Author Archives: Milie Fang, Biological Sciences / Pre-medicine

About Milie Fang, Biological Sciences / Pre-medicine

I am a senior and an acclaimed workaholic. While I like to keep busy academically, I really enjoy the simple pleasures of hanging out with friends and family, playing video games, or listening to music. When life seems to go well, allergies and eczema like to butt in and make me miserable. I hope to go into medicine so that I can have a better understanding of skin and the immune system to help myself, and to also help others facing the same problems I have faced since I was three.

One more month until the MCAT, the second time around

I lied on my last post. I ended up not cramming the physical sciences sections that weekend. Working at Rush and coming home around 7 PM on those evenings is almost as bad as working the 5 PM – 2 AM shifts because I’m just dead tired and unable to complete anything. Let’s hear it for super cramming!

UIC Strike

I was working at the Writing Center during the Tuesday Strike. It was pretty awesome watching the union come together to do this, even though I didn't get a direct benefit as most of my peers did (none of my classes got cancelled, lol!). I haven't followed up on the progress of their negotiations, but if anyone knows feel free to chime in!

I wrote a post similarly titled to this one when it was a month prior to my test. Can’t recall the details, but I am feeling the anxiety, stress and freaking out that I wasn’t feeling as much before (and to a scale that is not that bad compared to 2 years ago with being sick and upset all the time; glad that’s over!). I am surprisingly still calm, just disappointed I didn’t push myself more during the semester as planned. I think it’s because of where I am studying…I find myself getting the most work done during the day in those few hours I have before classes or before the Writing Center closes (that’s my designated hang out spot to study and converse with awesome people). When I’m at home back in my residence hall, I just can’t focus. It shouldn’t be that hard, but I get up every 10 minutes to move around and go to the refrigerator, or use the restroom, or check my email, or rub my eyes because I just can’t think anymore (thereby irritating my eczema…).

Supporting the Strike

The Jane Addams Hull House was where the union's headquarters were. I grabbed a button, a blue sleeve and a ribbon to show my support! (:

I should probably use the study rooms in MRH because they’re super awesome and quiet, but the nice, comforting and warm bedroom is too good to resist! Sometimes I even dayrdream about sleeping in my bed because I haven’t had a good sleep in awhile (always have to wake up around 7 AM or 8 AM…go to bed by 12 AM or 12:30 AM, repeat). I really hope these next few weeks pass and I’m fully prepared for what’s coming. I’m going to focus on taking the AAMC practice tests and review them as much as possible. I have lots of other exams to worry about in the meantime, like Polish (1 exam every 2 weeks) and genetics. My anatomy and physiology exam is the week of my MCAT…so that kind of sucks, haha! At least my mind will be MCAT free for a bit, if that’s at all a good thing (test prep companies recommend a break so I guess that will have the count). The nice thing I can look forward to is spring break. I purposely chose this date so that I could enjoy my spring break by working and not thinking about the MCAT (but rather the other parts of my application). If it doesn’t go well, it’s not a bad thing. I will just have to restudy and try again.

Snowy days

While the snow is transiently melting (hopefully will be gone for good), the brisk cold still stays here. I took this photo maybe 2-3 weeks ago. It's amazing how drastic the weather changes here. Nothing like Chicago.

Don’t give up on your dreams! It doesn’t hurt to give something a few tries before evaluating if you want to change your path. I think persistence goes a long way to achieving what it is you want to so. Motivation helps along the way as well, especially personal motivation. If you really want to do something, well, you’ll do it.

Keep alive and well UIC!

Cram Party

The rush is over (for a limited time only)! I won’t have another anatomy and physiology exam until 5 weeks from now so I can lay off studying intensely for that. Polish is getting a wee bit harder since I got a B on my second exam (I wonder who got an A because it was really tricky!). If I paid attention more to the plural/singular nominative cases I probably could have done better, but oh well I’ll just have to study and do better on the next one. The next thing looming over me now is my first genetics lab exam (next week!). The quizzes have been stupendously easy, but our TA tells us the exam is more like the problem sets in our textbook, which we have not needed to show we’ve done (and I doubt anyone else has done them except for maybe the first week of class). Well, time to pull out that syllabus and go through every question over and over because if that’s what is going to be on the test, I better study ASAP!

MCAT studying is getting better. I finally motivated myself to stop looking at my calendar and look at my progress in terms of how many sections I still have to review (and it’s a lot). So, I crammed 10 sections of physical sciences this past weekend while scribing 9am-6pm at Rush both Saturday and Sunday. I wanted to take another practice MCAT, but I felt that I should save it for when it is closer to my exam date (it’s coming so soon!). I’m studying little by little each day and hoping for the best. I have a lot to review, but I badly want to rush through the material so that I can focus more on taking tests and all that jazz. I am REALLY determined not to move my test to a later date. However, if my second practice exam is not near what I got on the previous one, I may need to rethink my plans.

Who knew cramming would be so helpful during these stressful months? I mean, I know I crammed for the majority of my exams in college — but somehow I made it out all right. I suppose I just feel more comfortable this way now, and at this time it suits my needs. If I can make it out with straight A’s this semester (and get the Fulbright ETA position in Taiwan!), I’d say nothing is truly impossible.

Too many meetings, exams and quizzes

Normally, I’d look forward to my weekends. For one, I wouldn’t have to work. Two, I could catch up on studying and homework that I badly need to do for each of my classes and MCAT. And three, I can effectively plan for the future during this time (like if I need to plan an event for my pre-medical club, etc).

Well, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to enjoy the weekends, especially this month. I mean, it should have been worst last semester when I started the ER scribe job (those 5pm-2am shifts were definitely something to get used to and I can’t afford to do those at this time), but after hording almost all of the weekend 9am-6pm shifts just to meet my minimum of 8 shifts per month…I’m kind of toast with managing my time to fit every need that I hold. I have only been able to go to research once a week for only like 4-6 hours…barely going to my campus housing job as I am doing only as needed basis (they’re so amazing with flexibility, thank you Campus Housing)…I consistently go tutor and work at the desk at the Writing Center, which has provided me relief and stress at times (the stress comes from me lolly-gagging during my few moments of free time with colleagues when I could spend it locked up in a cubicle studying for MCAT and my other classes)…and here I am trying to blog so that I can rant and still stay sane throughout all of this.

Well, looks like my break will truly come post-MCAT. I took a practice test this past Sunday and I told myself if I get the same score or lower than what I did on the real thing, I’d move my test to April or May. Well, to my surprise I scored 4 points higher than what I got on the real thing…so I decided to keep the date! I can’t tell if I scored high because I took the test before (it was one time and in May or June 2013…and I only went over the test once) or if my brain was actually thinking in the correct manner to help me score well. Perhaps it was both that contributed…but we’ll see how I do on my next practice test! It definitely gave me a HUGE boost of confidence and showed me what areas I desperately need to improve on (physics and chemistry…math is not my thing). So, instead of studying a different subject each day like I was doing, I’m just cramming all the physics and general chemistry topics this week and the next and then hopefully  once I hit biology and organic chemistry it’ll be easier (verbal is a crapshoot so I’m not even going to bother even though it was my lowest score on the real thing…but only by one point compared to the other subjects…).

Ah, well I am hoping for the best. It’s difficult to study for the MCAT when you’ve got to attend a gazillion, million meetings and study for anatomy and physiology or Polish (if only I was a native speaker I could sleep through the class…but I’m totally not!!!). I have weekly quizzes for anatomy and physiology and 2 quizzes a week for genetics lab. Let me tell you, they’re easy, but super annoying to study for! I don’t mind doing all the homework and quizzes, but with the MCAT looming over my head and all this pressure of needing to be in a million places at once has got me in pieces.

Luckily, my brain and heart are still keeping me alive, one day at a time. That is really the key to keeping your sanity. When I open my Google calendar and see my schedule, it makes me want to bang my head against the table. But instead of moving around stuff and pushing things back even more like I normally do in my scary panic mode of trying to make things work out, I just use the time I would normally spend panicking with actually doing what I planned! Whether it’s studying, attending meetings or writing this blog…the work gets done efficiently with this pressure.

Too bad my skin isn’t cooperating very well, especially around my eyes…but I’ll save that for another time because all I want to do is sleep and dream MCAT success at this point (but I have an exam in anatomy and physiology looming so I better dream about that too).

And this cold weather isn’t helping the mood…ah well what do you expect? Struggles are here for a purpose and you just got to keep moving forward.

Best,

Milie

A handle on this

I recently received an email regarding my Fulbright scholarship status, and I was recommended for a grant! I’m so happy, even though I still don’t know if I actually got the grant yet (but now I know I am so much closer than I was before!). I remember I started working on my application near the end of the summer of last year and thought I’d be done right before school with it, but I was totally wrong! I probably went through at least ten drafts each of my personal statement and statement of grant purpose with many visits to the Writing Center and the amazing Beth Powers (if you haven’t met her yet, you absolutely must!). I worked right up until the due date (October 15), so in total that was a good 3 months of preparation.

I will keep you posted on the final decisions made by the host country, but I probably won’t hear back until late April or May. It’s grueling to wait, but in the meantime I’ve got to focus on studying for this mother-loving MCAT! I am terribly behind in my studies for it secondary to my scribe job, research, tons of quizzes and homework each day for all of my classes (it’s unreal), duties for the clubs I am a part of and my other jobs I dabble in (and I must say I do not regret keeping the Writing Center as part of my daily  routine! Tutoring has been so wonderful.).

Well, you  can see where my time goes, and unfortunately if I want to keep up my grades, MCAT studying will have to suffer a bit again. I know it’s my main priority (everything else for my application is great per the pre-health advisors…just need that nice high score), but I feel compelled to not put it there. It’s like the only thing standing in my way of pursuing an MD/PhD! >:O GRRRR. My parents even told me last semester that I should just take genetics lab only and quit all my jobs so I can spend like 10+ hours studying each day and beast on the MCAT.

But, I can’t torture myself like that. I’ll probably kill myself first (and my mom thinks the opposite–she thinks I’ll kill myself with my scribe job, although hilariously I counter her comment by saying at least I’ll be in the ER when it happens and hopefully they can save me beforehand). I hate giving things up (for obvious reasons, those things make me happy…and MCAT does not make me happy). I should really change my mentality on this test since it’s so important, but with how I am right now I can’t help but be negative at this moment in time.

On the bright side, I got an A on my first Polish test last week and I have been getting perfects on my genetic lab quizzes. Anatomy and physiology is decent…I’m definitely going to cram the week of the exam, which is coming pretty soon! I am also getting my premedical club back into gear with speakers, events and such. I hope I can attend more meetings with the committees that we have, but priority should be MCAT so we’ll see. ><

Research is going well too! My cousin has been shadowing me and improving his pipetting skills. Hopefully once I graduate he can take over my work and carry on the legacy! LOL just kidding (but seriously dude, don’t mess up). No pressure, haha.

I also need to think about starting my Honors Capstone thesis! It’s due at the end of the semester, but I will be presenting at the UIC Student Research Forum in April and need to have an abstract submitted before spring break. It’s totally doable, but again that cuts out of MCAT studying time if I am still aiming for the March 22 date. Something tells me March 22 isn’t going to work out, but for now I am keeping an optimistic tone and striving to take it that day so I can enjoy my spring break and worry about finishing touches on my personal statement.

I can’t believe it’s only the fourth week and so many things are happening and so many things need to be done within a short period of time. This is really what cramming / college is all about! Thank goodness we are adaptable creatures! Appreciation, for sure. Happy February everyone!

I can hear!

For the past week I could not hear out of my left ear. I didn’t have any pain, but it was definitely like someone stuck a cork in it as it was muffled whenever someone spoke. The second day of having it, I was working in the ER and kindly asked the doctor at the end of the shift if they could take a peek at my ear. Turns out it was just a bunch of earwax (sorry if that grosses anyone out)! Relieved it wasn’t as serious as I thought it might have been, I got some over the counter medication at the UIC Pharmacy to see if that would help clear it. Well, four days passed and it didn’t help, so I made an appointment at the Family Medicine Center at UIC and thankfully got an appointment an hour after I walked in (although they didn’t see me until one hour after because they had two patients in front of me, which I totally understand why I have to wait so long since I see it frequently happen in the ER!). They put hydrogen peroxide in my ear and wow did it bubble and fizz! I was totally worried my ear was eroding too, haha! After that, the nurse irrigated it with a syringe and blasted my ear. I don’t think I ever had that much pressure on my ear drums, but whamo I could hear out of my left ear again! XD Now that it’s clear of earwax, everything feels so much more amplified in that ear. I asked about my right ear and how to clean it (avoid q-tips everyone, as tempting as it is) and the doctor told me to use a bulb and squirt warm water like once or twice a year (not once a week or once a month!!!). I guess our ears can take care of themselves, but my ears are tiny so I can see how I’d have more frequent problems!

The doctor also told me that people of Asian descent have dry wax and African Americans and Europeans have wet wax. Isn’t that weird?! I’m taking genetics and it’s really cool how we’re all made up of. We did a lab on mitosis and meiosis, which normally I’m like “ehhhh” but it’s pretty cool how all of our cells divide and die…it’s almost like we’re reborn every few moments (or we die every few moments if you want to think of it that way).

These regulatory mechanisms our bodies use are incredible! In anatomy and physiology, I finally got to see a human face…although I wasn’t expecting the face to be split in half and hanging. They didn’t give us much warning, haha. Anyway, we’re studying the visual and auditory systems, including the mechanisms of how they transmit information to the brain and the anatomy of how it all works! The malleus, incus and stapes bones in our ear are SO TINY! They looked like bug exoskeletons (I received a tiny jar of them as a gift from someone I met in Taiwan and never realized they were bug exoskeletons…at least the bow/ribbon around the jar was cute). Man, there’s so much to know about the body (and scientists have discovered a lot already…but more to understand)….it makes me really excited to pursue an MD/PhD!

I’m doing my best to restudy for the MCAT on top of my part-time jobs and running organizations, but as the test date comes closer and closer I’m starting to think I need to shut everything out for all of February and March! We’ll see how things go…I may or may not have to move the test date, but I badly do not want to. However, being ready for the test is immensely crucial and if it takes me a longer time to study so that I can ensure success, it will definitely be worth it!

I know it’s only the third week of class, but it’ll be final exams in a blink of an eye before you know it! Stay safe and warm UIC! (:

The little wins

I’m a fan of the little wins we have each day, like helping out another classmate get to their next class or getting through a chapter in a textbook. Perhaps insignificant on surface level, but each time we perform these “little” acts, I can’t help but feel good about myself and hope for the future. Even replying an email can feel fulfilling. In general, just getting work done feels awesome. It’s exhausting and probably not worth it in the long run, but that’s just our transient mind talking..

I’m listening to some old tracks ranging from the first year of college to back in junior high and it got me thinking. We might forget these “little” wins, but if it ever does arise or come back in the future, you won’t ever fully forget ‘em. It might be the music talking to me, but each time I hear a song, I always link it to the moment that resonated the most with  me at the time I heard that song (especially if it’s a song I badly needed during a dark time). Even R. Kelly’s voice brings a light to my face (popping fresh out the kitchen). I hope these artists know how much their music means to their fans and haters!

All right, what’s new with me…well besides getting killed with all my obligations, not much. So far, Polish has been doing pretty well. I’m surprised I still remember so much, but there’s still a lot to improve on like listening and responding. I get practice during class, but I’m not good at responding on the spot! Genetics is pretty fun. I am really happy I chose biological sciences as my major. (:

Anatomy and physiology II has been fun as well! We are studying the brain and special sensory systems like visual-auditory. Not a fan of the smell, but not the first time I’ve had awful fumes enter my nares. Hopefully by the time I am 90, a better treatment for cancer will be around. Research has been good but I haven’t been in for awhile. I gave a presentation on the background of my research project a few weeks ago so that was really good! It helped me understand more thoroughly my own study and how I generated this chronic wound diabetic environment. Woop woop.

Scribing has been taking a lot of time of mine that I would spend MCAT studying or studying for classes in general. We get weekly quizzes in almost every class I have and when I do a 5pm-2am shift, I’m super dead the next morning. I have Polish at 10am so it’s not TOO bad, but I always feel crappy when I come back, especially my skin.

My mom has been bugging me a lot about it and it makes me sad. I thought she’d be proud of me and more encouraging, but she and my dad are both telling me I’m crazy and going to kill myself in the end the more I work at this job. While maybe true, it’s also the only job that serves to tell me if medicine is really what I want to do in life. And here’s what I see as a scribe in the ER:

  • You’ll only eat, drink, or go to the bathroom if you let yourself. Personally, I trained myself to not do any of the above during those 9 hour shifts. And sometimes the doctors don’t either. I try to encourage them to take breaks because the work is so demanding and I want to make their lives easier…
  • You need to talk fast, type fast and move fast. There are so many sick people to attend to and they all want to be seen, and usually at the same time…and you’re just one person! Mad respect for ER doctors who make it happen.
  • Good night, I’m going to go pass out now. While it is definitely necessary that we have emergency rooms, it must be incredibly exhausting to do graveyard shifts all the time (or mixed with morning ones that totally screw things up). I see the same security guard in front of my residence hall working and the same Red Car drivers who have to stay up for 8 hours each night to make sure students are safe. And yet I still complain about things. I’m pathetic…

So, what about the actual content of the work? Did I take anything away from that? The pathology of disease? I actually think I gain more of that during research and reading papers, but these physicians are all well-kept in reading the latest research on treating diseases so it’s actually pretty cool and will probably continue to remain cool as we study and uncover human disease.

Ah. Super dead each day. I feel I work 24/7 as well as a student, researcher, scribe, blogger, tutor, web designer, organization president/leader/social committee chair etc…the list goes on and while I wish it could stop, I also wish to continue this crazy road. Maybe when I’m 50 I’ll finally take the hint from my mom that yes I am crazy and need to stop, but until that happens I’ll keep making my little wins that make me exhaustingly happy.

Sacrifices that we make

Happy first week of school everyone! I hope you all chose the right classes and started meeting with the right people to make this semester your best one yet! I started freaking out a bit one week before because I received an email from the Slavic department that my section of Polish 102 was being cancelled due to low enrollment, and that if I wanted to take Polish 102 I would have to take the 10am class. I have never had this sort of thing happen to me before (I’ve had it where I am planning on taking a class but then it closes up so fast that I need to pick another one…but that’s during the time everyone is scrambling to pick classes), especially just a week before classes start! Unbelievable. I was crushed. I have been waiting to take this class for the past 2 semesters now. Polish 101 was so awesome, but I had to really focus on studying for my MCAT and do well in those three science classes I took (biochemistry I, homeostasis and genetics). I was so happy to get all A’s that semester and do well on my practice MCATs leading up to the real thing, but I guess I wasn’t as ready as I thought I was (hence, I am restudying for it now).

The restudying isn’t going so well, but it’s probably because I’m not in that “oh-my-god” AHHH mode yet (oh don’t worry, it’s going to hit relatively soon). Anyway, my dilemma for this upcoming semester was if I should take Polish by moving all of my classes around (and those classes fill up fast), or take something else that will keep me full-time and engaged. I pondered other classes and I dabbled in my emotions toward each one that I read the description of. While there were some that were interesting, I already made the decision in my mind that I was going to take Polish 102 this semester and freaking kill it (um, yeah we’ll see Milie…). So, as you probably guessed, I moved all of my other classes around (thank goodness there were still sections open) and made sure it did not conflict with my schedule that was already made for scribing at Rush. This new schedule will reduce my hours at research a bit, but at the same time it increased my mini-time gaps so that I could keep tutoring at the Writing Center! The schedule I had before had no clear spaces in between classes or after classes that I was willing to use for tutoring, but this new schedule has a ton of spaces that I can easily fill up with at least an hour of tutoring! I’m so excited about my semester now.

Because this is my last semester, I am really going to strive and push myself and others around me to work to maximum potential. Not sure the clear cut steps yet, but knowing me with my Google Calendar, it’s going to happen.

How do we choose what to give up and give in to? That’s up to you to decide what is most important, whether it may be education, family, love, art or you. My thoughts is that all of the above are important, so I always say do what makes you happy, even if that means reducing time from all of them…

Dedicating your whole life to that “one thing” is a tough decision (can you tell I’m starting to allude to your future career?), and the road ahead will continue to be a long and difficult one to go. Personally, I’m convinced enough of what I want to do and be, but not that convinced it’s the only thing out there for me. Explore your options, regret some and learn a bit more about yourself (because once you figure that out, everything else will seem so much easier). :D

MAKE A PLAN, FOLLOW THROUGH.

Also, don’t forget that Martin Luther King Jr. Day is next Monday! No classes, but I work that evening at Rush (then I have to wake up early to go to Polish 102…I hope I’m not too sleepy). Enjoy the nice weekend.

Let’s see how much I can cram before we start class

I never thought cramming was effective for me as it was for my brother, but looks like it genetics has funneled through and proved to be helpful in these environments of chaos that come at me out of nowhere…

Okay, so maybe I put myself in this position…or maybe I was peer-pressured by society to go to college and be insane like stereotypical Asians should be because that’s what I thought I had to do. HAH! I’m totally nothing like that (yet, still, why do I feel like it?).

Bernie Mac Sarcoidosis

The allergy clinic was moved from the first floor of 1801 Taylor Street to the third floor with pulmonology this past November. I am still adjusting to the new change since I only go once a month for my allergy shots now (only second visit so far). This is my first time seeing this part of the clinic and it gave me a bittersweet feeling. I remember when I was in elementary school, I saw The Bernie Mac Show on Fox television and really liking that show! I didn't know I was so ignorant in knowing that he is from the south side of Chicago. I knew he passed away young as well, but did not know it was from this disease (sarcoidosis). I thought it was really nice this memorandum was here in the clinic. RIP.

It’s weird when the message your parents gave you all the way from kindergarten to high school is WORK HARD and STRAIGHT A’S ONLY becomes “You don’t need to work that hard and long…just be a pharmacist! All you have to do is count to 100 and you make lots of money!” I’m pretty sure there is more to it than that, but I’m also just not interested. This parallel reminds me of what it’s actually like in Asia in regards to the educational system. I took AAST 270 (Love, Sex and Marriage of Asians…quite a crazy and interesting class) and discussed how all grades/years up until college are largely the most important academically because it places you in college and determines what you can do or can’t do in the future (not like America where if you can dream it, you can do it…for the most part). And, once you get to college, you get the enjoy! Apparently college is a lot easier because you already worked so hard to get there when you were a youngster living it up in the library and isolation at home. The problem is, once you’re set, you are set! No change in careers is possible (it’s shameful, so they say). You just deal with what you got and make it work. While it sucks, it serves the community well knowing that only a certain number of people can do X, Y, Z and these people can do A, B, C so we’ll never have a shortage of X, Y, Z, A, B and C.

Thai Bowl Jade Noodles

I got to catch up with my friend Alaina after work! We went to eat at Thai Bowl and both got Jade Noodles. I got mine with chicken and she got hers with beef. Thai Bowl is seriously the best Thai food on this planet (okay, well maybe if I went to Thailand I could actually confirm it). SO DANG GOOD. ALL THE TIME! Love.

I was excited about this whole Obamacare thing, but it sure is going to flop if people take on this insurance and then their PCP doesn’t accept it. And, lots of people in medical school don’t go into primary care. They want to be psychiatrists, neurologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, radiologists, anesthesiologists…so many specialties! To fill the gap, there are NP’s and PA’s…but you’re still going to need the MD around. Don’t know how the system became this way, but I also think it’s odd to go from this doctor to this other doctor and then back to my PCP here and there for things that the other doctors can’t treat. Realistically though, the PCP can’t do everything…and for everyone…that’s insane. They’d never sleep! Or eat!

Working in the ER, I have come to see the physicians as emergency PCP’s. There are many things that people come in for that could be healed in a matter of a few days if they just waited or took over the counter medication. And there are some that definitely need to be admitted or watched over, but the majority I’d say need a primary care provider and to make appointments with them! The cost to go to the emergency room each time is way too great. I’m so thankful that I can get appointments at the Family Medicine Center at UIC near my residence hall. It’s amazing! I call the day of sometimes and get an appointment on that day. They always try to do their best to see you, and I don’t even have to pay because of Campus Care insurance. Ah, thank goodness for insurance.

Snow Fall Blur

I was taking the Red Car after I got out at work around 3am and there was so much snow outside! It was really pretty, although deadly...can't believe we've had such strikingly low temperatures this week! I hope it gets better once everyone is back to school on Jan 13. I know it's blurry, but you can make out UH and the nearby trees. (:

Anyway, sorry for the confusion going from cramming to the education system in Asia to Obamacare. I’ll be honest…I have no idea how my brain works (hello neuroscientists…don’t steal my brain please), but however it does I am blessed and happy to have one! To put it to good use, I’ll be sure to exercise as many parts of it I can stimulate with learning a gazillion things at once. While on the way, I’ll probably learn 2x gazillion things about myself that I could not even imagine.

OKAY, BRIEF UPDATE IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? Got it.

  • Research – I’ve been qPCR-ing like a madwoman. Call me qPCR Queen.
  • Scribing – Worked two holidays already. My eyes are frying up from staring at the screen for 9 hours straight. PHEW, THAT’S OKAY BECAUSE I LOVE THE EXPERIENCE.
  • Blogging – Dear readers, I cannot thank you enough for reading my posts. I can’t believe I have been doing this since the summer before my sophomore year! Please continue to follow me until I am deceased. Thank you.
  • Housing – Even though it was crazy expensive to continue living with housing, I am very happy that I did. I have also been working on the website and coming up with new ideas before I graduate and leave…so sad.
  • MCAT-ing – UGH why is it still not happening. Someone needs to kick this into gear for me because I am having so much trouble!
  • Club stuff – Go away. :( I’m tired. Okay okay fine I’ll get up…
  • Other things on my mind – just occupying space! -__-

Welcome to Spring 2014 UIC! Keep using your brain and listen to your intuition (because that’s actually your brain talking to you).

Cheers to a happy New Year

I’ve never made New Year’s resolutions (or maybe I have and just can’t remember them because I never follow through), but for some reason this year seems like a good one to finally execute some plans! I will be graduating this spring, assuming none of my professors fail me (well, I guess they could as long as I passed the one class that I’ve been pushing off forever ago….BIOS 221!).

Mushroom, ATTACK!!!

I don't know why, but jellyfish remind me of mushrooms. Hehe. Anyway, I went to the Shedd the day before Christmas with my boyfriend and we got to see the Jellies exhibit! I saw it two years ago and really enjoyed seeing them. It's not a large exhibit, but worth going at least once.

So, what are some goals I have this year…well I guess the main one that’s blocking my way from being confident in my application for medical school is my MCAT score! I will be taking my MCAT March 22, assuming all goes well in terms of studying, and hopefully not need to take it a third time. I have been using Berkeley Review books in addition to going over Kaplan books (perhaps I will grab some Princeton Review materials from the library for more practice…and maybe ExamKrackers) and so far it’s been all right. Trying to study during the holidays is kind of difficult, especially since I am working two jobs simultaneously (and a third here and there). I’ve got a pile of stuff to do and little motivation to do it until after New Years…

Puffers are my favorite

If I could be any fish in the sea, I'd probably be a puffer. There are so many different variations of puffers, and they are all dangerously CUTE! :D

I’m pretty happy with how I did this past semester. I got all A’s except for one class (88%…Nutrition During the Life Cycle). I can’t believe I had my first B in nutrition! It’s a bummer, but at least my GPA stayed the same (was hoping for a small increase if I got all As, but hey you can’t win at everything). I had my friends tell me to go and argue and hope maybe they’ll bump it up, but I felt like I deserved that since most of the time I was sleep-ish or unable to go due to my overnight shifts the night before (5pm-2am…then wake up at 7:30am…way too much to handle). I’m going to have to be a lot more reasonable when I schedule my work stuff this coming semester so I don’t get killed from lack of sleep.

Christmas Birds

Right after my 9am-6pm shift at Rush, I headed straight to my cousin's house for our Christmas get-together! We always feel bad that they have to host both our side of the family and their other side of the family, but then again no other house is as nice! xD They always have the cutest decorations.

Anyway, looking forward to taking Polish, Genetics Lab and the second part of Anatomy and Physiology! :D Anatomy and Physiology has been the most helpful at my scribe job at Rush and I’m certainly glad I am taking it before entering medical school! I was planning on taking biochemistry 2, but I’m sure even after I take in medical school I’ll be like “meh!” (or so they say will happen, as with anything related to chemistry). I think it will be a good choice…and I’ll be working on my Honors Capstone project (and hopefully beyond graduation!) that will take up most of my time…as most things do…

Tuna and Guacamole

The most wonderful thing happened two days before New Years! My cousin's boyfriend proposed to her! I was present along with everyone else who was secretly invited. It all happened at Shaw's Crab House and we got to order from the Tokio Pub menu. The ring was so beautiful, and when she walked in and we yelled "Surprise!", her face was priceless! I definitely cried because it was TOO beautiful. And man he got her a beautiful ring! Can't wait for that Chinese-Jewish wedding. Hehe!

So, in summary…

  1. Get a way better MCAT score
  2. Speak Mandarin and Polish more often (perhaps throw in some of my remedial Spanish)
  3. Complete Honors Capstone project with flying colors (I guess graduate too)
  4. Be awesome (and I guess sleep well, eat well, exercise at some point, hahahahaha…)

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays! It’s time to get back into shape with school and have an amazing 2014 year!

Spending Christmas Week at Rush

I’m scheduled to work the whole week of Christmas, this includes December 22, 23, 25, 26, 27 9am-6pm (oh and I’m working New Year’s Eve from 5pm-2am…I hope there aren’t too many drunk people -_-). I took December 24 off because every year our family usually celebrates it this day…but turns out my cousin’s family, who hosts it every year (and the other side of their family too on Christmas Day), is having their other family celebration on Christmas Eve (making my family’s Christmas Day…)…so I’m missing out. :( Bad planning on my part I guess (should have just asked them instead of my grandma/brother), but then again I had to submit my holiday requests in October! Crazy we have to work three out of five major holidays, but at the same time that’s what ER doctors/nurses/health workers have to do all the time!

Walking on Maxwell Street

I had to pick up medication from the UIC Pharmacy near my residence hall (MRH). I'm so happy it's so convenient! It's amazing so much happened on this street in the past.

I’m trying to think if this is the first Christmas/New Year’s without my family, and in a way it is…I used to have a best friend in high school and I spent Christmas with her family (but to me, she was family…but not anymore, lol!). Friendships slip, but new ones form. That’s what’s great about the future. There’s a lot of opportunity to meet a lot of great, honest people out there. I’m glad we don’t limit ourselves to our small group of friends and move beyond our comfort zones to reach out with others.

Speaking of which, I attended the second official meeting of the Mental Health and Disability Alliance (MHDA) group on campus! I was unable to make the first meeting in November because I had my molecular biology lab class). I sometimes regret going to new organization meetings because I feel forced to commit more time than I should, but the issues they and other organizations’ bring up are really underrepresented in terms of support, research and interdisciplinary collaboration. I just want to be a part of it! Even if it’s just a small role…every hand can help.

MDHA Meeting Notes and Food

The meeting was a potluck! I haven't had Kimbap in awhile so I was pretty excited to get some there. Lots of ethnic variety! I made my little setup to take notes and search up stuff for the meeting. Super excited to help make things happen!

The week before Christmas, I was cranking out experiments and data like no other. Right after this “Rush” week, I’ll be back to cranking out data. I am going to give a presentation at our lab meeting January 6, and I don’t think I have enough time to do so since I’m going to give a background of the whole study that I’m doing for my Honors Capstone research project (to be written at least by the end of the semester, but starting that sooner is always better). Can’t wait to cram-read those scholarly articles/journals! XD I’ll probably spend a nice long weekend doing so…

Housing Graphics Door Decorations

Emily, who's leaving us to study abroad in London next semester, made these cute decorations on our door! Every month someone changes the graphics to something. Last month was a bunch of mustaches (for No Shave November, I guess). I'm a penguin, although the bears are so much cuter.

My MCAT restudying is totally suffering right now. I get back to my room about 5-6pm. I eat dinner and watch TV (the devil) and that can go from 6-7 or 6-9!!! T___T I’m always super exhausted from my day doing whatever it is (research, work, scribing, attending meetings) and can’t find the motivation to work. I should probably dedicate my daytime to studying, but then I can’t do the other stuff. I could try and do the 5pm-2am shifts more often, but then I can’t wake up until like 10-11am (that’s if I’m diligent)! I need someone to slap me because otherwise things won’t be looking so good for me. Any suggestions dear friends?

Snowman of MRH

Would you look at that! A snowman in the courtyard of MRH. So cute.

Enjoy your Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate! Enjoy the pretty snow! :D

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