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.