Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 1890: On yoga

My friend Jess is currently down south (that's what we Californians call southern California) undergoing bikram yoga teacher training. I read this post of hers and was really moved (that sounds way cheesier than I mean for it to) by this phrase:

"Life does not give you ideal conditions.
You have to find the peace regardless."

I feel like I don't talk about peace enough. I mean first of all, the six of you reading this are either family or close friends so I rarely find the need to explain myself/talk about feelings. Secondly, I hate feelings. So, that pretty much covers why I rarely talk about anything remotely personal (that doesn't have to do with me crying in a ball in the corner of my bed after another painful exam week). However, I really wanted to post on this because I feel like that statement has never rung more true for me. (Could I be any more touchy feely?)

My recent decision to try to do more yoga (until about 2-3 weeks ago, the amount of yoga I had done was a big fat donut (ZERO)) has really helped...what's the word I'm looking Calm? Soothe? Assuage? ..."something" me. Here's a better way to describe it.

Photo courtesy of a Google search (Warrior Two).

While doing yoga in my room two weeks ago, I was in Warrior Two, staring beyond my middle finger, focusing on my breathing, maintaining my balance, maintaining my arms and legs, when physiology entered my mind. This previous block was about the respiratory system (breathing, lungs, etc) and as I was focusing on my breathing (in. out.), I couldn't help but start thinking about breathing. Ventilation and perfusion ratios. Oxygen-hemoglobin dissociation curves. Other boring science stuff. And at some point, it just went away. I can't remember if I willed it away or if it just faded away, but at some point, I was able (for at least five minutes) to just breathe.

And it was a glorious moment of respiration. After that day's practice (oh my gosh, shut up Jessica. You're not a yogi, you just do yoga), I felt really rejuvenated. If I had to put it into words, I would have to say that, finding my way back to yoga has in a very strange way helped me find a way back to believing in myself. I guarantee that a large part of my success this last block was because I reverted to my old "fake it 'til you make it" ways. This entire time I kept saying I was great, when I didn't fully believe it, and I suppose (again, in some very strange way) yoga helped me remember that I am actually great. (Tone down the modesty there Jess)

Okay okay, enough storytelling. The point of this entire post was that Jess' statement of life being un-ideal and having to find peace in the middle of chaos is an absolutely perfect description of where I am right now. My life as a first year medical student has really pushed me in ways I didn't think I could be pushed. I haven't felt this doubtful of myself in many moons so to be here again is...confounding. Uncomfortable. And very much unwanted. However, the silver lining of all of this is that, finally, in block 7 (out of 8 for the academic year), I found a way to be confident again.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Day 1888: Florence + the Machine

An absolutely amazing experience!

I should let you all know, because Danny's middle name is "vain," he took most of these pictures. Apparently him being 5'9" is most evident at standing-room-only concerts when I am this tall and he is obviously way taller.

Also, what I love about this show was, I got to hear Flo speak. She has this very timid, quiet, almost shy voice. And then she sings. And then you get completely bowled over by the sheer power and magnitude of her voice and stage presence. AMAZING NIGHT!

Pre-concert! Danny forgot my (new) camera flashes twice.
Hence his confused eyes position.

Danny was amazing! He lifted me on his shoulders so that I could be raised up, as the song "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)" (and Florence for that matter) tells you to do!

During "Dog Days Are Over"

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 1885: On exercise

If you know my father, then you will know that one of the main things he stresses to me is that I exercise. He says it will help me relax and help clear my mind and other things that med students probably need. Well, he's right. I make it a regular habit to exercise at least half-an-hour each day and it makes such a huge difference to my focus and just my body in general.

Because, here it goes...out the strangest of all cases, I have managed to lose weight since moving to Wisconsin. I mean, let's be real here people. Who loses weight when they move to the land of cows and cheese? Apparently this girl. And it should be known that I eat more burgers, fries, cheese and other not-so-good-for-you things than I ever have before. Granted, that's also petered with oatmeal, salads, and sauteed-vegetable-and-egg concoctions so I guess there's some rub with your...whatever the saying is involving "there's the rub."

I was talking to Danny about it and he thought that perhaps my weight loss was due to the fact that in a world of information-overload, where I am learning absurd amounts of information every day, taking the 30 minutes to exercise is the one thing I can control. So, as the control freak I am, I do. I do yoga. Or I run. Or I do some Nike Training Club workout (perky butt! Abs! Toned arms!). Basically, carving out an hour (tops) to work out is something that I make sure I do because in all of this information overload, exercise is the one time that I actually cannot think about science. And granted, that's only semi-true because on my run yesterday I was thinking about how once I hit about 50% of my maximum oxygen consumption, my heart beats faster (instead of just increasing stroke volume aka increasing the amount of blood that flows to my body) to get O2 to my body. But anyway, that's neither here nor there.

Don't worry everyone. I'm sure once this post goes live, I will officially start gaining all my weight back. Oh goody. Just in time for summer! Pools! Bikinis! Sun! Oh my!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 1884: No title at hand.

As stated, I just felt like blogging, but there isn't much to blog about. I rocked my cell tissue exam out and directly afterwards called my father, mother and sister (in that order) to gossip about how smart I am. Isn't this such a nice change? Confident Jess instead of doubtful/scared/dumb Jess?

Anyway, I had such a relaxing weekend. I cleaned (which was sheer bliss), I shopped (mainly for other people, but that's nice too!), I hung out. It was so nice to just be, instead of freaking out about the impending block because I need to do well. I had all this vigor coming into this week and for some strange reason, it didn't translate well to Monday. I went to bed late Sunday night and then woke up at 8:45 and then come 2-o'-clock in the afternoon, I fell asleep for four hours on my couch while attempting to read neuroscience. Luckily, I went to bed at midnight last night and woke up at 7:45 this morning to go for a run and it's been a decently productive day thusfar.

This is a bit of a boring everyday post, but at least it's a post, right?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 1880: It's over!

Quick note, exam week is over! Thank heavens. I needed this week to go well and I have been pleased with the results.

Now, onto fun picture posts! Danny was a wonderful beau who took me out to see Rodrigo y Gabriela last Friday (the 13th, bum buh buuummm). And I have to tell you, it was a marvelous Friday the 13th! It began with seeing each other after a week apart (oh boo hoo, right? haha) so that I could focus on studying. We ran some errands where Danny bought me this amazing pullover. All a complete surprise, shock and utter joy! I am completely in love with it. I wear it every second I can! Seriously!

Next, we ate at Henry's Pub (where we had this delicious burger), which in and of itself was a sheer miracle. Long story short, Danny and I tried going there TWICE one day and never actually got to eat there. So, the fact that we got in, they were open, there was no surly bartender serving us and the food was actually quite delicious -- all good things!

Next, we headed on over to the show. Rodrigo y Gabriela rocked. my. world! They were just fantastic! The entire show was so entertaining and full of energy! I was astounded that our fellow concert-goers were just sitting there idly. I was tapping my feet, clapping my heads, bopping my head, dancing in my seat -- they were just so magical! Pictures below.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 1879: Penguins

Don't ask how penguins came about, but do ask how you lived your life without knowing penguins held fins. SO CUTE.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Day 1878: Good news, for once!


So, my neuroscience exam on Monday went decently. I killed the exam portion but the lab portion came straight out of left field so I didn't do as well because of it. And you know what? I was 110% okay with that. The lecture portion of exams and exam-taking itself have been a true struggle for me these past 8 months and it is nice to know that, for once, I owned the exam portion. I had to close my eyes and breathe a couple of times, while reminding myself that a) I know this and b) I just have to trust myself and my gut, but it was all quite worth it in the end. The score didn't match my knowledge (yet again), but definitely not to the same degree of discrepancy.

Onto the "WHEEEEEEEEEE!" -- I got an 89 on my physiology test! For someone that has been struggling on her last two exams, an 89 is a freaking synonym-for-godsend! Danny has been telling me for months that he believes in me and knows I can do it and it took some good old fake-it-'til-you-make-it to get me to that point where I am actually starting to believe that I can do it. I know, I know. What have you been doing these past eight months, Jess, if not doing it? And to that I would have to say, barely surviving. I have to tell you what a great motivation this is. I mean, not at the moment for my cell tissue biology exam on Friday, but in general. I feel very confident that I am going to do well on my final exams for physiology and neuroscience. Not without hours upon hours of preparation and studying, but I plan to do what it takes to succeed and believe in myself to the absolute fullest.

Yay for good news! And yay to Jess for making it through her first day of bikram yoga teacher training!

More posts on the way!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day 1872: Motivation

The current image on my desktop.

From here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Day 1871: Things that keep me sane/help me procrastinate.

This game is absurdly fun.

I had this game downloaded on my phone ages ago but I had no one to play with.
Enter the best friend and this recent announcement that it is available on Android.
Hello, invites!

Another game I play with my best friend.
Danny says I'm obsessed with this game (I am).

Day 1871: Happy April 11th!

Yes, it is April 11th. What makes it so special? Uh, hello! 4-1-1. Today is the day I am going to cram information into my petite little brain. (Fuuunn fact, I made up this entire statement but it sounded pretty natural, non?)

Anyhoo, I had a very strange Tuesday (April 10th). I learned stuff in neuroscience, then had to perform my medical interview (have I told you all about this class? It is a class where we have a standardized patient (aka an actor who has a script to follow about their medical symptoms (i.e., back pain) but can act it out however they want (i.e., screaming in pain or just sort make achey-looking-faces)) and we have to interview them...kind of like real life), then was critiqued more than my fellow classmate who also interviewed the same standardized patient/actor (which set me off to a weird mood), then fell asleep in a study room that had the heat blasting, and then woke up in a very strange state. I woke up feeling very very anxious. And generally fuzzy. And completely not with it. I then had to study a tad, then go to Spanish (where I was late because I forgot seventy-five different things) where I was completamente unfocused-ado, then I ate my paltry meal for the day because I have not gone grocery shopping yet this month (paltry = 3 carrots, hummus, greek yogurt + strawberry preserves, SunChips I bought from the vending machine), and then I was still in a weird unfocused mood. After talking to Dannykins, where I was still in a terrible mood, I finally, slowly, near the end of our conversation, got my sh!t together.

So, I bailed on working out because I was feeling sleepy and wanted to get a good night's rest so that I could attack 4/11 with a ton of 4-1-1, and instead, I have found some weird second wind and am still awake. I refuse to thwart this streak of learning, so...I'm not sure what I am going to learn right now but I am going to learn something. I'm sure this will mess with me tomorrow but. BUT! The mind is mightier than the body so I am going to try this willing thing people talk about and I am going to will myself into staying awake/learning/exercising/learning more/not dying from information overload.

Sounds fun, eh?

P.S., this intensity for the Day of Information is because I have exams next case you couldn't figure it out from the sheer everywhere-ness of this post.


P.P.S., expect some picture posts soon. Words are so boring.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Day 1861: Happy April Fool's!

Darling Jess, thanks for the push to update, haha.

My roommate's parents are currently in the living room hanging out with my roommate so I can't really study. Thus, a blog post.

WARNING. This will be a long post. Try to keep up ;)

Shadowing: My mentor is an ophthalmologist. The different between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist (who both look at eyes), is that my mentor can perform (laser) surgery. Being an ophthalmologist doesn't seem too strenuous, which could be good later in life. However, one of the most surprising things to me regarding the patient population is how common diabetes is in her patients. Diabetes, so what? Well, she stresses the need for her patients to take care of their blood sugar because diabetes can cause increased pressure on your eyes and you can imagine the bad effect that can have. Overall, it's been a really great experience thus far. My mentor is great and I am really enjoying the clinical exposure!

School: Le snooze. The schedule for the last two blocks is much easier than it has been. I am really not enjoying school lately because I understand the material and feel all smart and crap when I learn, but it is painfully obvious that I am a terrible test taker. I doubt my gut or I think too much about the question or, worst of all, I rationalize myself into the wrong answer. I know none of you ever respond, which is fine, but I am asking sincerely for any input you all have about test-taking. No joke, I got five questions wrong on my last physiology exam because I changed my answer from the right one to the wrong one. UGH!

In other news, I am taking a Spanish medical course. It's a completely voluntary thing. I have class twice a week, 90 minutes each, and I learn more medically-oriented things in Spanish. So, things like vocabulary and learning how to conduct a medical interview in Spanish. It's pretty sweet. And I'm enjoying it a lot. I forgot how much I miss Spanish.

Okay! The roommate (and her parents) have left! TIME TO FINALLY GET STUDYING!

Talk soon! PROMISE.