Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day 574: The healing power of grades

Ha! Except not.

I happened to check my grades today and they came out and I did fine. Luckily. I won't lie. I wasn't super-fantastic at the final but I appear to have done well enough to keep my GPA up...ish. All in all, I'm glad I'm just about done with my requirements. I'm taking an online statistics course next quarter as well as this random Biochemistry course through UC Extension. It's expensive as heck but I think it'll be good to get my "smart"-juices going again.

I am back at my internship today...we're not doing much, unfortunately. A post-doc wanted me to help him with Western blots so that's really the main reason I came back. I would much rather be hanging with my best friend who's back from law school but I thought it was important to put in some (chubby) face-time. Especially since I was out for a week.

Anyhoo, that's all the news for now.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day 569: Sad chubby puppy

This is the title of the picture-text I sent my sister yesterday.

That is because I looked like this...

Sad and pale and a little swollen. I was quite disappointed my face didn't swell to the point of a goiter, but a friend pointed out that that just signifies what a good oral surgeon I had. So, I guess there's that. Or, my face is already so round there's no where for it swell to. One of those.

Anyway, I had my final on Tuesday. It went okay. We'll see. Then my surgery yesterday...which was prefaced by a rejection email from Tulane University, which said...
Dear Applicant:

We regret to inform you that your application will receive no further consideration for the class to enter the Tulane University School of Medicine in 2010. As you know the class is limited to 177 students, and the available places do not go very far in accommodating the large number of highly qualified applicants who have applied to the Tulane University School of Medicine. We hope that you receive an acceptance to a medical school of your choice and that both success and happiness will be yours as you continue your training.

Senior Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs
I must say. I was not a fan of this rejection letter. Others have been somewhat nicer. This one is just poorly worded. I wasn't even sure I was rejected after the first read-through (granted it was at 6:50AM, the morning of my surgery). Anyway, at this point, I am resigning myself to the fact that I will not be getting in this cycle. This is because I have not been invited to an interview where, numbers-wise, I fit in perfectly with these schools.

No worries, no despondent Jess here. Just a statement of facts. When you've got a grandmother who enters other people's cars and a father who helps ice your face and get your meds and a mother who drives back two hours to see you recover from wisdom teeth removal and friends who care enough to stop by to check up on you...what's a rejection or five? There are certainly enough good moments to cover the bad.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day 566: It's the small things in life

I would like to tell you all a story.

My grandmother (super freaking adorable) collects our family's water bottles in order to return them for change. It's a thing of hers. My mother, grandmother and I went to the bottle exchange/return center yesterday. My grandmother did her thing -- waited in line, exchanged bottles for cash, etc. My mother and I waited in the car. As she finished up her business, a white car pulled up to the return station.

As the car pulled up, my grandmother started walking toward it. I turned to my mother who was in our silver car with me and I said, "Mom, I think Grandma's going to get into the car." My mother could see the same thing and she started to roll down her window, but it was too late. My grandmother opened the white car's door and realized her mistake. She laughed and apologized to the elderly gentleman as my mother was yelling out her window, "Mom! We're over here! Mom!"

My grandmother begins walking towards our car and I can't even begin to tell you how hard I was laughing. I saw the whole thing happen and it was one of those situations that's too perfect and too surreal for words. For a second, I thought we were in a movie.

The moral of this story is to tell you that it is the absurdly small moments that help me realize that getting rejected from four schools (with presumably no good news on the way) is fine. I've got time on my hands. I'll apply next year -- a year older, a year wiser, and with prettier teeth. Everything happens and at this point, I'm just learning to relish in the good moments that arise every day. It's much easier said than done but honestly. Just thinking about what happened yesterday still makes me laugh.

And as my dad likes to say, "laughter is the best medicine."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day 564: The master of my fate

I feel like I've been very downtrodden lately, and I'm sorry to say this post may be in that vein as well. I just want you all to know that when I write it all out, it helps me actualize and solidify my feelings so I can move past them. So don't think I'm permanently depressed.

2009 has not been very good to me. A lot of it was of my own making. Taking my MCAT too early and bombing it. Taking a month off to gallavant across the country and whatnot. ...which caused me to take an MCAT prep course in late summer ...which caused me to take my MCAT at the end of the testing cycle ...which caused me to apply late which is where I am now. ...Rejected from four schools (I got the Georgetown e-mail yesterday).

It also sucks when things are so out of my control that there's nothing I can do but accept it (e.g., Davis technical glitch). A friend of mine put it so aptly, "it must be really discouraging." Which it is. I know I shouldn't take it personally. A lot of it just came down to timing. I'm just frustrated with how much time and effort I put into it only to be rejected and discounted because I was three months late.

Also, I may be preemptively depressed because I have 14 schools to hear back from. Fourteen. I know. It's a big number. However, three of my rejections came from schools that I had a decent chance at getting an interview for and they all shot me down. This does not bode well for the schools that were definitely beyond my reach. It also doesn't bode well for the schools that I also have a good chance at. So fourteen sounds like a lot. In reality, it isn't much of anything but more rejections.

Lastly, I should be hearing back from most schools by the end of the year. Most schools let an applicant know within six weeks of his/her application's completion if the school will offer that applicant an interview. Most of mine were completed late October/early November. They will all be informing me how qualified I am, but they will not have the opportunity to offer me an interview. They are incredibly sorry they couldn't select me because there was an incredibly large pool of qualified applicants this cycle. This in no way signifies I am incapable of attending medical school. They are incredibly sorry (again) and wish me the best of luck. Blah blah blah.

I should just write my own letters and send them to myself.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 561: Fail better

Dear Samuel Beckett,

I only recently came across your saying, "fail better," when I read an article Reader's Digest did with the actor Jon Hamm. I read it and it seemed kitschy enough. However, as my life progresses, I'm finding how pertinent your saying is to my current situation.
Ever tried. Ever failed.
No matter.
Try Again. Fail again.
Fail better.
Yesterday, I realized I should probably update schools with my new activities and classes (my mentorship, a Biochem class I'm thinking about taking). As I looked at my list of schools, I decided to focus on updating schools I really want to go to and then work from there. I checked out my Davis application to discover that it still wasn't complete (a month later!). Rather than freak out, I called the Admissions office and the woman informed me that the Davis server was down for a bit and it was "difficult to find those individual letters" but she inputted them and now my application is complete. Yay...sort of. Allow me a moment to express how annoying all of this is...

Applying to med schools is long, lugubrious and year-long. The hype I felt at the beginning of all of this has converted itself into a form of mental-hypochondria (I am now waiting for a small envelope of rejection from each school). Add in the element of "rolling admissions" and you have a stress-bomb on your hands. When I have done everything I can to turn things in on time (if not early) and whatnot, I expect the institution I'm applying to to, pardon my French, have their shit together. Granted, I should have kept a closer eye, but the damn application itself says something along the lines of "we manually input your letters of recommendation. Please don't be surprised if this takes some time." Blah blah blah. I submitted my complete application in late October. It is December 2nd. If I don't get an interview because you screwed up...well, in what universe is that fair?

I know, I know. Life isn't fair. And things happen. Ergo, my new motto for life is to fail better. Because failure is never what defines us. Rather, how we act in the face of failure (and adversity and failure's other cousins) is what counts. So this is what I'm doing. I'm getting my act together. I'm going to stop being such a Debbie-Downer and try being a Jubilant-Jessy.

And here is where it starts. With the holiday season underway, I thought it was important for me to step back and be thankful for my whole life. I have a family that loves and supports me. I have friends who bolster and inspire me. I have a roof over my head, filled with central heating. I have a closet full of clothes (which I probably only need half of). And I get to try and achieve more than I think I'm capable of (at the moment. There are still gobs of doubts due to the constant influx of rejections). All in all, life isn't bad. It would take a lot more to be even remotely bad.

On that note, thank you Mr. Beckett. Thank you for helping me say-aloud that it isn't the trying again that's daunting, it's the failing again that is. And if I'm going to fail, you're right Mr. Beckett, I might as well fail better. Heck, not better, but with a bang.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 559: Happy belated turkey day!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. I certainly ate my weight's worth so I'm feeling good :)

As I promised my father, I am going to try and blog more (somewhere along the lines of every day) while my father is away. It may not be interesting, but I'm going to try and make it so.

For example, tomorrow, my Phyla Diversity Collection is due. My group and I have collected different specimens to represent different phylum. For example, we have a human tooth to represent Phylum Chordata and I have a centipede to represent Phylum Annelida. Stimulating, I know. It's been pretty amusing asking people for bugs and fungus and any else of the sort.

My class is over next week! Holy cow! My how time flies.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 552: Reflections and connections

Some things don't change, like my love of rhyming. And cliches. And ridiculous analogies. And good friends who support me in my time of emotional distress. (Goodness. Could I sound any more melodramatic? It's just a rejection (or two), not the end of the world.)

Anyway, I won't lie and say I'm all better but I am trying to refocus my energy. I'm not sure what I'm refocusing it on but at this point, I have a very fatalistic and defeatist attitude towards medical school. Whatever happens happens...that may be the best way to minimize any further stinging from future rejections. I'm just completely blah about med school at this point. Whatever.

So, a family friend emailed a dean at a medical school I applied to. It was a very kind gesture but I don't know how much it will help. All he did was drop my name -- no AMCAS/identification number or anything of the sort. And of course the dean replied in the same empty manner -- "I'll be sure her application gets a good look." ...right. If you were serious, you'd ask for more information. A key identifying feature. Something.

I reiterate, I am so over this whole process. I just want to hibernate for the next five years.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 550: Simulations, rejections and fatalism

So my suture tutorial on Thursday was pretty fun. We learned how to tie knots like surgeons--you never let go of the string. The surgery residents were extremely friendly and nice. It was refreshing to meet them. We also got to use some killer simulators and I got to take out a gall bladder. Overall, the suture tutorial showed me three things.

One, I still want to be a doctor. There's a lot of cool, fun stuff you can do and the possibility of constant learning ensures constant engagement. Who could ask for more?

Two, surgeons have crazy spatial abilities! It took me a minute to acclimate myself to the simulators. I also had to use tools to move objects but I couldn't actually see the objects I was moving so I was staring at a screen and I won't lie, it was mildly difficult.

Three, my internship actually lets me do a lot. A) All the Chinese post-docs are a ton of fun. B) They let me perform surgeries (e.g. when I removed that rat's spleen) and what was so crazy was that the simulation I performed Thursday night was just like the one I actually performed a few months back on that rat. They electrocauterize out the organs and there's a lot of stapling and tying of arteries to prevent bleeding out.

In other news, I received another rejection yesterday. This one was from UCSF and that one was to be expected. I'm too lazy to type up the letter they sent me but it was more "we're sorry blah blah blah...this doesn't mean you're not qualified to be a physician blah blah blah...we hope you get in somewhere this year."

And now that my batting average is 0/3, I'm feeling incredibly resigned. I have decided to fill out the supplemental applications to a few schools that I wasn't so hot on. If nothing works out this cycle, I am looking ahead to the next application cycle and I plan on doing everything right. I am a complete believer in things happening (not necessarily for a reason) so this is how things are happening for me. I really am just so tired of selling myself and telling people why they should accept me and this and that. I'm sick of trying to find something original to say. I'm not feeling very original or intelligent or wanted at the moment. I'm not feeling much of anything to be honest. I think that's even sadder. There are no emotions, just a numbness that prevents me from actually caring anymore.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 548: Rejection #2

Dear Ms. Jessica,

Your application to the 2010 entering class has now been carefully reviewed by the Admissions Committee. It is with regret that I must inform you that we are unable to take any further action on your application.

Because of the exceptionally competitive applicant pool this year, the selection process has been unusually difficult and the Committee has had to choose only a few students from a large number of academically qualified applicants.

We greatly appreciate your interest in seeking admission to the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Sr. Associate Dean for Student Affairs
Chairman, Admissions Committee


I believe this is why I don't believe in first choices. Everything I've done has been for UCLA...which just sounds absolutely insane. And childish. I didn't have a first choice for undergrad and I only sort of had one for med school. I believe this is the universe telling me to not have too many hopes.

To be honest, I'm fine. You can't change how things happen so why bother with the "why?" At this point, I'm going to need to start hedging my bets. I don't know how. But I suppose I'll start by filling out the secondaries to schools I put on the back burner.

C'est la vie.

P.S. I just realized something. I think I know someone that knows this senior associate dean. This someone was going to write me a recommendation. Ha! Well. That won't be necessary. The world is so small and so funny sometimes. (And slightly ironic and cruel.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 547: Tests galore!

I haven't wanted to worry you all but I had a few exams in the past six days. I had a lab practical on Thursday (right after the primary care post). That could have gone better. It was tough and random and it's over so that's all that counts.

I had my second exam (of three total) yesterday. That went better than the first but we'll see how much better. I don't wish to speculate but I will say I felt a little bit better about this one.

Aside from that, I've got a suture tutorial tomorrow. I can't wait!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 541: The case for primary care

I'm not even remotely accepted to med school and yet, the idea of specializing is already beginning to ebb at my periphery. A friend of mine just got into med school and he was already concerned with what specialty he was going to go into. I said, "J! You just got in. Maybe you could just revel in that wonderful fact and worry about that stuff when it comes." And then he prattled on about "there's room at the top, just nowhere to sit." (Translation: working hard doesn't let you sit down. You've got to keep going-going-going.)

And with his acceptance, came my growing fear that I wouldn't get in. Whatsmore, there's the fear that I do get in and I'm not good enough. Or, even worse, what if I get in and I rock? Will I look like a lame duck for going into primary care instead of one of the more "prestigious" medical specialties (radiology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, anesthesiology or dermatology)?

That's something I've grappled with ever since I put this crazy idea into effect. I wholeheartedly believe in my abilities and I know I could play with the big-boys. I could specialize and I could kick major butt. But, with the obvious issues we're having with our health care system, primary care is something that's on the forefront of something. Is that something change? If so, is it good-change of bad-change?

Pauline Chen's most recent article for the New York Times made a case for primary care. She brought up a lot of the issues that face primary care physicians, from what primary care physicians symbolize to the money they make. Of course, I'm way too early in the game to even consider any of this, but it is something I think about. Do I have more pride and ego than I thought? Do I actually care what other people think of me? If I do, can I overlook it all and go into what I deem to be the best medium for me to help people?

The message is clear...it's just getting lost in translation.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 540: The waiting game

After getting all down-and-out about my 7500 character word vomit (that was the secondary mentioned in the previous post), I did what I always do. I got over it and re-wrote it and sent that puppy in on Monday.

Now, I wait.

The only word I've received from med schools was that lovely rejection from Boston University.

More waiting.

Please, please, please let me hear some good news from a med school before 2010.

And the waiting continues.

My greatest fear is this will turn out like Waiting for Godot.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day 533: A terrible writer

You know what I've realized? I am a terrible writer. First of all, the idea of having someone read something I've written makes me mildly nauseous. It's quite a sad thing to admit (aloud) I actually suck at something. Whatsmore, it's at something that is so freaking important right now. I'm getting way too caught up with wow-ing people and saying what I think they want to hear. I can't seem to get unfazed by everything and just write. I'm in a deep loathing phase of my life right now.

After a few friends helped me with my recent secondary application, I am convinced of two things. One, I am about as articulate as a newborn. Two, I lack any good reasoning for wanting to become a doctor.

So you all know, I am not depressed by my rejection letter. If anything, I'm glad they told me they didn't want me so I could know and not keep wondering.

All in all, I am screwed beyond belief and I'll need about eight screwdrivers to get me out of it. FUDGE.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 527: Rejected!

Dear Ms. Jessica,

The Committee on Admissions of Boston University School of Medicine has completed its review of your application. It is with great regret that I inform you that we will be unable to offer an interview this year. This is a disappointment, as much for those who are responsible for the decision as it may be for you, the candidate who is turned away.

Most of the candidates we are considering this year are qualified to attend medical school and are likely to make important contributions to our profession and to society. Sadly, with more than 100 applicants for every seat in the class, we are forced to deny many exceptional people.

We acknowledge and respect your accomplishments and recognize that our inability to offer you an opportunity to complete the admissions process is a loss for Boston University. Please accept our best wishes for all your future endeavors.

Boston University School of Medicine

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 525: A little honesty

Okay. So. I got my exam results today. They weren't great. They weren't bad, but they definitely weren't great.

I think I need to be honest and say that I haven't given a hundred percent to this class. It all boils down to lack of interest, lack of other meaningful coursework to get me in the proper study mode and med school applications. I'm so focused on answering secondary/supplemental applications genuinely and swiftly that I don't spend nearly enough time learning about gene flow or natural selection or Darwin.

It is completely my own fault. I need to get my study back on.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 524: Humble before the human body

My dad loves to tell me to be humble in my pursuit of medicine. More often than not, I tend to say "okay" half-heartedly and move on with my life. However, my dad's words never rang more true than this past Saturday.

Saturday was my Stanford School of Medicine mentorship lunch. The gist of the get-together was to get a better idea of the program and to meet our med student mentors. The whole experience was refreshing on a number of levels. I was amazed to discover how normal and, dare I say, cool these med students were. They were all incredibly diverse and interesting and sociable. My mentor and I are going to get along fine. I don't foresee us becoming best friends or even genuine friends for that matter, but I do think he's got a lot to impart.

The coolest, most wicked thing about Saturday (and my mentor) was when he took me (and a few others) to the Gross Anatomy lab. The whole experience was surreal and amazing and I am now dubbing it surrealazing. As he was unzipping the bag to his cadaver, I wasn't sure what to expect. I tried to pray as fast as I could to the universe and to this woman for giving her body up to science. I was just trying to be thankful and humble and understanding and open and a whole lot of emotions I couldn't even acknowledge, much less name.

The body, all in all, looked a lot like meat. As flippant as that sounds, it's honestly the best description I have. The body didn't even look like anything I recognized. And that helped me view it more scientifically. I saw nerves and lungs and a heart, oh my! It was just sincerely surrealazing.

The whole experience invigorated me towards the application process. Having completed around 13 secondaries (I've actually lost count and am guessing it's around thirteen), I am feeling a little done. Flip me over. I'm sick of selling myself in a new and original way to each school. I can recycle a little but not enough that I don't put actual effort into each one. Meeting the med students and seeing the cadavers and just being on the School of Medicine campus really showed me that this is what I want. It's nice to know that my passion for this isn't going to die down any time soon and it's not something I did because I could.

I really, really want this.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day 521: Recent happenings

For lack of a better title, this is me updating you all on the past week's events.

Let's see, on Sunday (10/18), I received word that I was accepted into a Stanford School of Medicine mentorship program. The gist of it involves community service, application workshops, a med student mentor and possible shadowing of physicians and suture tutorial. There is a mandatory lunch tomorrow that I'll be attending and hopefully I'll have more to report later.

I had my first exam yesterday. It was multiple choice and all about evolution (micro and macro) and cladistics and the like. It went okay. We'll see though, won't we?

Aside from that, I'm taking today off. I didn't make the volunteer cut for Habitat for Humanity this week (there's usually a waitlist you have to try and get off of) but I spoke with the site director and I'm going to be an actual regular volunteer. So since that'll be starting soon, I wanted to take today to just relax and get some stuff done. I have a University of Miami secondary to complete and classwork and errands and such to do so I figure I'll be kept busy.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day 515: Focus...focus...

Lately, as the cartoon states, I have been having a lot of trouble focusing lately. I'm not sure why. And, granted, all those things in the cartoon are viable reasons but still. In the past, I have been somewhat good about getting my school-act together. For whatever reason, I can't seem to get it together. Today's been going all right so far. Let's hope I can keep it up.

In other news, I volunteered yesterday! Finally!

It was pretty sweet. I worked on a foreclosed house yesterday. Rather than build a home from scratch, this site is focused on rebuilding and fixing up a foreclosed house. I helped scrape a whole bunch of crap off a soon-to-be re-stucco'd garage wall. It's amazing how time flies when you're doing physical labor :P

Anyway, I spoke to the site manager and I hope to be back there on a weekly basis.

P.S. My wrist hurts like no other! Hammering away really kills ya...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 512: A little background on secondary applications

I wanted to provide some more information about how secondary (also called supplemental) applications work.

Secondary applications tend to cost more than the primary/AMCAS application. (Yes, I have to pay application fees twice.) They are typically comprised of a reiteration of school information (found in your AMCAS application) and short answer essays, usually pertaining to the school. They often ask about how you will contribute to the diversity of the incoming class, or how X-school will help you reach your future goals, et cetera.

Most private medical schools (including the ones in Day 501) send secondary applications to all applicants.

Most public/in-state medical schools send secondary applications to screened applicants. "Screened" means they've seen your GPA, MCAT score, personal statement and all the other basic information provided in your primary/AMCAS application and they like what they see. This is definitely a good sign. You've jumped through the first hoop and you only have a few more to go

Just so you know, I've filled out all the private school secondaries I'm going to fill out. There are some I have received but have decided not to complete. This may change in the upcoming months depending on how my other secondaries fare.

Day 512: Getting caught in all the wrong tides

I find it absurdly easy to get caught up in all the wrong things sometimes. From the wrong emotions, to the wrong people, to the wrong ideas, to a lot of wrongness.

Last night, I made the inevitable, recurring mistake of telling my father more information than he was capable of handling. I always, always give my father the benefit of the doubt, assuming he can handle what I'm about to tell him and I am always, always proven wrong. I do it to myself really. We were discussing my undergrad GPA and I assumed that since I was two years removed from undergrad, and there was absolutely nothing anyone could do about it, I told my dad my GPA. I should have lied and said my GPA was better than it was. I know, I know, lies make you fat but if it keeps my dad floating in his surreal cloud of unrealistic optimism, then why not, right? Well, I didn't learn my lesson (I think I'm going to keep getting an F in this Father-Daughter-What-to-Say-and-What-Not-to-Say class). Anyway, the moral of the story is, I really need to learn to keep my damn mouth shut.

My mother and I are discussing things this morning and I am motherf-ing pissed. And I mean pissed. Mainly about what occurred last night egged on my a few key interactions this morning. Whatever. Luckily, I have good friends who let me prattle on about my pissed-off-ness and I feel slightly better. I really hate wasting energy being angry. Moreover, I really hate being angry about nothing/things I can't change. It wastes my time and my energy and now I'm all out of whack that I can't focus properly on my secondaries or anything of equal importance.

I then proceeded over to PostSecret and realized that life is so much bigger than being angry and caught up in all the wrong emotions. Which isn't to say I wasn't angry ten minutes ago or I won't be angry again. It's just, right now, this very second, I don't need it. I have to focus my energy on something more positive. Or else I'll get sucked into the horrible abyss of what-ifs and second-guesses and the vortex that is the debilitating negativity possibilities of the unknown.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 507: Descending from the MCAT high

First, thanks to the people who called and/or commented and/or instant messaged me. You are the best thing to have happened to me. The support has been completely unexpected and wonderful and it just reminds me how lucky I am to have you in my life. (You know who you are.)

Moving on, it has been uncomfortable to come down from my elation and back to reality. And what is that reality? I'm not as "qualified" as I had hoped I would be for medical schools.

Here is the issue...

Everything I'm doing is to get into my top-choice school (which I'm choosing not to mention for jinxing purposes. Hint: It's a California state school). I would assume that everything I'm doing for this school would suffice for schools of lesser caliber. That would be a false assumption. A few schools have these extra little requirements which are putting a big fat damper on my "I'm going to get in somewhere!" feeling.

Luckily, I have wonderful family and friends who helped me figure out what to do. And what's that? I'm going to deal with that mountain when it comes.

If pain-in-my-butt schools are the only schools I can get into, then I will do everything within my power to make it work. Because, as we all know, everything happens. The best we can do is go with it and do our best.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Day 505: Dear Universe, I love you.

I think if ever a perfect day existed, it was yesterday. I'm going to walk you through the day.

I wake up. I slept decently enough. I knew my MCAT scores were coming in today. I checked the AAMC (Asociation of American Medical Colleges) website yesterday (Monday). It said to expect MCAT scores to be reported after 5pm EST. I checked them that morning as a just in case (I would be checking any and every second possible until they came in). Well! Lo and behold! They were in.

...and they were not bad at all. I ran to my parents room, calling their names and I interrupted their tooth-brushing and face-washing to tell them the news. You could see us all sigh a gigantic sigh of relief. Everything they had invested in me, and everything I had worked for, finally came to fruition. I don't know what I believe in, but I couldn't help but thank my lucky stars and the universe and other ethereal bodies.

I go to class. Still on an MCAT-high (double entendre intended). In between class and my lab, I work on secondaries upon secondaries. For lab that day, we go on a field trip! Lots o' hiking. Some nice fresh air.

I meet up with a friend at the gym. Good 5K run. We go shopping. The shirt I wanted to buy (whether I got a good score or not; good score = congratulatory-I-deserve-this reasoning, bad score = I'm-sad-I-deserve-this reasoning) went on sale that day. Whee! (We all know how I love a good sale.) We go to Cheesecake Factory. Where we eat (hummus, a burger, pumpkin pecan cheesecake and alcohol!) and I am happy.

Like I said, if there was ever a perfect day. I think it would have gone like that.

Thanks to all of you who sent good vibes, crossed your fingers and were generally so absurdly supportive. I couldn't have done it without you. Honest to blog.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day 501: Secondaries galore!

This is a little image I made of the secondaries I have yet to submit. To keep you all in the loop, my test scores come in Tuesday (give or take a day). If they're decent enough, I'll be sending in the secondaries I've currently completed. I have three left to do and I hope to finish them all before my scores come out.

My nerves have been getting to me lately. I know there is nothing I can do about my test scores. They were decided when I chose to have my MCAT scored. Nevertheless, as the date looms, I can't help but become a big fat worry wart.

So, when my scores get in, if they're okay, I'll send my secondaries out. If schools like my primary application and they like what I had to say in my secondary application, then they will offer me an interview. When (yes, when) I rock my interview, they will then inform me (anywhere from two to six weeks) if they will accept me or reject me. Let's hope for the former, shall we?

And the waiting game continues...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day 499: The first of many big days

Hello all,

I am blogging, however briefly, between my class and lab to update you on a few big things.
  • First, I love bullet points :p

  • Second, in honor of all the post-doctorate students and/or visiting scholars at my Stanford internship, today is National Day of the People's Republic of China. It's the 60th year of celebration so ... celebrate! (On a more personal note, 10/01 doesn't mean much for me since I am American and all. I do appreciate their excitement though :) )

  • Third, my AMCAS application (aka my med school application) has been processed. (!!! This is the big news !!!) It took them two weeks (rather than the possible 4-6). If only they'd taken another week because then my new MCAT scores would be in.

  • Fourth, first quiz in lab in 15 minutes. I'm heading over there now to be all prepared and in my seat and whatnot.
And I'm off!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 498: A little more juice

Let's get a little in-depth with my activities, shall we?

  • Neurosurgery Internship: It's much better to be the sole intern. I get to do a bunch of cool things I wouldn't have been able to do before (surgeries, more decapitations, more brain removals, etc). It's unfortunate that, lately, the days I've been coming haven't been filled with a lot for me to do. I can't watch surgeries all day because, honestly, that's a bit boring. So, I tend to play translator for most of the Chinese visiting scholars. It's a good resume builder, but sadly, that seems to be all that it is right now.

    Also, having the opportunity to perform surgeries has helped me see the bigger picture. I have enough trouble moving muscles aside to find a rat's carotid artery. I can only imagine how ridiculously complicated it is to perform surgery on actual human beings.

  • Biology Class & Lab: The second week is almost done. I have class and lab again tomorrow and right now, it's all looking pretty kosher. We have a lab quiz tomorrow on Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (which is related to population genetics). Hopefully it won't be too bad, I should go over my notes and worked-out problems today.

    In regards to the caliber of students at the local community college, it feels like any institution. You've got the pig-headed ones and the ones-that-just-don't-seem-to-get-it. I find it easy to judge and assume a lot about these kids but most of them have big goals/ideas/places-to- transfer so I'm working on keeping an open mind. It's really hard when the kid I sit next to is a little awkward and at first it was cute but now it borders on annoying.

    The most annoying thing about all the kids at said-community-college is that they all think they're better than community college. They make a big deal about asking questions and proving their knowledge -- which upsets me on all levels. I really abhor the people who feel like they constantly have to prove themselves. You're not impressing anybody with your lame question, dumbo.

  • Personal: I thought you should all know my eye is bruised. I'm not sure how it happened. But it hurts when I actively blink. Can you tell which eye is broken?

    I only look cross-eyed because I was
    looking into my camera phone lens.

  • Social life: Per a friend's request, I'm going to try and put a little more personal stuff in here.

    Let's see, a good friend of mine's musical begins its two week run this weekend. I'll be catching her show on Sunday.

    My one friend (let's call him J.) is pestering me to hang out with him. I don't want to because he's going to profess his love for me for the umpteenth time and I just don't need that in my life right now. I'm also being much too cowardly to call him and, essentially, end our friendship for the third time. Why don't boys ever get the message?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day 491: The first day jitters

I had my first day of class yesterday. I am currently taking the third quarter of General Biology. The class went well enough. I was worried the professor was going to be a bit of a nose-grinder (or any related idiom) from the way the syllabus was worded but she seems very sweet and I think the class is going to go well.

I was worried about having to make friends and whatnot because I'm not really into people but I think it's going to be fine.

I'm having a lot of qualms as of late. I wish I knew what was causing them. I went over the list today in my head as I walked to my internship but nothing seemed to engender the same amount of fear I'm currently feeling. It could be the possibility of a bleak MCAT score which would lead to no medical school accepting me. Which would lead me to have to apply next year to improve my whole freaking life. Or it could be the idea of having to do school again. Or maybe its the possibility that I'm not doing enough (I'm just a big part-timer this quarter), just a little bit of everything which doesn't seem to add up to much of anything. Or...the list goes on.

As you can see, it's become quite easy to drown any sanity and confidence in questions and fears. Le sigh.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 489: Oh the humanity!

Don't be fooled by the subject title. This is going to a serious-ish post.

This looks just like the one we use at the lab.

Today, I returned to guillotining rats and cracking their skulls open. It's been a while since I've guillotined a rat myself and it was incredibly disconcerting. It didn't help that this certain rat was not given the best treatment -- it was definitely alive and somewhat conscious while it's heart was being drained of blood, and it's liver and lung were being cut out; it was thrashing about in it's semi-alive state. Then, I get the joy of cutting it's head off only to have its eyes bug out as I sever his head from the rest of his body. It was not a pleasant image.

Then, I have to crack the skull and do other unpleasant things and the moral of this story is, it's hard to completely distance myself from the inhumanity of it all. I'm not a fan of rats. However, I think it's good to be grateful for their lives because they are contributing to the big picture.

I'm going to warn you right now. If you don't want to read about teeth and skull-cracking and brain-removing, skip ahead until you see this "@#$"...

As I was cracking the rat's skull open, I could feel its teeth jabbing into my finger. I had to cut its skin away from the skull and pull at the muscle and I was trying somewhat desperately not to gag at the idea that it's eye sockets were just about gone and its teeth were still jabbing my freaking finger.


Anyway, all in all, rats are rats. It's easy to feel bad for what we do to them (or so I think) but it's also surprisingly easy to dull one's senses to both the injustice and plain old creepyness of what I/we have to do.

Classes start tomorrow. And the new routine begins.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 482: Big News

I have submitted my medical school application. !!!

Applying is expensive!

In other news, today was my first day back at my internship. It was wonderful to see all the old post-docs but a complete drag to see Dr. Z. He is so great about making me feel completely useless and unwanted. Whatever. You know what I did to stick it to him? I performed a splenectomy on a rat.

Big day, big day.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Day 475: Secondary Issues

I have a quandary.

Most schools, once your application is complete, will send you a secondary application. This secondary application is comprised of essays upon essays about why they should choose you, et cetera, et cetera. Thus, I'm not too worried about receiving a secondary from a school.

My main concern, though, is whether or not I will receive a secondary from any UC (top-tier California state school). Because the UCs are state schools, with limited funding, they only offer secondaries to applicants they are interested in. If they just do a cursory view of my basic stats (GPA and MCAT), then I'm pretty much screwed. My first MCAT score is extremely low when compared to the UC-MCAT-average. If they just do a once-over, then there's no way they'll offer me a secondary (even though my application will say "Pending MCAT scores").

Now, the question is this, should I wait to receive my new scores and then send my application out? Or, should I just hope for the best and send them out now, so that I don't miss the deadline? There are many other issues at stake. For example, the service used to apply to medical schools (AMCAS) has to process your application. What this means is, they have to compare the grades you inputted into your application against your official transcripts. Then they determine your GPA. Because of the processing time (as long as 4-6 weeks during peak application time(s)), I could be okay if I submitted them today. I could also not if they processed it faster. I could also be screwed beyond belief if I missed the deadlines for, oh, all the schools.

What to do, what to do.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Day 472: You're required to love your family right?

You know, it's really my own fault. I have this terrible tendency to be absurdly open with my family, which ultimately leads to personal detriment. My sister often wonders how I can be so open when it just comes back to bite me in the butt. And let me tell you, I get bitten a lot. I often wonder why I haven't learned.

I made the mistake of telling my father my exact first MCAT score. Which led to my father saying things along the lines of "you made a mistake the first time around" and "I would wait to submit your application or else you won't get in anywhere." Which is ironic because he's the one that's oozing with confidence. I'm the one that wants to apply to the University of Nebraska and he's saying I should apply to Harvard or Cornell. I'm not being modest. I'm being motherfricking smart.

Of course, when my father is the dichotomy that he is, both my mother and my sister look at me knowingly. Their eyes say, see, we told you? Why are you so dumb Jessica? Just shut up! You know, I don't have a good response.

New plan. Shut the F up.

Day 472: And then some

I took my MCAT yesterday. I'm quite astounded by how much information I had to know for the MCAT. I'm astounded because they really only tested me on a few select topics. For example, there were no fluids (Physics) questions. And that's quite a chunk of the material one has to know in Physics. I'm sure you can imagine what else they didn't test me on in regards to Chemistry, Biology and Organic. All in all, it went much better than the first go-round and that's all I can ask for. I know my score improved, but by how much, well, we'll just have to see.

I am currently in the process of deciding which schools to apply to. I plan to be as realistic about this as possible. My GPA is decent and I am assuming the lowest MCAT score possible and figuring out which schools to apply to based solely on those two factors. My father is convinced that my liberal arts background will set me apart but I'm not as confident.

It's odd to think this is all happening. My original plan was to take my first MCAT and kick butt and then apply early and be accepted by now. Instead, my plan has been slightly derailed but if I end up at my desired destination (med school), then I guess the journey doesn't matter all that much does it?

I can't decide if I should be hopeful or worried or content. Hopeful that I'll get in with what I've got (my GPA and new-and-improved MCAT score--that will be coming in a month). Worried that I'm applying too late for all these rolling admissions. Or content knowing that I've done everything I can (I'm confident about my personal statement, my activities, et cetera) and it's officially out of my hands when I click "Submit." A lot to process.

Today is my first day of doing nothing and it freaks me out a little. I've been reading (Kurt Vonnegut's "Armageddon in Retrospect") and researching possible medical schools to apply to and that's about it. I just don't know what to do with myself when I'm not studying, haha. It's been a constant state of being, as of late, and I don't know what to do otherwise. Weird, I know.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Day 470: A random note

I have always had a deep love for Diane Sawyer. I am extremely pleased to hear she'll be taking over "World News Tonight" when Charlie Gibson leaves. I just wanted to bring back my old journalism love to express how excited and passionate I am about her. She's always got her act together and never ceases to impress me with her journalistic integrity and ability.

Congratulations Diane! You're going to wow 'em!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Day 468: Nearing the big day

My MCAT is in four days. As previously stated, I'm working hard.

I thought it would be important to blog, even though the big day is so close, because my last post was so angry that I didn't think it would be a pleasant last note before the big day.

So, I just finished all my physics homework problems. I have passages to do but 425 physics problems down!

Today is the last day I will be attending my MCAT class. Some of us are going out for a beer (just one!) to say good-bye and good luck and whatnot. This class, I can't say it enough, is really wonderful. Not just because of the great teachers I've had (except for Verbal, which was the biggest waste of my life) but because the class dynamic was really unexpected. We all get along swimmingly and who would have thunk? I mean, it's a class of pre-med (mainly Asian) kids. Those kids are hard-core and can be incredibly unfriendly. Instead, we're all a bunch of random kids who vibe well together and it's really been a worthwhile experience. Also, I think the course in general is what I really needed. I wasn't happy with my first score and I think a lot of it had to do with the improper timing of my first exam, my general state of mind then, and my preparation.

This time, the timing is a little close (my officially ends the day before my exam; my last day is today). However, my attitude has come down off its unrealistically optimistic horse to a sense of healthy realism. I need to maintain the confidence I had at the first test though. This class has made me second-guess myself only in terms of the test questions. Meaning, instead of knowing what I know and sticking to my guns, I start to question myself...well, that was too easy, that can't be right. Which is not the way to do it. I think you really do have to go in there and know what you know and just do it. Plain and simple. No questions, just work with what you have and don't waste time thinking "but maybe." All in all, this class has really prepared me. There were a lot of biology topics I was shaky on (because I've only taken the bare minimum science courses) and this class helped me focus on what exactly I should learn. The class, overall, lives up to its "preparatory" name.

This post turned out to be more reflective than I thought it would. Ain't it always the way?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Day 465: I am so mad I could...

...do something mean. Or bad. Or both.

I went to a make-up MCAT-class. I will not be attending the last class since it is the day before my actual MCAT so I needed to make it up. Well, let me tell you, it was the worst 2.5 hours of my life. The teacher was crude and rude and completely incompetent. I could give care less if you're a post-doc student at Stanford. You're a terrible freaking teacher.

So, today, I am still pissed/annoyed and now I have to relearn the entire lecture. It also doesn't help that he taught me everything incorrectly and now I have to back-track and compare if what he told me agrees with the text (it usually doesn't) and ... UGH! I wish I could express how livid I am. I have less than a week to go and this is the last thing I need -- a ridiculously awkward-wannabe-cool-Asian loser who may be actually be intelligent but it's difficult to see past his vulgar, uninspiring, completely pitiful teaching. As a result, I have to lose precious studying/homework time to relearn the material he so improperly taught.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 463: Happy belated birthday...

...to me!

It felt a little like Sixteen Candles except I didn't get the boy at the end. You see, my birthday was spent in my MCAT class. For about eight hours. The MCAT-class-kids were super sweet and they sang me Happy Birthday. My family and I went to The Cheesecake Factory after my class and I proceeded to eat an entire pound of food (thank you Cheesecake Factory Nutritional Guide!). It was excellent. People called and texted me throughout the day which was very sweet. Overall, it wasn't a big deal that I didn't do much for my birthday. I don't really think birthdays (mine anyway) are that big of a deal. I think it's like any other day.

Besides, I have bigger things than my birthday to worry about. Let's talk about my moving teeth. Sometimes, they're all loose-y goose-y and I get freaked out because I have crazy dreams about my teeth falling out. Then I think my worst fears are coming true -- toothless at 22! Also, when they're loose-y goose-y, they hurt.

Oh and my MCAT. I'm taking that sucker next week! I'm stoked. I'm workin' hard to get it together. I remember when I was first signing up for a future MCAT date, and I thought, I want it to be before my birthday so I can have a nice birthday but, to be honest, I don't really think anything big would have happened otherwise. It's kind of nice to have a purpose.

Like I said, just chugging along.

(P.S. I will accept belated birthday posts here and won't judge you if you didn't e-mail/text/call me ;P)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 458: I love living at home...

...but it is mad freaking stressful living with your parents and all they ask you is "how was your MCAT prep today?" Usually, it's perfectly bearable. However, as the big day looms, it's not bearable anymore. It is actually aiding and abetting (my stress levels). And last time I checked, that is a crime. Thus, my parents are criminals.

No, I'm totally kidding. It just bothers me how stressed out they get when they don't like how my day went. It gets especially worse when they ask how a practice exam went. I think I know how important the exam is, okay? I certainly don't need anyone reminding me.

So much to learn. And relearn. And review.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day 450: Meteors, reprieves and fears

To work in backwards-chronological order, there is a meteor shower tonight in the Northern hemisphere and the family and I are staying awake to see it. (I hope we actually see something)

The reprieve I'm speaking of relates to my impending MCAT (and what hasn't related to my impending MCAT lately?). I took a practice exam last Friday (as I have been) and it was a true comfort. I did decently, for once. It was exactly what I needed because after my last post, I was having a minor freakout. I started to obsess over my lack of improvement and then I started to ponder the what-if situations and, as I'm sure you can imagine, I entered into a downward spiral of not-being-good-enough and getting stuck in my own head.

Luckily, the reprieve came and it assuaged my fears. The fear is still there, of course. However, now it is staying neatly behind a fence. It's good to be fearful, to a certain extent. The fear, more often than not, is what pushes me forward. The fear of failure and the fear of not living up to expectations. Those are pretty healthy fears, right?

P.S. I just checked my grade and I got an A in Calc! Phew! I was a little worried about that one. Whee!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Day 444: The end of Calculus!

My multiple-choice Calculus final was today. It came. It went. It may have conquered. We'll see how it all worked out. Let's all be grateful that it's over though, okay?

Me neither cavemen. Me neither.

For those of you wondering why I'm taking Calculus, all of the in-state California med schools require a year of math (to be comprised of Calculus and Statistics). Thus, high-school-Jessica was lied to. She was convinced she would never take math again after high school. Ha! Big fat lie. Luckily, all I have to take is Statistics and Bio 2 and my life will be set.

Now that Calculus is out of the way, I can focus 110% on my MCAT. Also, I can finally tend to my beleaguered personal statement. You know, I didn't use beleaguered properly at all. I just wanted to use it 'cause it's a pretty word. My personal statement is more along the lines of incomplete, haha. I just need to give it the final few touches (and numerous edits) and off my application goes! Yikes!

Also, why is it raining? This is California. We're all puppies and rainbows and sunshine. Not rain in August.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 438: I still hate physics

I'm off to the gym to relieve some MCAT stress. This cartoon is so true. The calculus (which I'm only taking now) is so much more bearable than all this physics crap. You know, on my two diagnostic MCATs thusfar, I have scored dismally low on the Physical Sciences (Physics and General Chemistry). That was my better section on my real MCAT. I think I need to stop avoiding the pain and start really honing my Physics skills.

All the "Physics for Dummies" books (not the actual ones but similar to them) my Dad bought me have obviously done me no good. Physics and I are like the Montagues and the Capulets. And one of us is going to have to die before we solve the feud. ...I'm pulling for Physics to spontaneously combust (which is actually against the Laws of Physics/the Universe). Damn you Physics!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 437: Almost free (of calculus anyway)

So, I took my last calculus exam today. The final is next Thursday. The test could go either way so we'll just have to see how it went.

My MCAT class is going well. We all get along well, some more than others. There's a group of clique-y (but not necessarily in a bad way) Stanford kids, then some of the older crowd and then there are the few who don't really socialize at all. All in all, we're a good bunch.

I can't wait for my Calc class to be over so I can dedicate all my time to the MCAT. I really want to dominate it.

You know, while encountering a "Julie and Julia" commercial, I thought to myself, you know Jess. If you want this blog to be more entertaining, you should spice it up. Talk more about your feelings. Or something. So, in that vein, I'm going to try and make reading this more interesting. Less update-feel and more good-feel :)

Good-feel: I really want the MCAT to go my way. I think I want it more for me than I do for medical school. Sure, a strong MCAT score will rock all their socks. However, I need the good score to prove to myself that I can do it. It isn't enough when everyone else thinks I can. I have to know I can. And for those of you that know me, "knowing things" is one of my biggest needs.

So, a shift from feelings to doings, I'm slowly getting more focused on how to attack the MCAT. I'm trying to reconcile my prep course's tips and what works for me. When I try their methods, I get all tripped out. When I do things my way, I keep thinking about doing things their way. It's a fine balance.

Lastly, we're in about week 3 of the course and I'm still a little annoyed at how I keep missing x-number of questions. I think it's because my prep-course peers and teachers make it seem like, eventually, I will only be missing one or two questions per passage. So, in that regard, I'm trying to not think too much about anything and just work with what I have. I think that's it. I'm getting too influenced by the strategies and possibilities that I've lost sight of my original, pre-first-MCAT mentality -- which was to know what I know and rock it out.

Hmm, interesting.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 430: The need for seriousness

I took a practice MCAT today. It was my first one in a while and it went fine enough. Not terribly well, but it was good to get back into testing mode. Studying and doing MCAT problems are not the same when you're timed and have to do all this stuff on the spot.

I've realized that I tend not to take the practice tests too seriously. If I just read questions and think a second or two longer, I could produce the right answer. I keep thinking I'll get it all together come the actual MCAT but that's not the proper attitude to have for these things. New game plan, take every question, passage, second, minute, et al as seriously as possible.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 429: Lots of changes!

It seems my work load has grown exponentially. No, seriously. I started my new MCAT prep course this weekend and I have enough books to knock someone out. Lots of passages and questions and reading. I am taking calculus concurrently and after a shameful/dismal/depressing/shockingly bad grade on Exam 2, I decided something had to give. And what gave? My internship.

Dr. Z was incredibly understanding about giving me some time off to focus on my calculus class and impending MCAT.

Oh, and I got these puppies.

Doesn't this remind you of awkward teenage-dom?

I think I look sincerely like a twelve-year old. I also think I look horrendous. In spite of this, I kind of like them. I like the idea that change is happening. Since my teeth are quite tender at the moment, change is quite apparent (to me anyway). Also, I never realized how unpleasantly crooked and discombobulated my teeth were until they put the braces on.

So, to keep everything straight, I'm on a hiatus from my internship. Instead of running Western blots, I am doing lots and lots of math and MCAT homework. I got braces yesterday (Wednesday).

That is all.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 421: Have there really been 421 days?

It's a little weird to think that I've been writing in this thing for more than 400 days! I barely sleep that consistently ;)

Anyway, updates!
  • My lab cohorts, 9 1/2 and J-Town, and I are so inefficient and ineffective that our boss has separated all of us and placed us with different lab people.
  • I have my second (of four) calc tests tomorrow.
  • My best friend is home from Ireland for the week! Jubilation!
  • I start my MCAT prep class this weekend. -- You know, I was kind of against this class for some reason. However, upon being signed up for it and registering that I'm really taking this class, I'm rather grateful. It'll be nice to have someone teaching me instead of me teaching myself.
  • I realized I only need two quarters of calc and one quarter of stats (for a year of math, total) so once I finish this class, I'm done! (With Calc anyway) ...then, all I have to take is stats and Bio 2. Holla!
I think that's all really. Oh. There's one more thing. I'm getting braces. Okbye.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Day 416: Rats and chats


Yesterday (Thursday) was quite a big day for me. I had my first calc test (it went fine enough). Then, at the lab, I extracted my first brain and sliced and did all the fun, gory stuff related to the lab's research.

NOT our actual experiment. Just samples of rat brains :P

In other news, I've been trying to run this experiment all week (with my fellow interns) and we kept f-ing it up. Yesterday, the experiment was successful (it's a two-day experiment) and today, we were able to scan our results. They were fairly successful, which is always good.

My actual boss, let's call him Dr. Z, is...interesting. I feel that I'm more of a speck on his radar than anything of actual concern. That doesn't make me any less grateful for the research opportunity. I just want to feel more...useful. And wanted. But whatever. We had a nice chat/discussion about my future at the lab and I think we're going to focus my tasks at the lab. I'm going to learn to run the experiment (it's called a Western blot) as well as I can. I'm also going to learn to troubleshoot the experiment, which seems to the be the best demonstration of my knowledge. Either way, more focused work at the lab. It can get pretty slow at times. Good thing I have books (I just finished Bernard Schlink's The Reader) and Calculus homework to keep me busy.

Tonight, lab people and I are going to dinner for my pseudo-boss, Mr. X. Mr. X is just the best. Today is his last full day. He's moving to a different lab next week. However, due to the lack of aptitude at our lab, Mr. X has decided to work part-time at our lab until August. (Yay!) Until then, we'll have to work hard to gain enough confidence and comfort with the goings-on of the lab.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Day 410: Happy Independence Day!

Hello my fellow Americans! Happy Fourth of July! Fun question, does England have a Fourth of July?

Moving on, I hope you're all enjoying your freedoms and liberties and all that other mumbo-jumbo that's expoused in our Declaration of Independence :)

This is the first (sort-of) week of my new routine and it's gone quite well. I figured out where to park at Stanford (after receiving a lovely parking ticket from the university, thanks Stanford) for my new internship. Since I see the internship people at least five hours a day, I've already developed small rapports with each of the people there. I've been learning about the research they do and I had the opportunity to guillotine a rat's head the other day (vive la France!) We cut off its head in order to slice its brain to see the effects of our experiment. Too gory? I'll move on.

My calc class is moving at a decent pace. I was worried it would pick up where things left off, and it has in some ways, but it's done so in a way that I can certainly manage. My first test is this upcoming Thursday. I have a test every Thursday (four total) and then the last one will be a final. The professor seems fair enough and he makes cute academia/nerd jokes that amuse me.

Aside from that, my best friend comes home Wednesday (wee!), I need to start working out again (sooner rather than later) and I also need to get my personal statement together. Things to do, things to do.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day 406: News, friends and more news

I got my MCAT scores back. I haven't wanted to blog about them but I've had some time to deal with them and I can talk about it now. I am incredibly disappointed in my scores. I am re-taking the MCAT. That's all the MCAT talk we're going to have. I found this picture a while ago and now I can finally use it.

Moving on, my gal-pal Tori left on the 21st and then my friend Zooey (and her girlfriend) came out two days later. They left Sunday, the 28th, and then my beautiful sister turned 20 yesterday! It was great to have all these guests but its nice to just be home now, you know?

Anyway, I have begun a new routine. (And we all know how much I love routines) I am taking a calculus class Monday through Thursday and I am interning at a neurosurgery lab at Stanford. I go directly to that after my calc class. Then I stay 'til whenever. It's a flexible situation, so that's nice. Overall, it's a pretty sweet gig. I just started this all yesterday (the 29th, Monday) so I'm still acclimating myself to both the math and learning research techniques but its getting me back into a schedule...which I like.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 395: Home sweet home

I know, I know. It's been a while.

I'm finally home in California and I have the boxes in my house and the mileage on my car to prove it! My dear friend Tori and I drove through 8 states total to get from North Kakalaky to Cali-Cali and it was quite a trip. Here's a brief rundown of my trip -- check back later for pictures.
  • North Carolina: This involved a really beautiful drive through the Appalachian mountains.

  • Tennessee: Not much there. Long as heck state.

  • Arkansas: My friend Joy warned us it wouldn't be that pretty but the fact that we were visiting her made it all the more worthwhile. Joy's a blast and her whole family (hers and her husband's) are loads of fun. Oh, and Tori and I almost died in a hurricane. That was fun.

  • Oklahoma: Not a fun state. We didn't get any pictures of Oklahoma-related signs. Boo.

  • Texas: Ugly. Desolate. Boring. Moving on. (Granted, we drove on I-40 through northern Texas. Maybe the southern part is better. ...we weren't holding our breath.)

  • New Mexico: Much more lively, better scenery.

  • Arizona: Since it was along the way (sort of), we stopped off at the Grand Canyon. I hadn't been for ages. It was honestly breathtaking.

  • California: Tori was amazed at LA traffic. LA wasn't as terrible and soul-sucking as I remember. We stayed a day and we drove home Wednesday. Tori and I went to a winery in Napa yesterday and we had a complete blast.
Currently, Tori and my sister are asleep on the couch and I'm here, blogging. I need to upload pictures, clean my room, get skinny, and prep for more friends heading out west :)

I love being home. I can feel sanity and general contentedness seeping back into my soul.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Day 380: New York, New York


I am currently in New York and I have many feelings about it. Probably four, at least.

I'm always amazed at how easy it is to fall back into city life. The subway. Honking cars. Tourists every which way. The walking. The food. Shopping. It's all so ... routine, but in the best way possible.

I've seen a few people already and loved every moment of it. I've only eaten and not really shopped, which is always a good thing. I should get chubby and broke, not well-dressed and broke ;)

My gal-pal Tori and I have had a slow start today but it was all for the better. Rather than work out in her complex's sweet gym, I instead filled out more of my med school application. It's crazy to think that I'm applying. It's all really happening...eep!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Day 374: Movin' on!

Hello everyone,

I apologize for the absurdly large delay between posts but who knew between taking an MCAT (which I wish not to speculate about, however, it went just fine) and working and packing up your life that, well, I wouldn't have time to blog about my life? (Not me.) I have (thusfar) sent home 9 boxes. Another one will probably be sent before I leave.

Anyhoo, what has been up? Well, I went out with some friends the night after my MCAT and had a blast. I've actually made some really incredible friends out here and I'll be really sad to leave them. Not sad enough though :P I can't wait to get back to Cali. I miss dry heat. And Cali sun. And liberal ideas. haha, although, I'm not pleased with the California Supreme Court at the moment.

Here is what's going on over the next few weeks.

  • I work this weekend (Saturday and Sunday).
  • I check out of my complex and leave for Charlotte-esque on Monday, June 1.
  • I fly out to New York on June 2.
  • I fly back to Charlotte (with my gal-pal Tori) on June 10.
  • I leave for Cali with Tori (meaning, in my car) June 12. I'm trying to decide if I should stay with my friend, Joy, in Arkansas (free housing and most likely free food) for a day. She lives 2 hours off the main highway heading west but it is free housing and food and general relaxation before continuing on Tori and my three-day-12-hours-a-day-driving jaunt.
  • Next we're off to New Mexico then to the City of Angels (aka Los Angeles aka the city where Jessica's soul dies). Tori has never been so we're going to check out the sights and maybe go out one night.
  • Then, I finally get home. Finally! I can't freaking wait!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 365: What a difference a year makes!

Today is my 365th day of this whole journey. It's amazing what can happen in a year.

I wish I had more to say but I'm definitely going to bed to do a whole bunch of nothing tomorrow and then MCAT on Friday. I'll have more to post then (in regards to the exam and life in general) and I'll update you all on what's happening post-MCAT.

So, no talk of luck and stuff please. I'm not taking any MCAT wishes tomorrow. I'm just going to rock it out on Friday.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day 361: A few events

Let's see, I have a new MCAT schedule.

6am (ish) : Wake up
6:15ish - 7am : Workout
7amish : Shower, prepare for day
8am : Begin MCAT online
1pmish: Complete full MCAT

Afterwards, relax a bit.

After relaxation, get back into MCATing. Review what I did not understand/could not answer. Learn. The whole shebang.

You know, I forgot how long and draining a five-hour exam is. Whew! I was pooped yesterday!

The plan is (for my parents who are ever so pressed about it) to follow this schedule until Wednesday. Thursday (5/21) I'm not doing a darn thing. I'm going to sit around and be lazy. Just get my head on straight.

For those of you who read this and would like to encourage me, please don't. I have heard/read that the day before a big test (of any sort, e.g., LSAT, MCAT, GRE, etc) that there should be no mention of the exam whatsoever. So, please don't wish me luck or ask me how I feel or any of that. I need to get relaxed and mentally ready. Spankyouverymuch.

Friday is the big freaking day. Eep!

Anyway, to inform you of the most recent events in my life:
  • Went running with my friend's girlfriend at 6am! That was sweet. Workout buddies truly are key to sticking with it.

  • My friend (who has left for home) called me in a drunken stupor last night. That was pretty enjoyable. I was completely amused by it and even though he woke me up from a formidable slumber, it was worth it. He was completely wasted.

  • Skype-d with my BFFFH last night, she's the best.

  • I'm in a fight with my sister (which is never good)

  • The TV I have been watching has finally been taken back by it's owner so now I'm TV-less. Which is fine. Luckily, I got to see my season finales Thursday night before she took it.
  • ohmygodohmygodohmygod. The Office.
  • I'm almost done reading "Pride & Prejudice" (I never read it in high school even though I was supposed to :\) ... I finally get what all the fuss about Jane Austen is about.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day 359: An update

For the wonderful few of you who have commented and/or emailed and/or been generally grand people, here is what is going on in my life:

Lots and lots of MCAT-ing. Today I calculated that I need to do about 200 questions (at least) per day in some subject or other. I take an online MCAT (a portion of it anyway) everyday. And I just go through as much of these books as possible. I have actually acquired more since I took this picture (a couple of months ago).

I looked into where I'm taking the exam next Friday (!!) and it's a 7 minute drive so I'll try and get there a bit early. I think I'm going to work out that morning so I'm clear headed and have all my stuff ready the night before (food, and that's about it. I don't think I get a pen/pencil.) I am so hyped for this test.

All of you have been incredibly supportive of this journey and it's all coming together next Friday. Thank you for believing in me even when I wasn't believing in much of anything. It means the world to me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Day 357: Twice in one day, I know.

Now onto school-related business, I barely passed Physics (it seems) and I am incredibly grateful. I really hate physics. Hence, it is the subject I'm going to focus on for the MCAT. My Physics grade is by far my weakest/lowest grade so I need to rock Physical Sciences on the MCAT to prove that I know this stuff (even if I only sort of do ;P).

Anyway, I ranked in the top 10 for my Physiology class (out of about 200 people).

It's sweet, but it could have been sweeter if I was in the top 5 like my friend. And we compete. In Physics and Physiology (the classes we have together) and I'm pretty sure he beat me in both. Which is lame. Whatever. I'm going to revel in this top 10 ranking and passing Physics.

I should be more worried (or at all?) about my Organic grade. I'm not. The standardized final was not as bad as I thought and I don't know. I would have had to uber-screw up the final to not pass so I'm just kind of winging that grade.

Edited to add: Totally passed Organic II! Just waiting on Physics II and Organic lab grades.

Day 357: Stupid roosters

Hello everyone!

I'm not sure how many of you know this, but I have been hearing rooster crows for the past few months. At first, I thought I was imagining it. Or I found it amusing. Or something. I can't remember. All I know is, I was real confused as to why a rooster was crowing at all hours of the day (not solely in the morning).

Anyhoo, my roommate and her boyfriend came home a few weeks ago and heard the same thing and thought it was my TV show or something. (It wasn't.) They saw a car drive by that night (while they were out on the porch) and heard a rooster crow sound coming out of the car so they assumed it was the horn sound (who would choose a rooster crow as a horn sound is another question altogether). My roommate's boyfriend called the police and nothing was really done about it.

Well, the other morning when I got up to work out, I saw this stupid little bird and it was far away so I couldn't see if it was a chicken or rooster. Well, I didn't have to look/squint much longer because it tucked its stupid head back and let out a big fat crow. And I said to myself (at six o' clock in the morning), "I am going to shoot that damn bird." Granted, I don't own a gun and have never shot one, BUT the sentiment is true.

Anyway, I thought maybe I was still being crazy (because it was far away and rather early), but I went for a run outside this morning and I ran by three stupid roosters! THREE! Now I have three birds I need to shoot. One must crow in the morning, the second in the afternoon and the third must crow in the evening.

I wonder what rooster meat tastes like.
I hope it's like chicken...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Day 356: The end! Really!

And it's all over. I had an Organic lab final on Saturday (Saturday!) and that was fine. Took my standardized Organic final this morning. I was out of there at 9:50am and I am (essentially) done with my premed requisites! I relaxed today and tomorrow is day 10 until the MCAT. And I am stoked. I am going to kick that test's butt. Forreal. It's going to be sweet.

Anyway, just wanted to share this with you. (I like that it's Asian!)

I'm done!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Day 353: One down, two to go!

Two more finals people.

Physio was tough this morning but I'm tight with one of my professors and she "expected a high grade" from me so that was very sweet. She believes in my abilities, how kind. And she's super on point. My final was at 8am this morning. Final grades were posted around 2pm. Passed the class, so I'm happy.

Organic lab final tomorrow (on a Saturday, I know), a friend's birthday party, Organic final on Monday and I am done-zo! I will hopefully be hanging out with Joy at some point. Anyway, I have decided to give myself Monday to chillax (and some of Tuesday) and then I am studying hardcore for the MCAT. I am totally going to 47 the MCAT. (It's out of 45 but I'm going to rock it so hard they're going to have to give me two extra points :P)

I'm off to bed (because Organic lab techniques are boring as heck!) but I'll catch you all on the flip side.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Day 352: What a good day!

I studied. I learned. I saw and spoke to people I've wanted to see and speak to. I think life is pretty sweet right now.

I'm going to ace my physiology final tomorrow. In case any of you are wondering.

Anyway, to elaborate, I saw an old SIP student I had from last semester (let's call her Jill). She is super freakin' cute and it was SO great to see her. To make it even better, I spoke to Joy! We haven't spoken (or seen each other) in ages and it was amazing to hear her voice. She's still the best freaking Joy.

So, I'm watching "The Office" and Jim and Pam are so cute and life is good today.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day 350: Holy cow! Class is over!

I can't believe it! I'm really done. How insane!

Granted, I have three finals, but whatever. I took my last physics test today and it went fine. I'm done with physics (no final) so that's all I care about. I'll come out with whatever grade I come out with.

I had my last physiology quiz today and that also went fine. The reproductive system ... sexy.

Got my Organic exam back, could have done better, but again, that's over and done with. I spoke with Dr. Red today to just catch up (however briefly) and he says he's not worried about me (grade-wise) at all so that was nice to hear. He's a really fantastic professor and I'm quite sad I can't take him for Biochemistry next semester.

The love-of-my-life did not come to final SIP session today and I couldn't close the deal yesterday when we chatted (for a hot second) so my true love and I are not meant-to-be it seems. Tear.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Day 346: Some updates

My Organic exam went well enough today. I was for-serious about acing it and I hope I did.

My Physics professor finally handed our exams back. It was pretty terrible. I mean, I did well enough but it was by no means an A. It's okay, he seems really fair about the whole situation so I'm really not that worried about my grade. (I may have just hit an "I'm-over-school" plateau)

Lastly, I think you should all know I'm in love. I informed my family today. I totally heart this kid. It's so crazy. But in all seriousness, he's cute and smart and driven and he's a man-with-a-plan. Too bad he doesn't like me. But that is just a minor detail ;)

Studying for my last Physics test this weekend. As well as completing my final organic labs (I'm so done with this notebook business). And cleaning my apartment. And all these other good things.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day 345: I thought I blogged but...

...I guess not. I'm taking a quick break from studying to check my e-mail and finish up some online homework.

Anyhoo, I have my last Organic exam (before the final) tomorrow and I'm going to ace it. I'm studying my butt off and I'm going to rock it out.

The budget cuts across California have affected my future schooling. What this means is that I intended to continue my postbacc work in Cali (taking advanced science courses) but I can't because no schools are accepting students. And, because I dropped the ball, I am applying too late for the fall quarter. I don't know what to do.

(Copyright: ArvinComics)

I only need to take one more requirement (General Biology II) but I really wanted to take Biochemistry. Also, if I'm not taking classes, med schools will think I was being a lazy bum during the glide year/application year. It's just a lot of crappy economics happening at the moment. I've got people I need to call at SFSU, SJSU, etc today to get some 411.

Aside from that, school's about over (Cinco de Mayo is the last day!). Then I have finals. Goody.