expect us to a) grasp the material and b) memorize it. Then he would put in on the test/quiz and make it worth an absurd amount of points. It doesn't matter that he spent 45 minutes on electron configurations. He wants you to remember nodes and degenerate orbitals and blah blah blah. Thank goodness the madness is over. And good riddance.

However, I made an A (unless he scales funny). In both Shazam's class and the Bobblehead's lab.

It's gratifying to know that all my hard work pays off (especially when presented with two really weird and not-that-great professors). It's also wonderful to go on to an MD on the right track.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Day 031: Test results, studying and the upcoming schedule

We got our tests back yesterday. The fantastic four (that's what Michael's wife calls us) did not do so good. The highest any of us got was a 90 ... this test kicked our ass. It was pretty much for stupid mistakes -- not converting units, not reading the problem all the way through, et cetera, et cetera.

The apathy's still around and I was a little affected by my grade on the test so I'm studying even more to make sure I ace these next two (big, fat) quizzes.

Today, Michael and I studied and got a better hang of electron orbitals and electron configuration.

Can you believe I actually know what this means?!

What that translates into is knowing how to read the periodic table and [warning: geeking out] let me tell you, the periodic table actually tells you a helluva lot. I won't bore you with details but it's pretty cool.


Upcoming schedule:

Monday: quiz on quantum mechanics [note: how (fake) smart do I sound? haha]

Tuesday: Whatever we learn on Monday. (I know, so stupid and random and fairly useless.)

Wednesday: Day off ... where I'll probably read the chapters we need to catch up on.

Thursday: Chem II starts!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Day 029: The third test and more clarification

The test was fine. It felt a bit difficult -- I probably left one question blank on each page the first time around and that's pretty intense for me. I got through everything and, like I said, it was fine. This apathy is still hanging around but it didn't really hinder my studying or test-taking ability. I'm just "meh" about everything.

After the test, a group of us were talking and we decided this test was tricky and annoying and was a little taxing (basically, a very Shazam-like exam) but I think we all did well enough.

Uhh, B? No, I think it's C. ...eeny, meeny, miney, mo!

Nick joked that none of us got a hundred so he's quitting our study group. (Oh, I forgot to mention that Chris made a hundred on the last exam.) Nick also got the lowest score on the last exam out of our foursome -- a 97. Ouch. I know, pretty pitiful, right? That's why he's ready to quit ;)

So since we didn't get through enough of Chapter 7, we're not getting quizzed tomorrow. We're getting quizzed Monday and our 7, 8, 9, 10 exam on Tuesday is going to be a "whatever's leftover" quiz. However, Chris and I decided that there is no way he's going to get all the way to Chapter 10 by Monday (our last official day of class) so we're probably going to finish Chapter 8. Tops.

Uhh, it'll be tons of fun when Summer Session II starts and we start on Chapter 13. FUN, I say.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Day 028: Final clarification and the end of lab!

Professor Shazam clarified things today.

Since he is sprinting to the end (a chapter a day), on the day of the final, everyone will be taking a test.

Instead of giving us a quiz everyday (as he intended), people with a 90 or below are going to take the final (Chapters 1-10). People with a 90 or above will be taking a test on chapters 7, 8, 9 and 10.

So, I don't really have a choice of taking a test come final day. It's not really a problem but I'm in this weird state.

We're rushing to the end and I'm not feeling stressed out. I think I am, but I'm not feeling it. I'm rather apathetic about things. Not in a Jessica's-being-lazy way, more like Jessica's-getting-her-stuff-
done-but-doesn't-feel-like-anything-is-processing way.


Anyway, today was the last day of lab. The bobblehead instructor decided not to give us tomorrow's lab so we're done. We have labs to turn in on Thursday but there are no more new labs. Huzzah! The bobblehead is out of my life! All I have to do is finish these labs and then life will be good.

Oh yeah, and the test tomorrow (did I forget to mention that?) and then the quiz on Thursday and then the other test on Tuesday and then I'm done.

And then Summer Session II starts next Thursday.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Day 026: Sprinting to the end

Shazam finally realized that we only have six days of class left and with more than half of the alloted subjects/chapters to cover ... well ... "we're sprinting to the end."

What does that mean for the class?

A lot of reading. Little to no examples to do in class (to help ingratiate (probably not the correct use of the word but the same concept) the material). Lots and lots of note-taking. Probably not a good grasp of whatever's left to learn.

The group and I are now in mild cahoots with Shazam so it'll be a bit of a bummer when we have a new professor for Chem II and we'll have to figure out what kind of lecturer he is, what kind of tests he gives, et cetera, et cetera.

Oh, and if you have a 90 or above in the class, we don't have to take the final. The group and I are trying to figure out what we want to do -- to take or not to take, that is the question?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Day 022: Second test results and titrations

My lecture professor was on his game yesterday. He graded all of the tests and handed them back today.

I got the multiple choice wrong, as I expected, but I got everything else right so another A. That was really gratifying because I studied a lot with my friends and just like test numero uno, I felt over-studied. Which really just means come test day, I was ready to just take the darn thing.

We've been doing more real labs which is pretty sweet. Lots o' science happening.

In regards to today's lab, I think if someone told me that titration was going to be such a hassle, well, I would have told them to suck it up. But it really is a huge hassle. Chris and I did about four titration test runs before we said "screw it" and went ahead and did what needed to be done.

Chris was all ready to make a joke about the stopcock.

Honestly, who the hell would have thought that one freaking drop would make a difference between faint pink (which is the desired result) and bright-look-at-me pink (which means you've gone past the endpoint and just about driven off the bridge). I mean really.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Day 021: The second test and then some

This test was quite a doozy. It was a lot of information to deal with and regurgitate and all that good fun but it went fine. I made an annoying multiple choice error and those are pretty much you know it or you don't. And it was a toss-up between B or C and of course I picked the wrong one. Bah! Overall, I think I got the rest of them so we'll wait and see.

I had a meltdown in lab today because my California lab partner (let's call him Chris) and I screwed up. We fixed it, eventually, but I was having a serious panic attack because there's a difference between slight error and huge f-up, you know? Luckily things worked out in the end.

This is the perfect segue into how much the Enforcer sucks.

Hmm, I wonder how many significant figures are in the word "soup"?

She's a despot about stupid pointless crap (like maintaining significant figures) and so I did fine on the first lab and so-so on the second. Since labs are all I have ... well, now I need to talk to that bobbing idiot to make sure I have my reports together. So, in case I haven't actually stated it, she sucks. And I do not like her. However, one must triumph and prevail and whatever crap people say when life throws you really annoying curve balls.

I made another post-bacc friend, Michael. He's also from North Carolina, married with kids, and he's going to be a dentist. He's great because we're kind of on the same scientific memorization (or whatever you want to call it) level so it's good to work with him because we keep each other in check. All in all, I'm feeling good about my post-bacc friendships and new study circle :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Other 001: Doctors Without Borders and Brave New World

I realized something yesterday. None of the people I've spoken with about Doctors Without Borders actually knows what it is.

To preface, right now at this very second, I really want to work with Doctors Without Borders. I think there are too many doctors in the United States and I read somewhere that if a third of them took their work abroad, the world's health (and care) would be a lot better off.

So, when the inevitable question comes (why do you want to be a doctor? Or "why did you decide to switch?" or something along those lines), I usually tell them that Doctors Without Borders is my ultimate goal. And it's so interesting that no one down here in North Carolina seems to have heard of the organization.

I wonder what it means.

Sans segue, I'm currently reading Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. While reading it last night, they were mentioning a lot of chemicals and I found myself trying to figure out the molecular formulas for them. Immediately after that, there was a molecular formula and I, again, found myself trying to decipher which compound it was.

Is that not crazy? Science/chemistry is pervading the "fun" parts (reading, e.g.) of my life and you know what? I kind of like it.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Day 016: Stoichiometry, the first test results and then some

Stoichiometry is "the process of relating quantities of reactants and products to one anotehr in a chemical reaction." In English? Lots of chemical equations, how to balance them and basically a lot of information in a few not-so-random numbers and symbols.

What it all means

The point of telling you what the heck it is, and why you should pretend to care, is that this is a big freaking chapter. There is a lot to learn, a lot of conversions to grasp, more things to memorize (solubility rules -- joy :/) and just a lot of chemistry.

However, It feels like we're really starting to do chemistry. In lecture, we're learning how things fit and why things have to balance (The Law of Conservation of Mass) and how everything combines to, well, work. In lab, we made some aspirin! It's amazing what some chemicals, hot and cold water, and a good mixing technique can create. I'm extremely excited to keep learning because I feel like it's starting to make sense in the broader scheme of things. ...well, it does when I blog about it, not so much during lecture and lab, but whatever. I'm learning.

Getting my first test back (with an A, phew!) was comforting in the sense that I'm on the right path. I'm studying hard. I'm studying properly. I'm grasping the material. I'm applying the material. I just need to keep this up and we'll see how things go.

On a personal note, the North Carolina post-bacc guy that I met (let's call him Nick) is turning out to be a fascinating person as well as a wonderful study partner! We're both suffering through this post-bacc thing together so we support, push and help each other on all scientific frontiers.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Day 014: Infrared Spectroscopy

Today was an awfully long day.

We did a "dry" (read: no chemicals) lab today and it was the longest lab ever. It was annoying and slow and, in typical "Enforcer" fashion, had nothing to do with what we've been learning.

If I could convey the sheer and utter absurdity of figuring out stuff you've never actually read about ... it's pretty freaking bad. That and figuring out Lewis structures for isomers (I don't even know what that means) you've never heard of and couldn't even pretend to draw ... well, again, completely useless.

The Lewis structure for ethanol

I wish we could do things in order so they coalesced instead of divided.

Dear Summer Session Professors,

Please communicate with each other so that know what the hell we're doing and we can actually, gosh, learn. I know. It's a completely crazy idea. Who would have thunk right?



Monday, June 2, 2008

Day 013: The first test....dun duh duuuunnn

Things that are true:
  • The stable ion of potassium has a charge of +1.

  • Come Monday, I was beyond ready for this test. I wanted to take it when I woke up at 9:45am...that's how much I studied.

  • "In the periodic table, the elements are arranged in b) order of increasing atomic number."

  • I made some stupid mistakes on my test (250000001 has 9 significant figures and is NOT ambiguous, as I thought).

  • One mole of water weighs b) 18 g

  • I kicked that test's ass!

This was a good first test. It gives me an idea of what kind of tests he creates and what to look out for. Some questions had questionable wording and I'm actually rather annoyed that I got some questions wrong due to unclear wording, but hey, it's all in the learning curve.

In other news, I met another postbacc guy. He's from North Carolina and was non-science like me so has to take ALL the sciences...we'll be seeing a lot of each other. I talked to another Asian kid! He has a southern/North Carolina accent and everything! ...definitely a little weird.

Other than that, it's a new week. More lectures and more labs. There will probably be some "not-pop" quizzes and two lab report collections so...yeah.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Day 011: Studying for the first test

Sorry for not updating (somewhat) regularly. Classes have "officially" begun. We do a real lab every day. Then I have class. Suddenly, the week's over and I work over the weekend. Next thing you know, Monday is right around the corner and my first test awaits! And then the whole process starts over again. With a test every Monday until Summer Session 1 ends. Joy.

Calm down Dad, I am studying. Hard. Practice problems. Reviewing my notes. Rereading chapters. I got it, don't worry. And with no friends, studying, working out and updating this blog are the best way to pass the time.

Anyway, everything seems okay. Right now, I'm at the point of review...and memorization. Polyatomic ions (nitrate = NO3- , nitrite = NO2- , etc), Dalton's Atomic Model (and what was wrong with his model), blah blah blah. Specifics are boring.

Just know th
at this is more along the lines of a re-acclimation process. I'm re-familiarizing myself with chemical concepts, the periodic table, etc etc. Hopefully this first test (cross your fingers!) will start me in the right direction (towards kicking science's ass).

Take that science!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Day 010: Professor and "Enforcer" thoughts

I don't like either of my instructors very much.

The shouting Middle Eastern man continues to shout and be rude and rather douche-y. The bobbing lab "enforcer" is really not kidding when she tells us "I am not supposed to teach you. I am to enforce what you've learned."

Why you ask?

Well, when she was teaching us valence electrons, electron bonds, Lewis structures and the like, she taught us the wrong thing! Can you believe that?!

The yellow circles are the valence electrons

She had to come to each of our lab sections to direct us to a page in the book that told us the correct information because she "misspoke" during pre-lab. What. The. Hell.

Although if I had to pick, I maybe like her a sliver better than the yelling man. Truthfully, I'm just thankful for a lab partner I can joke around with, some class eye candy and chemistry book that actually makes sense and doesn't shout at me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Day 003: My first real lab

NOTE: I won't update every day, I feel like that might be too boring. Is it? I may just, it'll provide me with something to do. Let's see how it goes.

Today was our first real lab. It was really odd because the instructor didn't go over any of the procedure stating "I feel like it really dumbs down the student and the process." Um, ok. Well, it doesn't help us when the procedure isn't written clearly (say in numerical steps) and then you proceed to get terse with my lab partner because he didn't follow the instructions you didn't give.

I can just tell she's going to be a handful. A whole bobbing handful.

Overall, the lab was fine. Density, water displacement, unknown matter, you know, typical chemistry stuff.

Class was fine. The professor STILL SHOUTS.

I'm sitting ten feet away from you. Not ten million.

He's actually a little mean. He enjoys asking students questions, such as "when you lose an electron, the atom becomes an anion right?" And then when they nod in response, he smiles/laughs because he tricked you. (The answer's actually a cation.) He likes to trick students to see if they're paying attention or just nodding to get rid of him. Mm, I don't find it that amusing. It's kind of a waste of time to be honest.