Monday, May 28, 2012

Day 1919: I had to post! What a fun number!

Hi everyone,

I am off to Los Angeles to meet my family in the airport, and then it is off to Venezia! We have a 7-hour layover in London so my Mom (ever the amazing woman) has planned a few excursions into London. Fun!

I have a few posts scheduled since a) it's summer so I had time to actually write some posts and b) expect to have lots of stories and pictures and posts when I return.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 1915: The end!


I am abso-frickin-lutely stoked for the end of this year. The exam was longer than the 1000m run, but I finished. Thank baby Ganesh. Exam results will be up soon so expect some news on that.

I thought, since I finally have time, I would write a substantial post about this year. So here it goes.

This year has brought me a lot of ups and downs. With the first down being two days after moving to Milwaukee, where I bawled to my mother and Danny that I couldn't find a way to get my newly purchased queen bed to my actual apartment building. Then there were the many cries of biochemistry. Then my poor (and I mean poor) exam scores in the first block of semester two. Lots of downs, that seemed to out-measure the ups -- my first boyfriend! (He's swell.) Meeting some really great people who will probably be in my life forever. My own life here in Milwaukee. All in all though, this year is summed up in three words, "I did it." But not without a lot of self-examination, hard work, and tears galore.

Up until about two months ago, my entire academic year had been a bit of a wash. What I mean is, I kind of just pitter-pattered along, getting passing grades, because honestly, P = MD. Then, when the P was not coming as easily, and I was truly in trouble, I was scared. Out of my mind. Europe was booked at the end of spring break/mid-March. I was honestly so unsure about my academic status that I feared I wouldn't be able to go on, much less enjoy, the trip because I might have to remediate a course. That's how serious things were. I'm not sure how it happened, or who helped me get there (definitely the family and the beau), but I just have to thank each and every one of you (dear readers) for being here for me.

I know I don't talk in depth about the bad stuff that happens to me, but it should be known that this year was a struggle. I always knew (somewhere, at least for biochem) that I would be okay. I managed to pass biochem (I got a 70.1 and the cut-off for a C/Pass was a 70. Very close, I know.) and I just thought that this semester would be better/more interesting/etc. And it was better and more interesting, but with all of that came a lot more information and a lot more work. Work that I just wasn't truly willing to put the time in to.

I keep saying "if I had just figured this out, I could have been doing well all along," but Danny (and I know I just posted about this) really brought up a great point. My failure was the only thing that could have enough power to drive me to do well. And not well, but really-freaking-good well.

To end this long post, I want to tell you all a big secret. I came into this MD program with the attitude of "well, why not?" I thought, I could be a doctor (I mean, I'm in the program, am I not?), but I never actually considered I would. Does that make sense? I say a lot, "IF I'm a doctor, IF I make it through" and my neighbor is actually the one who put it best, "no way girl. You're in it already. You are going to BE a doctor."And you know what? He's right. I will be a doctor.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 1913: Student status.

It's nice when you can use your medical student status to do things.
  1. Connect people with medical issues/questions to actual doctors in that field.
  2. Buy a sweet suit (jacket, pants and skirt) from J. Crew with your 15% student discount. Holler.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 1912: One more exam, then family vacation!

Jessica is done with 8 out of 9 of her first year medical courses!

Today's neuro exam went well...I think. All I know is I did the best that I could and we'll see how that worked out for me. Check back tonight for exam results! Results are in! 88%! That's more than what I needed to make sure I passed the class. Apparently, hard work is all it takes to do well on exams, haha. Yippee!

What I really want to tell you about is my upcoming family vacation. You've met them, yes?

We're a crazy, hysterical bunch of little Asian people and I love my family to death. Anyhoo, since it is my last summer ever, we are going on a vacation! In one week! To Italy and Greece!

Cinque Terre/Manarola, Italy
Since I was the one who planned the itinerary (while in school, no less)
I made sure to include this beautiful city on our trip!

Santorini, Greece
My sister has wanted to go here since high school so this is
going to be a huge treat for her! And hello! Gorgeous!

I know, I know, I am incredibly lucky. I probably should have posted about this sooner so that you could all give me your recommendations, but alas, I've just been so reticent about talking about this vacation because then I seem so spoiled to be vacationing in Europe, blah blah blah. You know what people. This is my last summer. My parents work absurdly hard for every penny they have. My sister actually has time to go. Lots of things came together for this vacation and I cannot be more excited. Well, I could be, but that's because I have one more pesky final exam. Physiology. Four hours. 137 questions. Oh joy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 1907: Two down, two to go.

Ladies and gentlemen, Jessica is two exams away from finishing her first year of medical school. !!!

My medical interview final was not what I heard it would be, but was totally fine. Hypertension and a 3-generation family history. Done-zo.

Today was my last exam for Cell & Tissue Biology (CTB). You should know, I absolutely annihilated it. 91 on the lab exam and 96 on the lecture exam.  I have to say, this class was actually pretty easy, which explains it's 78% pass score. (A "B" is an 85.5%!) I wish I had my act together in block 1 of this semester because this entire semester has been me working my butt off to compensate for my crappy first exam scores. I could have done really well (in this class) this semester!

Oh well. As Danny likes to point out, I got my act together pretty late in the game, but at least I got it together. And! Knowing what I need to succeed will mean that I will succeed next year.

Here are some fun pictures from my day:

Look what my sister sent me! A frame and self-made bracelets!

This was my reward. There is cheese inside the burger!

Okay kids, I've got to start studying neuro. The CTB exam ended at 11 and I've been doing random things since (getting clothes hemmed, making food, getting my laundry together, cleaning, tidying) so this is the last of my procrastination!

Until next time!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 1904: Don't be mad.

This is the last post you will be reading for the next week or so.

I have my medical interviewing final on Wednesday, a cell tissue biology exam on Thursday and then my neuroscience and physiology finals next week.

If I blog in that time frame, don't begrudge me for not studying. I'm sure a 20-minute-blog-break is not going to kill me. And, let's all be grateful I am updating this blog and not perusing Just Jared or or other true time-wasters.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 1900(!): Summer To-Dos

Hello all. I wasn't planning on posting this until later, but today is Day 1900 of this blog and my journey. I just had to write something!

Whilst perusing one of my favorite blogs today, I saw that she wrote a little summer to-do list. I think this is an absolutely wonderful idea. Mainly because, as a medical student, this is my last summer. EVER. (Next summer I have my first board exams and then rotations begin in July, and then it's doctor-dom all day every day after that.) Here we go!

Summer 2012 To-Do List

Image taken from 9to5Chic
  1. Visit the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco (see image above).
  2. Learn how to use my new paparazzi-ing friends, family and sights.
  3. Visit people! Like my best friend in Indiana!
  4. Be outside more -- eating, walking, anything.
  5. Tailgate (something I've never done!) before a baseball game.
  6. Study a little bit for boards. (Only a little! It's summer!)
  7. Explore Milwaukee! Like the Third Ward, for example.
  8. Whittle down my closet.
  9. Books. Read some. Re-read some.
  10. Play tennis! (Danny wants to, so there's a guaranteed partner.)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day 1898: The end of the Wordpress conversion.

 In an attempt to convert this blog to Wordpress, I ended up deleting the domain name FOREVER.

Here is the background, I have liked Wordpress for quite some time now and have constantly considered switching over. I decided today was the day to try the conversion. However, when I converted all of these posts over to Wordpress, they looked funny. After finagling with it for an hour, I decided that it wasn't looking right and I would deal with it another time. So, I thought I would delete it. What I wasn't fully reading was that by deleting blog and the domain name, I was, well, deleting the domain name. Now, if I ever want to convert this blog to Wordpress, I will have to either hyphenate it or purchase the domain for $18/year.



I suppose it doesn't really make sense to convert or purchase a domain name anyway. I will be a doctor in three years time and then what will happen after that? No more "on to," just a regular MD!

Okay, good logic, team. Good logic.

Day 1898: My home!

Before I forget, do you all like the fun little additions I have put on this blog? I realized while writing yesterday's post that I couldn't remember where I posted about my previous shadowing experience. Thus, a search bar was born.

And a fun translate button so that my parents (and maybe my family in Taiwan if my Dad has forwarded this link to them?) can actually comprehend most of what I write. I tend to write from my brain and it's very convoluted in there so who knows if any of the English I write actually makes sense. Et, un translator!

BUT. On to the fun!

I can't remember if I've shown you all where I live. I don't plan on suddenly giving you the big tour today. What I am going to show you is all the new things I have recently procured to make my room more homey and fashion-forward.

A new lamp to provide 1) more light, 2) more fun!
(I don't know why it looks so distorted in this picture)

New duvet cover! Loud and bright -- like me!

Fun switch plate. It's the little details people!

A candle to provide yummy smelling ambiance.
The weird lamp on the right is a fun star projector!

A fun gallery wall with Lucy, a recently acquired Florence
poster and a fun illustration from a blogger I like.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 1897: The last

Oh hi. This is way belated.

However. I wanted to talk about my last shadowing session.

As a review, the mentor that my medical assigned me is an ophthalmologist. It was the usual shadowing session -- lots of wet/dry macular degeneration (macular degeneration is when the center part of your vision (where you see most everything) begins to deteriorate. The difference between wet and dry is, wet means you develop new blood vessels in that area which hurts your vision more. With dry macular degeneration, that means you are developing things under a layer of cells and the only thing to do with dry macular degeneration is to prevent it from becoming "wet"). However, there were some cool interesting cases but all in all, a pretty standard day.

My mentor and I chit-chatted at the end of the session and she asked if she had convinced me to go into ophthalmology. I told her I find it interesting and her lifestyle seems like a good deal but I was still unsure. Then she asked about my summer plans and I told her about an upcoming family vacation (I know, I know, I haven't told any of you about it yet), a possible externship I am applying for (basically a paid internship away from my medical school) and anything not research related. She was very nice and supportive but told me that if I did ever get truly interested in ophthalmology, I should do research. "Ophthalmology is a competitive field and it will give you an edge."

... uh... thanks? Can someone explain to me, how is it that if 100 (out of 200) of my peers are doing research, that me doing research will somehow give me an edge? Either way, I have my post-undergrad research and if anything ever comes of it (hard to say if a paper with my name will ever arise, to be frank), then all the power to me. If not, I'm going to be a doctor either way so I'm not terribly worried about whether or not I have research on my resume/CV.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 1895: A crazy Cinco de Mayo thus far

Hey all, I volunteered at Saturday Free Clinic today. And let me tell you, was it a day or what?

Long story short, I saw some very interesting patients today. I'm not sure how much detail I can get into without getting myself in a lot of trouble, so let me say this.

My first patient was intersexed, and my second patient had a whole string of issues (diabetes being one of them) and was just trying to see if all his/her medications were a) necessary and b) more affordable.

I wish this post could be more interesting, but I feel like the previous paragraph set up an idea for how crazy my day was.

And happy Cinco de Mayo (aka fake American-made holiday for Mexico/Mexicans) but a definite happy birthday to my pal M (who doesn't actually read this blog but it's fun to shout out birthdays, non?)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Day 1891: Happy May Day!

Hola todos! Today was the day of my Medical Spanish final. The final is comprised of conducting a medical interview, in Spanish. People. I have enough trouble conducting a medical interview in English (and remembering all the questions to ask). In what universe do you think I can perform one in Spanish?!

Luckily, they were swell peeps and they told us the six possible cases we would encounter:
  1. Back pain / el dolor de la espalda
  2. Hypertension / la hipertensiĆ³n
  3. Depression / la depresiĆ³n
  4. Abdominal pain / el dolor del abdomen
  5. Asthma / el asma
  6. Diabetes / la diabetes
My main preparatory concern was vocabulary. Luckily, they allowed us to bring in a 3x5 index card with whatever we wanted. I ended up being lazy and not even bringing a card. It worked out because I got a fairly easy case -- asthma! I think my unnecessary stress about this actually showed me two things. 1) They prepared us pretty darn well for this final. We had already gone over a lot of it in the previous four weeks of classes. 2) I stress out about things I don't need to stress out about. El caso de asma fue facil!

Oh, before I forget, the final also involved food! Delicious, delicious food of Spanish-speaking countries! Tamales! Corn tortillas with pork/chicken and guacamole and salsa and all the accoutrements! Churros! There was so much food (and of course I ate so much) that they sent us home with some. Way more for me than anyone else! (See below.) Food and a final. You know, I would be much more okay with final exams if there was food involved :)

Yes, that is an entire package of tamales I get to take home!