Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 952: Spreading belated holiday cheer

I really have enjoyed how random my year has been. With ups (med school goodness! No more metal mouth!) and downs (careening off my bicycle...twice, metal mouth for a majority of the year, prepping for med school reapplication insanity) to fill it up, I must say, the year has been pretty all right.

I have received holiday cards from an odd compilation of people, and I feel it illustrates how perfectly random my life is. A couple of cards are from friends and a couple are from random eBay people that I've bought things from. I find that the holidays brings about a fair share of sorrow and joy and apparently causes everyone humanly possible to get engaged.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 945: More gratitude.

Upon further reflection, aside from you all, I'm not really thankful for very much. Haha.

I mean aside from the amazing life I've been given, the incalculable amount of opportunities I have been afforded and the sheer matter-of-fact that I am alive and as well as I can be, what else is there to be thankful for?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 938: Winding down

As we draw closer to December 20th (the day the university closes for winter break), the workload seems to be slowing down. Granted, my workload is always slow, but that's besides the point.

This post is going to be more about the pros of my labwork (than the cons of the previous post). I have learned to do cool things, like perform surgery on rats, find arteries in said rats, and suture those babies up. I am supposedly a co-author on more than one publication (who knows if this will happen until the paper has been a) accepted and b) comes out). My mandarin has 进步-ed (improved; like my Chinglish there?) leaps and bounds.

With every con, there is hopefully a pro to offset it. If my boss wasn't such a box of tools (or, as my handy dandy online dictionary has translated another pleasant word for him here), I think my time here would be full of pros. But. Idiocy, douche-baggery and plain-ol'-
偏見 are difficult to overlook.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 934: I wish politics wasn't a part of everyday life.

I also wish this blog wasn't so "public." You know those stories you hear, about some idiot posting critical and/or secret things about their place of work and then someone eventually finding out and said-idiot gets fired? Well, I think I'm about to be that idiot.

I, of course, can't go into details. However, let it be known, that I wish my lab wasn't the "dumb kid" of the class. Everyone tolerates us and I hate being a part of this lab because I am automatically associated with this idiocy. When, in reality, I am nowhere in the realm of this ridiculousness.

I know this all sounds very vague so here is all you need to take away:
  1. I am the only person who speaks English fluently in my lab
  2. The surrounding labs try to minimize contact with our lab because we're sincerely not-the-most-fluent-English-speakers-nor-the-brightest-bulbs of the bunch
  3. Despite being very grateful for the opportunity to work/intern at this lab and put it on my application and/or resume, and despite how much I adore 40% of the lab, it is quite evident that this is not how science is done. As a result, I am saddened and a bit embarrassed to be associated with them.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 927: The fear slowly sets in

As 2010 winds down and we approach 2011, the fear of my future sets in. You would think I was ecstatic with, you know, having a future. I am. Very glad. Very grateful. Very [insert other emotions]. What I also am, is scared out of my freaking mind.

I barely remember where I leave my keys, how am I supposed to remember everything that happens in the human body?! It's all very daunting. What if I can't handle the load of schoolwork? What if my brain cells go on strike and choose to explode in response to the copious amounts of science I will be cramming in there? What if I hate medicine? What if this, what if that. My mind is brimming with "what ifs." Before, when I just wanted to get in and get started and really get going on this whole "becoming a doctor" bit, I am now hoping for a teeny tiny asteroid to obliterate my existence.

(Courtesy of the world wide web)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day 926: The smell of science

Have you ever smelled the rain in a city? It hits you like a breath of fresh air. It's utterly undescribable, but very much understood when one mentions the smell of rain. The smell of science is something equally indescribable, but nowhere near as pleasant. Like the smell of rain, the scent is sharp. Like smelling peppers of any kind. It has the pungency of rotting wood, with none of the musk. It enters your nasal cavity like seeping fog. Slow. Permeating throughout your nasal cavity and sitting there. Covering every single nostril hair you have--ensuring the smell is inescapable. It's the smell of research. Progress.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 925: Hello December!

Does anyone feel like 2010 snuck up on them? I think that's a good and bad thing in my case. The beginning was rough (with the braces and bracing myself to apply to medical school again), but the end has been...just lovely (with the removal of braces, interviews and acceptances :D). I think there are so many things to be thankful for and I intend to post about them throughout the month.

The first of these "thankful" posts is for support...from all of you. Despite the disparagingly low number of comments, I know you read this absurd compilation of thoughts and feelings and boring med school updates (also known as my blog). It means the world to me that you a) care enough to read it, and b) call/email/comment when I so desperately need it. I know that when med school begins, my whole life will feel like it's unraveling before me (because of the sheer breadth of material I'll have to cram into my fivehead) and it's comforting to know that if I post about any of it, the five of you will read about it. It's hard to explain. It's nice to know someone cares, I suppose is the gist of it all.

So, thanks for reading. But really, thank you for being your exceptional selves. What I am capable of accomplishing in the next four years has little to do with me and everything to do with you, the people who inspire and encourage me to be more than I thought I could be. Especially when we all know how happy I would be to wallow in self-pity with the help of cheese, carbs, chocolate and bad TV.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 910: Good talk, good talk

I had the great fortune of catching up with an old high school friend this past Sunday. He is actually a fourth-year medical student at the school in New Orleans where I interviewed. It was great to get some insight from him about the school as well as get his honest thoughts and advice.

I suppose the moral of this story is to tell you that I have had the utmost pleasure of being given a choice of where to attend medical school. At this point, it is between a school in New Orleans and a school in Milwaukee. Given those cities alone, I can guess where a majority of you are pulling for. However, the talk with my old high school friend, let's call him Magellan, really helped make my decision easier.

And what is that decision? I'm leaning towards purchasing an all wheel drive vehicle for a cold, cold, cold environment. Honestly, the program in Milwaukee was more suited to my taste and I really enjoyed all the people I met while I was there. I was just more comfortable there.

I think I was leaning towards New Orleans, rather heavily, because they were the first school to accept me. I wasn't sure if I'd have any more options so I adjusted to the idea of a life in NoLa. Honest to blog, the New Orleans school was my least favorite of the four schools I saw. I don't think it helped I got sick and infected while I was there, but overall, the school just wasn't my favorite. It's that cheesy-but-true sentiment of "following my gut." Right now, my gut is leaning towards cold times, winter weight and an SUV!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day 900: Has it really been 900 days?

The first one was something I was incredibly reticent about mentioning for fear it was a mistake. The second one is, well, a pleasant surprise.

I hate to spell it out for people, because it feels so crass laying all my "accomplishments" out on the line, but I suppose there's no harm in stating facts. I have, in fact, heard from cette school in Milwaukee and the prognosis is good.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 897: Undergraduate musings

Having had the great pleasure of participating in four medical school interviews, it was my last one in Milwaukee that led me to this post.

For those of you that know (and those of you that don't), I went to college in New York.

I'm from California.

Upon telling people this, they all seem very impressed. Well, maybe not impressed, but they do tend to say, "wow you've been all over." I didn't realize that it was odd to go to university outside of your state. All of my friends from college did the same thing. One is from Wisconsin, the other is from North Carolina by way of Indiana, and the others are from nearby Pennsylvania. Of course, there's my one friend from New York state (you know who you are), and I actually found it odd that she stayed in New York. I suppose it's what you're used to.

Anyway, I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to study in New York. It provided me opportunities abound that I certainly would not have had if I went to a state school (which my mother still laments).

It also, I find, made me much more willing to up-and-move to wherever. I kid you not, every single student and/or applicant I spoke to in Milwaukee told me they ended up attending this school (or applying/interviewing at this school) for the sheer fact that they wanted to get away from home and/or college. It would have been too much of the same and they all wanted to get away.

I realized, probably by the fourth person that told me this, that I'm not getting away from anything. Home is always going to be California. If I seem especially willing to leave it, it doesn't mean I don't love it. I adore California. But I'll always come back. To see family and friends and whatnot. So, I don't feel a pressing need to stay because I know I'll always return. I think I just never realized how different it was of me to be so willing to move. Especially when I've never considered myself to be terribly nomadic or anything of the sort.

You really learn (or finally glean) something new (about yourself, in this case) everyday.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 893: The Milwaukee 411

Hola todos!

Once again, I am on a plane, heading home from an interview. This interview was at a school in Milwaukee, which I surprisingly liked. I think being lucky enough to be choosy made this already no-stress interview even less stressful. As a fellow applicant stated so well, "now you [the school] have to impress me."

There were a lot of organizational/communications issues on the school's part early on in my stay, which set the Milwaukee experience off to a so-so start. Luckily, the student body, facilities, and academic structure of their curriculum made up for the disorganization.

I think coming in to the interview with a very open mind helped me see that the school actually has a ton of pros. This is the only medical school in the area so there's no competition with other students (undergrads, dental students, etc) for research positions, volunteering opportunities, etc. They offer a pseudo-extracurricular-but-essentially-required-scholarly-project in an area of medicine that interests you--and luckily one of them is global health, which I am über-passionate about. They have the same grading structure as San Antonio, which is, you earn the grade you get. No curves. There are other pros, but I won't bore you with them.

The moral of this post is to state that I would not be averse to attending this school. What most excites me about their admissions process is the fact that my interview was yesterday (Friday) and they will send out, via snail mail, their decision next Friday. That's a one week turnaround time! I'm still waiting to hear from San Antonio, my first interview way back when in August!

Anyhoo, I'll keep you all apprised.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 889: Another interview in the midst

It is midst right? Not mist? Mist would be silly. Things in mist. I think they make scary films with that premise.

Anyway, I digress. I leave Thursday for an interview in Milwaukee (brrrr). I think it's good to keep my options open, even given the current circumstances. I've been waffling a lot the past few days, deciding whether or not I should go. I tried calling tons of people to get their insight, but shocker, everyone was busier than Santa's elves during the hoildays and couldn't take my call. Such is life. Sometimes you have to make the big decisions on your own.

Granted, this decision isn't all that big. But still, a decision that stressed me out. The stress has gone and the decision has been made. Off to Milwaukee I go!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 879: Post-armageddon

Well, that sounds dramatic doesn't it?

When I woke up yesterday, the stress that had accumulated throughout the week dissipated. You should have seen my to-do list for yesterday. At the top? "Finally stop freaking out!" It was a pretty lax day. Went out with my grandmother, took a nap, got into medical school, donated some clothes, went to the gym, worked, and watched some TV with my mom.

All in all, Ocotber 15th passed, as expected, with little fanfare.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 876: Healing, old friends and feeling consumption

As my friend MK likes to ask me, "Still a leper, Jess?"

"No, no longer a leper." After a week of blistered-feeling appendages that gave way to itchy appendages, I am now essentially healed. Thank the high heavens.

I've been terribly glad this past week because I have reconnected(ish) with two friends! The first was my gal-pal from North Carolina, Joy (who I spoke about here). I haven't spoken to Joy in more than a year. I called her a few times and left messages and never heard back so I deleted her number, mourned the loss of a great girlfriend and moved on. Well, she texts (and then calls) me up out of the blue and it was fabulous! To be honest, I don't expect to hear from her for another six months, but it was good to hear her voice.

The second was my dearest friend Ashley. We haven't seen each other for almost 18 months. We texted, briefly, on August 24th, but that was that. We talked on the phone for more than an hour yesterday and it was fantastic. She's happy at her new job and I am pleased as punch

All in all, catching up with old friends is always nice. And I caught up with two friends so that's twice as nice!

Lastly, I want you to meet my feelings. The stress of Friday is causing me to eat my feelings in all of these delectable foods.

I just need Friday to come and go so I can get back to glorious days of not-knowing when I would hear back from medical schools.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 868: The aftermath of the New Orleans drama

I am here to tell you all about my latest interview in New Orleans. Rather than bore you all with gobs of text, I shall do my best to utilize my broadcast journalism skills and tell you the utmost necessary information about my trip to NoLa.

I flew in Friday where my friend picked me up. I got really sick on my flight there. My throat killed. It became unbearably difficult to swallow (my own saliva, much less any fluid that wasn't scalding hot) and when I deplaned, I was achey and slightly light-headed. We went to dinner (the food did me some good) and then went back to his place where I slept on his gosh-awful couch.

Saturday, we both wake up late and head out to breakfast in the French Quarter. Cafe du Monde is packed beyond belief so we walk to another place down the block and have a good ol' breakfast. He leaves to study and I explore the French Quarter.

He calls me at 4:30 to see if I'm all right only to inform me he took a nap and was just beginning to study. I am sick and dehydrated and just want to go back so I tell him I'm heading back and he can study once he lets me in. We don't go out to eat that night and I end up eating the random crap he has in his refrigerator (cold cuts, cold bread, cold cheese -- all excellent for my throat). I sleep on the floor that night (better than his couch).

Sunday, he wakes up at noon, drops me off at Audubon Park and I don't see him again until 5:30.

Long story short, I don't have money to ride the streetcar so I end up walking 2 miles to the bakery I wanted check out (without passing out even though I'm dehydrated beyond belief). He and the girl he's dating pick me up from there and she is the worst. She's a naive recent college graduate who smokes (in her car no less). He acts like a bumbling, giggling teenager around her and I wanted to smack the crap out of both of them. We eat some po'boys for dinner and they leave to study. I sleep on the floor again tonight.

Finally! The interview! Having had a craptastic time in New Orleans thusfar, the school is actually quite nice. I mean, it's nothing new and shiny like the Philly school, but this school offers a Tropical Medicine degree, which is something that would truly benefit my future career with Doctors Without Borders. The students are nice and the three interviews I had (two faculty, one student) went as follows:
  1. Male PhD. A fine interview. Nothing too great. He didn't have any of my info so it was just him asking questions.
  2. Female PhD. She's German and adorable and tall! We ended up talking for almost 50 minutes (instead of the typical 30). She said near the end of the interview that she could see me at their medical school (which I hope is a good sign, fingers crossed!)
  3. Female, second year. She was sweet. A little nerdy, but super cute. We just chitted and chatted and ate some not-very-good food.
I forget to mention that the morning of my interview, my hands and feet have broken out with these things:

They hurt like blisters especially when I open-and-close my hands and when I walk on my feet. Another way to describe it is like my hands and feet are constantly asleep so the blood rushing back to them hurts like hell in a handbasket. But I'm overexaggerating. It's just uncomfortable.

Edited to Add: My best friend diagnosed me as having Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. For which all I have to say is this: I hate all of you dirty people of New Orleans who infected me with this crap!

So, all in all, New Orleans has infected me with who-knows-what, I am no longer friends with the guy I visited, and I am 10 days away from receiving decisions (hopefully) from medical schools. I think I'm going to start freaking out soon.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 860: Sometimes I amaze even myself...

...with how stupid I can be.

For those that have heard this story before, thank you (for the umpteenth time) for allowing me to freak out.

I am interviewing at a medical school in New Orleans next Monday (yay!). I received the invite two weeks ago while I was at my Philly interview. I needed to reschedule my NoLa interview so I called them whilst on a break from my Philly interview. The woman on the phone said, "All right Jessica, you're all set for October 4th. I await your return email." Well, being me, in all the hullabaloo of rescheduling my NoLa interview and being at my Philly interview and flying home (it sounds like I'm making excuses, which I am), I completely and utterly forgot to email the NoLa school back. Everything's fine, right? Sure, sure. Except for the tiny detail where it states explicitly in my interview invitation, "you must email us within five days of the receipt of this email or your spot will not be guaranteed." %*$@!

I realize this fact on Saturday (a little under two weeks after I receive this email, I reiterate %*$@!) and am so lucky (note the sarcasm) to get 36 full hours to flip the heck out. I don't think you understand how much I drained myself emotionally. After this realization, I went swimming with my friend, came home and literally forced myself to sleep at 7:30/8pm. I didn't want to deal with my parents' disappointment (and further reminders of what a seriously dumb piece of crap I am) so I went to sleep. I just needed Monday to get here so I could speak to someone at the Admissions office and see if I needed to shoot myself in the foot in order to move on with my life.

Luckily, I called the Admissions office today and everything is okay. The same woman said again, "okay Jessica, no problem, we'll see you October 4th." And that's that.

I tried really hard this weekend to talk myself down from my freak out, knowing full well I had done everything I possibly could until Monday. Nevertheless, it was brutal. I haven't felt so worthless and hopeless in a long time. It's nice to know those feelings are like riding a bicycle. They just come back and you ride them out as if you were an emo teenager yesterday.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 858: Some promises, kept.

Yes! I'm posting once a week! For two weeks now! ...it's the little things that count in life, okay?

So, I'm posting, but unfortunately, I don't have much to post about. The waiting game continues. I, now, have only three weeks until October 15th, but I need to stress (to all five of you) how unlikely it is I will hear back that soon. That date is just the earliest I could possibly hear back. Luck has never quite been on my side, so if I can hear back before the holidays (honestly, if you're rejecting me, just tell me. Don't lollygag and keep me hanging) I would be a happy camper.

Anyhoo, my life at the lab is the same. Not too much going on for little old me, but it's fine because it allows me to do other things (such as re-read The Fountainhead). A good friend of mine from high school is rolling through town tomorrow and I am uber-excited to see him! My father has gotten my mother sick, my grandma is back, my sister has returned for her last (eep!) year of college and we all trudge on.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 847: Philadelphia

I am attempting to be better about setting realistic goals for myself so let’s see if I can get one entry a week in here okay? I mean, let’s just hope for this to be true.

I am currently en route to Denver from Philadelphia where I was for an interview. The city of Philadelphia was not very loving to me when I first arrived Thursday night, but I can say with great pleasure that the school where I interviewed significantly made up for it.

The students were enthusiastic about their school and each other. Granted, they were nowhere near as enthusiastic or supportive of each other as the San Antonio medical students. However, that isn’t a bad thing. It was just to a lesser degree than I was accustomed to (since San Antonio was my first interview).

Right now, I think I like this school better than I do San Antonio. The facilities are newer, which never hurts. I didn’t think facilities really mattered to me because as long as you learn, that’s what matters. However, after seeing the new shiny and pretty facilities at this Philly school, I was pretty impressed with what I saw. Now, facilities matter more than they did before. The faculty also sound very approachable and supportive, which is always a plus.

The biggest issue for me now is cost…and getting in. So I suppose it’s two things. This Philly school has an out-of-state tuition reaching the $54,000 mark. The San Antonio school has an out-of-state tuition just over $26,000. Uhhh, holy crap! Not until I wrote those numbers did I realize what a huge freaking difference that is! I would be literally be paying double every year for my medical education. Damn. The Philly school seemed really helpful about financial aid, but, seriously. Damn. How sad is it that education, very often, comes down to the numbers? (Very sad.)

Let’s get back to problem number two, getting in. The earliest I could hear from these schools is October 15th. Luckily that’s only a month away and I will have things, like football and more interviews and personal pet projects, to keep me busy but still.

To be honest, I’m not that nerve-wracked for some reason. I think that’s because I’m too focused on getting out to my next two interviews (I have two! Eep! :D) that these are now out of my control I was my awesome self at each and we’ll have to hope that they liked me enough to want to offer me a spot in their class. Fingers crossed!

Until the next entry my dears!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 823: Lots of things (for once!)

Hey everyone. I know I've been MIA for most of August, but I assure you it was  not due to laziness (which is usually the case). Saturday August 7th was the day my best friend married her true love. Gross, I know :p but honestly, I was co-maid of honor and it was a true pleasure to be apart of something so magical and treasured and beautiful.

Sunday August 8th, I flew out to Milwaukee to see my beautiful friend Nicki. I hung out with her and her friends (all of whom are completely awesome) and got to see a (")big(") city in the Midwest. Nicki's uncle got us some killer seats to a Brewers game and I forgot how fun a baseball game live can be! I flew out to Mil-Town (as Nicki occasionally calls it) to see it, but it was mainly to help my lovely friend drive out to sunny California. She got into a PhD program out here (I could go on and on about how intelligent and bright she is) and I helped her move her life out here. It was a fabulous drive and we had gobs of fun hanging out and seeing the lack of sights along 80. (Pictures to follow in a separate post)

After returning from our road trip, I left for MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) camp. It was my first time at sleep away camp and I had a blast! I was not fortunate enough to have a camper (since most of these children are wheelchair-bound, the camp is great about maintaining a 1:1 camper:counselor ratio) but my role as an "Activities leader" was better suited for me. I helped set up stuff for the numerous events happening and helped relieve counselors when they needed it. I got to see how the camp was run, help the nurse and doctor with medical things, and meet a ton of campers. It was perfect. There are so many things I experienced and took away from camp that I think I'll make a separate post about it.

And now, on August 22nd, I am en route to San Antonio, Texas where I have the great privilege of interviewing at a medical school out there! I know! I can't believe it either! All my hard work and effort is slowly paying off. This is the key moment--showing them my commitment to people and health. I'm doing gobs of research today about healthcare and the school to be as prepared as I can be. The first- and second-year medical students are putting on a little meet-and-greet for interviewees tonight and I plan on attending to get a better feel for the class and a firsthand account of what the med school has to offer. Fingers crossed I like what I see!

Okay, this post has probably bored you to pieces :p we'll be in touch!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 797: A big day

Actually, yesterday was the big day.

I gave my first paper presentation! Luckily it was only to our little lab and not to the entire journal club (lots of labs, lots of big principal investigators/big wigs) -- phew! It was a paper about a certain protein that's secreted when the tissue dies and what it's presence in the blood means for the future of stroke treatment. Blah blah blah. It was a decent paper and a decent presentation. It was tough since I didn't know what half the cytokines (signaling molecules) were, but whatever. I did it!

I was also rejected from my first school yesterday.

They didn't have a secondary so they based it solely on my personal statement and stats. ...I'm not sure what that means. Either way, I'm bummed to be starting off my second round of medical school apps with a rejection, but such is life. As my dad likes to say, "get over it and move on." That's the plan pops, that's the plan.

Hmm, what else? Oh. Yeah. I went from this...

...to this.

I really have to get used to this new smile. I had my old unique one for 20+ years. And I've had this one for a day. It'll take some time to adjust. For all of us. Trust me when I say, I look weird. Different.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 789: An update

This post goes out to my friend Mona, who is livin' it up in Europa right now! (If I could seethe through fiber optic connections, I would :P)

Let's see. What can I update you all on?

I have received secondary applications from 12 of the 16 schools I applied to. I haven't gotten too sick of filling them out just yet, and at this point, it's actually the last four that matter (three of them are state schools), so I'll need to keep my head in the game.

My friend Nicki and my mom have been wonderful about reading through them and making sure I stay on message, etc etc. (Thank you both!)

What else? My life was consumed with the World Cup and my team won!

(All pictures via F-Yeah! World Cup!)

My best friend's wedding (the event, not the film) is in less than three weeks! It's a little scary to think the summer has gone by so quickly / she's finally get married / we're all growing up / etc etc. Life. SLOW DOWN. You're going too fast for me.

P.S. I saw my orthodontist today and my tooth might be dying. Yeah...about that... I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 771: Speaking of secondaries

While reviewing/recycling some of my responses, I just realized I made a typo. I have weighed my options and decided not to freak out. There's nothing I can do about it, so meh.

And to clarify, I am not complaining about my secondaries. Just noting how sore my wrist is. Also, my previous grievances were about my lack of interviews, not secondaries. Secondaries are a dime a dozen, interviews are much rarer. Like four-leaf clovers and the pennies with the Lincoln Memorial.

(I know you weren't being mean. I appreciate your support! :D)

This picture was taken from this person's Flickr

 I loved staring at the itty bitty Lincoln when I got these pennies

Day 771: Secondaries, the second time around

And I've only received secondaries from five schools so far...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 769: Doctordom

I volunteered at a Spinal Muscular Atrophy conference yesterday. This conference was primarily for physicians and the last day, the day I was there, was for the patients.

I want to tell you how much this conference affected me. It furthered my desire to not have children because who knows if you'll be one of the lucky ones to have a "normal" child. It really deepened my passion for medicine. Meeting these kids, who are so bright that I told their parents that if the kids kept talking to me, they would realize they were a lot smarter than me and wouldn't want to talk to me anymore, was just a truly precious experience that I'll never forget. And meeting parents who understood where I was coming from (my distaste of doctors and their holier-than-thou attitude) and found me to be "refreshing" was just added bonus.

I feel like being a physician is so far away but when stuff like this happens, I'm reminded that no matter how far away it is, everything is within one's reach. You just have to stretch. Really really far.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 766: The day has arrived

Medical schools begin accepting application submissions!

My best friend turns 24!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 762: Showers and letters

I co-hosted a bridal shower yesterday and it went swimmingly. I was quite impressed with how everything went off without a hitch. Except the fact I still have braces. Anyway.

The letter of good standing I needed from NYU has been sent and received by AMCAS. Whee! That's the last of everything I needed and now it's in. Now I wait until schools accept submissions and then the secondaries will (hopefully) come flowing in.

Something amusing. My sister called me last week to inform me I received a letter from Drexel University. I assured her it was a rejection letter, so I had her open it. She opened it and the first words she saw were "wait list" and she proceeded to tell me I had been waitlisted. I assured her this was not the case and had her read the letter (or at least the first paragraph) to get her facts straight. She read it. And she was certainly mistaken. There was no holding of breaths when she told me I was on the waitlist, I just thought it was funny and amusing how poorly worded these rejection letters are. A novice reader of rejection letters, like my sister, would be stuck in grammatical limbo based on how terribly phrased these letters are.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 751: Brains and shoulders and verification

I shadowed a neurosurgeon yesterday. Can I please express how crazy it is to be two feet away from a guy who is getting his head cut open? The entire procedure took about 4 1/2 hours and it was completely amazing the entire time. Cutting through the scalp, slowing peeling away tissue and muscle. It took us two hours just to get to the skull. Anyway, the whole experience was a little extremely awe-inspiring. Uhhh, I just watched brain surgery. How weird is that to hear?

I noticed something last night. My shoulder started to bleed, wonderful I know, after I removed the gauze from the wound. When I put Neosporin on it (just the bleeding portion), it stung. My arm has been stinging most nights due to the fun things I put on it (Iodine and/or Neosporin), but I didn't think it had anything specifically to do with the Neosporin. Using the knowledge I gained yesterday, I am now putting Vitamin E on it and two things. 1) It no longer sting-stings, just the good ol' skin-is-(re)forming-so-get-used-to-limited-mobility-and-constant-pain. 2)...I didn't actually have a second point. If I did, I forgot it.

Oh, my AMCAS (aka medical school application) was verified yesterday. All I have to do is wait for a letter of good standing from my undergrad (I'm crossing my fingers it won't get screwed up...but we all remember what I said about hoping and wishing and wanting. So. I'm going to stay on top of this and hopefully not get screwed beyond belief. Ha. Good luck with that.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 748: I want to tell you a story

There once was a girl named Jessica. She was a happy, friendly, idealistic child. As time passed, she saw that the world was not as happy, friendly or idealistic as she was. Jessica grew up fast.

She did lots of things her own way. She graduated high school at a young age. She graduated college early. She decided working 80 hours a week at a job where she would barely move up the food chain was not going to cut it for her. She looked elsewhere and found medicine. She went ahead and studied and learned things and did everything she could do get her medical/science act together. She applied to medical schools. She proceeded to get rejected by 18 medical schools. During this time she got braces. She felt unattractive, unwanted and just about as small as a human being can feel.

Things were looking up. Her teeth were shifting and getting straighter. Her mind was getting clearer and she realized medicine is where she belonged and she would not be defeated. All these things were picking up. However, the universe decided that too many things were picking up. So, the universe picked Jessica off her bicycle and threw her (face first) onto the pavement. Her shoulder hurts. Her face is bruised. Her braces are not coming off in June as planned. Instead, they are coming off half-past never. Her application will never be submitted, or so it feels like. June (and 2010 in general) hates Jessica.

Jessica can't even fully feel anything anymore without feeling guilty. She has a good life and yet she wants to be a sourpuss and rot in her own depression, deprecation and deformities. This is where we are today. Jessica is bruised, broken and bandaged. She doesn't believe in good things happening to her and doesn't want things anymore. Believing and wanting only lead to face planting. Literally.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 746: We all fall down

Le shoulder

It's still oozing.

Right by the nook of my elbow.


This isn't decaying. It's fun Chinese medicine to help it heal.

My bruised chin

Yes, yes, I'm fine.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 745: What? Seriously?

I'm sorry. Tell me again why I submitted so early if the schools won't be receiving my application until June 25th?!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 742: Round two, in it to win it!


Let the insanity begin.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 739: Shh, shh, don't jinx it!

This has been a weird week. I've been asked to culture cells and I learned to slice brains and I'm almost feeling, dare I say, useful?

Maybe when June arrives, the universe will turn back on it's head. I kind of like this weird, new state where I am somewhat researchly and scientifically knowledgeable.

Also, big news. Submitting applications next week (aka the first week of June)! Ah!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 737: Biochemistry grade

I forgot to mention that I received my grades for my Biochem course. It all felt very high-school-like.

The grade came in a carbon-copy sheet of paper with my name and grade on it. I was a little concerned while tearing the perforated edges that my calculations of my total points, etc, etc, was incorrect and I would have been plucked. Luckily, no such thing occured and I passed! A miracle given my craptastic teacher the last half of the semester!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 736: You don't even know

An undergraduate co-intern (from the summer of 2009 and now he's back this quarter) here at the lab said something of interest to me yesterday.

"You don't even recognize how much your status has changed here in the lab. April is asking you to do cell cultures. Patrick's asking you to show him how to use the imaging machine."

...huh. Granted, the general productivity of my everyday lab life is low, but I suppose I have gained some knowledge here. All in all, that was a nice comment to receive.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 731: All feelings are fleeting

I am like an excited atom in an orbital way above my energy level. I am getting all of my essays written and they still feel fresh. I wanted to tell you this because I know how ephemeral this feeling is. After three months of writing, writing, writing, I will be fraying at the seams, utterly sick of selling myself and thinking of original ways to say the same thing.

Be warned.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 729: Control issues

These are the many websites I have to deal with.

Applying is a long, draining, annoying process. The things I can control--such as filling in my coursework, writing my personal statement, describing my activities--I have. Things I can't--when my transcripts arrive and getting my recommendations from the recommenders--are what's troubling me. I have done everything on my part to call registrars and remind my recommenders, but ultimately, it's a waiting game. Let me tell you how much I abhor waiting.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 726: More shadowing

With the help of my best friend (and her parents), I had the opportunity to shadow a pediatric neurologist. I shadowed him on two occasions. The first was, honestly, a bit boring. It was liking attending a doctor's appoint, except I wasn't the patient. The doctor was still very gracious and kind and the experience was still good overall -- just not what I thought it would be.

The second instance was a better. I mainly shadowed the resident who was super sweet. She talked me through a lot of things and listened to all of my application troubles. The second shadowing was at a degenerative neurological diseases clinic and it was quite sad. Or rather the idea of it. The kids all looked super healthy and like normal kids. Unfortunately, normal won't last very long. Which is just plain depressing to think about.

Overall, the whole experience was fantastic. It gave me more clinical experience, which I think is imperative for my impending applications.

Thank you BFFFH!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Day 719: Classes, Shadows and Recognition


...are o-v-e-r! I am officially done taking classes for medical school. I could probably keep taking courses (more advanced ones to a) show I still want to learn, and b) further improve/maintain my GPA) but I'm going to pass.

...in medical school.

I partook in a child psychiatry rotation at a medical school. It was actually pretty interesting. Apparently, students take tests all the time (shocker) in med school and clinical rotations aren't any different. The doctor teaching the course is a friend-of-a-friend and he is crazyawesome. We have similar personalities and beliefs so we chat very comfortably. Chatting with him actually got me back in the mindset to re-apply and sell, sell, sell (me)!


...aren't always creepy. I shadowed said-child-psychiatrist at his place of work and that was fascinating. The children there are all sorts of different and behaviorally...unstable. It wasn't a bad thing. It was really interesting to see how the environment was structured (meaning a lot of structure) because of the lack of structure (and stability) in the children's lives.


...comes when you least expect it. Long story short, my boss at my internship (Dr. Z) has not disdained my presence as of late and actually told a researcher to make sure he put my name on a manuscript! What?! Oh I know. That's how I felt.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day 718: Apologies

I know, I know. My attempts at blogging regularly have fallen absurdly short.

I also tend to write a lot, which is really boring. People want pictures! Visuals! Ooh! Ahh!

Since I'm a people-pleaser...

This was my life as of late (lots of biochem studying and very recently, med school applications!):

I've also been baking a bit:

Rather than picture-spam you all.  I'm going to leave it there.

A post of substance, coming up soon. Really.

P.S. The belated buns pictures are up.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 687: A trend

As I'm sure some of you have noticed, 2010 has not been my year for blogging. A lot of it has to do with my feelings of ineptitude, which really aren't that big of a deal. I want to thank those of you who took the time out to check in with me and make sure I wasn't in terrible shape. I'm not. I just needed to get those feelings out there (in the blogosphere) so they wouldn't be in here (points to my stomach). I have to make room for food, not feelings :P

Anyway, to be more true to the subtitle of this blog, things that are happening that are med-school related...
  • Still interning. Lately there has been a lull in my duties, which was fine when I had exams but is currently not-so-fine now that I'm feeling rather useless in my life.

  • With the help of the most amazing best friend in the entire universe, I'm going to shadow a physician in the upcoming month(s).

  • I have a new biochem professor who I liken to the devil. She is very different from my first professor (who went and had a baby boy) and not in a good way. She's rather Socratic about her teaching style, asking the students lots of questions and expecting responses, which works for liberal arts subjects but not for science. We're not a chatty class, so I don't enjoy wasting time waiting for someone to answer, then having students guess incorrectly, then have Professor #2 pseudo-admonish us for guessing/not-knowing, then she moves on, and then the entire cycle repeats itself. She's going to be a, pardon my French, hard-ass, which sucks because Professor #1 was the most laid-back professor ever. So, all in all, crappy change.
I have more to say, but I feel like this post is text-heavy as it is. I'll save it for another post and try to be as regular about updating as I have been in the past.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Day 685: Failure -- flaw or character building?

At what point does failure stop being character building and start becoming a character flaw?

This is the question going through my mind. After more rejections from schools and life, I wonder if medical school or helping people is really in the cards for me. With rejections left and right from medical schools, including an especially frightening one from the University of Miami -- they "terminated the admissions process with me", it seems evident 2009-2010 was not the application cycle for me. Follow that up with a rejection from a summer camp job I applied for and you can see how I leaped to these conclusions. My obvious distaste for humankind must be seeping through to all facets of my life because what other explanation is there for human disliking me right back?

I am frustrated beyond belief. I wanted this camp job more than anything else lately. It was going to give me some much needed fulfillment and validation. Right now, I am raversing the fine line between routine and rut. I hoped camp would get me out of both (the rut of my routine) and give me something to look forward to. Make me feel like I was making a difference. Instead, they seem to be throwing salt in my wounds to further remind me how inept I am at life.

The rejections from med schools were character building. They showed me that life doesn't work out as planned. Your character is not defined by how well you plan, but by how well you deal with the kinks in your plan. And right now, my life is looking like a protein. Kink-y.

See? Kinky.

So the question remains, at what point does all this failure stop being character building and start being a sign from on-high that whatever I'm doing is not working?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 666: Mixing luck with the devil

How ironic that the day I get my blogging act together, it happens to be Day 666 of this blog, but also St. Patrick's Day. You've got to love the irony.

Okay, a lot of things have happened since Day 631. My intellectually stunning friend Nicki stopped on by my coast and we spent a lovely week together. We were very low-key about everything but it was still time well-spent. She got to meet my friends, the whole quirkily fabulous lot of them, and hang out with my family (always a hoot). She's absurdly impressive and I can't say enough positive things about her.

Let's see, there has been some pseudo-drama at the lab. My boss was throwing blame everywhere for the most random things. All of which was completely unwarranted but he's the boss so we all kept our mouths shut.

Fun fact: One random day, my boss decided that I am suddenly a capable human being and decided to tell the lab so. We were at a lab meeting and when one of the researchers/post-docs had a lot on his plate, he asked him, "Well, why don't you use Jessica? She can do these things for you." ...I can? Last time I checked, you thought I was an incompetent twit and now I'm capable? My, my. My boss is as flighty as a baby bird in flight.

So, now I'm trying to get my act together. I had a phone interview today for a job I really, really, really want. My friend MK told me my over-expression of wanting to join said-organization may have made me come off as desperate. And I retorted, "Well, how bad is desperation for wanting to work there? It shows I want to be there." To be frank (and you can be George), the interview seemed all right throughout, but after I hung up, I got this nagging feeling that it didn't go my way. It's just a feeling, but I was hoping for good-job-yay-me feelings. Not, huh-I-wonder-if-that-could-have-gone-better feelings. Oh well. I had nothing to lose applying so I'll cross my fingers and toes.

Lastly, I'm baking these days. A ton of stuff. On the agenda tonight is poppy seed lemon cake. I've made croissants (and failed, they ended up tasting like Chinese pancakes rather than croissants). I've made steamed buns and pork-filled steam buns. I've decided if med school doesn't go my way, I'm going to figure out how to open a bakery. You think I jest, but I'm speaking frankly George.

My buns