Time to say goodbye

As I sat around a bonfire with my friends a few weeks ago, we talked about how it’s crazy that it feels like we just started college a few years ago – and now, we are preparing to graduate. I found myself getting a bit emotional – that’s when it hit me that I’m graduating and leaving UIC. Saying goodbye isn’t easy. Especially when you’re leaving a school that has been the biggest part of your life for the past four years.

When I decided to go to UIC, I knew that whatever I experienced at the college would leave an everlasting mark on me. And I have absolutely no regrets of attending UIC – the school has blessed me with so many opportunities, education, and skills that have prepared me to be the 22-year-old graduating senior I am today.

Let’s be honest – classes were not a summer breeze. I can recall many sleepless nights during my first two years where I would sit at a computer screen with piles of books, trying to figure out the best next sentence of a paper. I can recall the long school days where I felt like a zombie hyped up on coffee. Endless papers, tests, and projects were bountiful. I also recall getting a hang of task management during my last two years here. I felt like a college-pro, being able to manage everything and anything. Now when I reflect on all the readings I read, the papers I wrote, and the exams I studied for, I understand why I did all that stuff. It was to make me smart – to instill in me the world-class education that UIC promised. Whenever I am working on new assignments at school or at my internship, I find myself going back and memorizing the things I have learned in my classes. I received a world-class education from UIC.

UIC also gave me leadership skills and a better awareness of myself through my involvement in student organizations. In particular, the UIC Undergraduate Student Government had the most impact on my personal development. After joining my first week as an undergraduate in August 2010, I have been dedicated and passionate for the organization. I wanted to genuinely raise awareness about the group and provide the most effective student government possible for the undergraduate student body. I had many positions that entailed me learning how be a leader: Chair of the previous Internal Affairs Committee, Vice-President for two years, and the Chair of the Communications & Recruitment Committee. I was also able to attend three conferences in Washington, D.C., including the Clinton Global Initiative University conference. I was also able to meet face-to-face with university administrators to develop new, beneficial plans for students. I organized several major events, including my favorite, the Undie Run. Through all of my experiences in the organization, I developed a unique, passionate love for the university. One that will make a dedicated alumni.

I truly am going to miss being a student here. But as I welcome full-fledged adulthood, I will never forget the experiences UIC has given me. And I would like to thank every single one of my I AM UIC blog readers for welcoming me and listening to me for the past two years. I will miss you all!

Until next time…

Mike

Farewell!

Go Blackhawks!

I feel like I’m having Deja Vu.  I am very excited about this playoff season.  The first series against the St. Louis Blues was a stressful first round.  The history behind the Blackhawks-Blues rivalry goes back to the 70s.  You can attribute a lot of it to only being 300 miles apart.  The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals are rivals in the same way.  As a Hawks fan, I always felt more of a rivalry with the Detroit Red Wings.  I remember on my way back from Canada, we stopped in Detroit.  There was a Blackhawks game that night and figured we could go to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch it.  Turned out that they could care less about airing the Hawks game.  They only put one little tv on with the game all the way in the corner.

Nonetheless, the Red Wings are no longer in our division.  So, the Blues seemed to be a pretty good first contender for the first series.  There was stress.  There was anxiety.  There was a lot of superstition.  When the Hawks won the first game after the hit Seabrook gave to Backes (ultimately suspending Seabrook for 3 games), I decided to wear the same pajamas and sit in the exact same spot that I did when they won for the next game.  They won.  I thought, “There is no way I can not NOT wear these clothes for the next game!”  Coincidentally, my cousin got sick during that game.  The next game, my mom got sick.  I was told to “take one for the team” for the next game.  Thankfully, I was wearing my lucky pajamas and sitting in my lucky spot, I didn’t need to get sick for them to win. Can’t mess with the Juju.

Last year, before they won the Stanley Cup, my cousin took me out for my birthday.  We went all over the city, taking pictures of the signs that said “Let’s go Hawks!”  We took pictures with the statue of Stan Mikita at the United Center and with the Lions at the Art Institute with their hockey helmets.

Then the next day on June 24th,my birthday….THEY WON THE STANLEY CUP!  It was probably the best night of my life.  Multiple people recorded me crying tears of happiness.

We’re going to do it again this year!

LET’S GO BLACKHAWKS!!!!!!!!

 

Ready or not

I see my pretty face in his old eyes…

It’s insane for me to think that soon I’ll be moved out and back home again. All I really need to do is to survive this coming week with the one huge hurdle being the physics final. I’m relieved to say that I should be fine in my other classes, especially after taking the last couple of tests for them. It’s one of the rare times where I’m confident in my grade! Physics, on the other hand, is a whole other situation to worry about…I’ve been doing all the homework and practice problems though, so hopefully that will be enough to keep me afloat.

In the meantime, though, I’m mostly hanging in there by binge-drinking tea and still trying to keep a fairly normal sleep schedule from night to night. (Although I have a terrible habit of falling asleep in my bed with my laptop. Thank goodness I recently switched to a MacBookPro, which shuts down automatically after a while, because my old 5+ years laptop would never do that!) I’m luckily finding that the year is winding down in many ways that allow me to mainly focus on studying. For instance, I held my last program for the year as a PM; also, the Ampersand will soon release its last issue to pickup at the Honors College. With my responsibilities wrapping up for some other activities, I actually find that I have more time to study for once, which is really helpful….because I’ll need it.

Despite the craziness of this past week and the week to come, I managed to have a pretty fantastic week last week! Last Tuesday, I was able to go to the Bulls playoff game against the Wizards! I’m rarely this impulsive, but my friend Adithyan was able to get discount tickets and successfully rounded up a few friends from Commons West last year to go together! It was wonderful seeing them again. Whenever someone moves into an apartment or even a different side of campus, it can become much more difficult to see them on a regular basis, especially when we have none of the same classes! So this really was the perfect reunion event for all of us diehard Bulls fans.

Heartbreakingly, the Bulls lost in overtime (darn free throws…) 99-101, but I still had the best time with my friends just cheering them on until I nearly lost my voice. It’s been years since I went to a Bulls game, but I have always been a crazy fan of theirs. My dad and I have a habit of cheering them on at home (while my mom sometimes rolls her eyes at us!) and we can get quite heated when the score gets close like this. It’s a whole different experience to be a part of that crowd of fans though, and feeling the intense energy of over 20,000 screaming fans is crazy exciting. I rarely go out on school nights because I’m kind of high strung and think that it’s better to spend all my time studying or doing something productive, but this was the perfect choice to help me relax and recharge before buckling down for finals.

The next day,  on Wednesday, was the annual Campus Housing banquet, in which some of the best and most dedicated people on campus are recognized for all they contribute to make living on campus better for everyone. I’m so proud of my friends who were recognized, including fellow blogger Holly, who won BEST RESIDENT ASSISTANT for East Campus! I loved how all people affiliated with Campus Housing were congregated together because the staff members I see the most are of course the Courtyard staff. It was great to see the desk workers and the IT workers as well! My friends and I also had a great time visiting the photo booth again and again.

Finals are looming once again, but for the first time in forever, my spirits are high. Of course I’ll still be anxious over grades and whatnot, but I am nursing confidence within me and brimming with determination to finish the rest of the year strong.

May the odds (or the curve) be ever in your favor, friends!

Will you be my friend in my dream? / Take that pretty face off surely

(Pretty Face - Sóley)

Just days away

It’s late. It’s raining. I’m looking out of the window at the same sights I have been looking out at for about 3 years now.

We are days away from finals week and from closing another chapter of our time at UIC. For many, this year is the final chapter to the college experience. For others, it was just the beginning. But for me, the end of this year means I am precariously balanced between the very end of the road and one last go around.

When I finish my last presentation, check out my final resident, and load my car with 300 pounds of clothes, it’ll be the end to more than just my junior year to me. My last presentation marks the final semester of difficult classes and challenging courseloads; from here on out, I only have 12 credit hours and hope to spend at least 6 of them on an internship. Saying goodbye to the last remaining resident means I will no longer have residents…I will be done being a resident assistant, something that truly engulfed me for the past two years. The past two times that classes wrapped up for summer and I moved back home, I felt at peace, ready for a summer off to recharge for the following year. I was doing everything I wanted to each year and really felt like I was accomplishing all of the goals I’d hoped I would from the start. At this point, my plans for next year are finalized, and things are really going to change.

That isn’t to say I’m not incredibly excited for the year ahead. I can’t wait to take on every role I have worked for years to get to. That’s not what this is about.

The end of my junior year means I have one year left. One last try to do everything I’ve been putting off because it felt like four years would never end and that I would have plenty of time to accomplish it all. I’m shocked and incredibly anxious when I contemplate the fact that in mere months I will be a senior in college, millimeters away from the dreaded real world. It’s absolutely insane how quickly time goes by.

As I spend my last weeks here, I am trying very hard to take it all in and enjoy every second. Things are happening whether or not I am prepared. When I come back here in August, I will walk the same hallways I did as the freshman hall council president as the building’s senior resident assistant. I started out trying to figure out just what I wanted to do while here, and now I’m scrambling to make sure I can walk away feeling like I did it all. That view out of my bedroom window stayed consistent year by year while everything else constantly changed-for better or for worse. And I’m perfectly fine with that.

There’s a bird singing outside. At 3am, a bird is chirping nonstop. It’s funny, but at the same time, it helps me. Listening to a bird, no matter where or what time of day, links me to so much of the past and helps me stay on track. No matter how fast life moves or where it takes me, I’ll still hear birds chirping. And if they’re as happy as let on from their chirping about the changing of the seasons, I can embrace every change that comes my way and prepare for my last time around.

Here’s to the end of the year and big moves.

Where do we go from here?

Remember when I said there could be a win-win, win-lose or lose-lose? As luck would have it, I ended with lose-lose as my option–but there’s a bright side to this.

First, the “negatives”:

  1. I did not receive the Fulbright scholarship to teach English in Taiwan (side note: my mother is there right now and a few days ago when I came out from scribing at Rush around 2am, I received a text from my dad noting that my grandpa passed away. My mother went back earlier than September, the time we usually try to get her to go since tickets are cheaper and we have money saved up to send her, for the reason that he was not doing well health-wise. I think it was a mix of prostate cancer and maybe lung too since he used to smoke way back when. I shed a tear or two, but nothing compared to when my father’s father passed away here a few years ago (revisit that post if you’d like)…maybe because he was closer to me? I don’t know. I miss them both. Anyway, I’m really happy I was able to see him two summers ago when I went to teach English. I haven’t talked to my mom since she’s been there, and I’m nervous to talk to her about my plans for the future since I will most likely not live at home as my family would like for reasons I will say later in this post.)
  2. I did not score where I wanted on my second MCAT. I did improve, but only by a point. But, hey, a point improvement is pretty good! Jumping over 1 point puts ahead of thousands of people, but for where I want to be…I need a drastic jump if I want to still pursue MD/PhD.

I spoke with a pre-health adviser this past Monday and gave her the full load of what has been running around my mind these past few weeks. I decided (and she agreed) that I would apply next cycle and in the meantime restudy for the MCAT. I now plan to have a two-year gap potentially before entering medical school, and I’m totally okay with that. I have four exams this week and two for finals, and don’t get me started with my Capstone paper. While I have some worry about those things, I’m more concerned about life after graduation (as most of my peers may be feeling too!). Fortunately (here come the positives), I have many options in terms of jobs. I can continue working as a scribe in the ER, and I really want to keep the job because I have learned so many things that I cannot imagine ever being exposed to. I also want to continue doing research and learn more analyzing techniques / cell culture stuff so that I can understand the methods being used in the field (and thus interpret the data more accurately when I read scientific papers – I struggle with this still!). And I’m sure if I really wanted to find another job or try at a different field, I could…

But what exactly is it that I want the most right now?

That’s the question that makes me spin in circles. I know what I need to do to achieve what I believe is what I want to do in the future as a physician. And it seems silly that a score could determine my chances, but if I treat this third time taking the MCAT as a preparation for preparing for my USMLE Step 1′s later on in the future (that apparently determine what residencies you get to “choose” to apply and hopefully get – with higher scores being competitive for competitive specialties), then good things will follow – less stress and everything. Hermit crab may be the way to go, and my family thinks it’s the best method for me to ensure success (and some people really live by this method).

Who knows, maybe I can’t handle the two part-time jobs and really have to devote my every being to this test. I don’t know. Dealing with school, extracurricular activities, five part-time jobs and other stuff seemed to go OK for me, so why am I stressing out?

I think the whole “living at home” vs “living around school where my part-time jobs are” is probably causing the most stress. I’ve been living on campus for the past 4 years and it’s been great. Everything is taken cared of. I don’t have to worry about anything besides what time am I coming home and can someone bring me back safely…that’s it! And now…I worry about how I will have to work those 5pm-2am shifts when I am not living on campus, if I qualify for UIC services that I will no longer be able to use assuming it ends when I am not a student. Perhaps if I become an employee in the research lab I could continue some services, maybe even use the gym for once! There’s so much to think about and I still have to talk to my family about it. My dad got kind of angry over the phone when I told him via my brother that I’ve made my decision to study for the MCAT while working two part-time jobs (possibly three…but that’s pending since I need to figure out my living situation and make my MCAT study schedule for the summer). He and my brother think I should just stay at home. “Why are you working? Just quit! Stay at home and study.” Ugh, not a fan of that tone — and sure maybe they can help me find a job in the suburbs…but there’s like nothing for me there.

I feel so connected to UIC and the Chicago community that I don’t know what I would do going back to the suburbs. It’s like even the suburbs are in their own little bubbles (as I term U of I) with ignorance about poverty and disparities. I couldn’t believe how different the city was compared to the suburbs when I first entered, and it made me sad that I grew up thinking that we are all equal when we’re really not.

And so, I’ve made my decision to stay. I’m not sure how I will stay, but I want to stay here and grow whatever it is that is inside of me and a remnant of my UIC education. Whether it was good or bad doesn’t matter. I am ready to move on from the lectures, labs and homework to real-world application. These past few months have been full of crazy surprises, heart and headaches. I feel homesick not for my “home,” but for the innocence left in the life I live that wonders where the light at the end of the tunnel comes, if at all. Is it something we’re just chasing or can we catch up and open a door that releases from all of our nostalgic feelings of what makes us who we are?

安息阿公…

Tying up loose ends

To say that this month has been, and the next two weeks are going to be, hectic is an understatement. The amount of stuff I have to do is absolutely crazy. With less than two weeks until graduation, it’s time to tie up loose ends and think about the transition to full adult life.
Honestly, the only caveat of being heavily involved on campus and off campus is the fact that you have very limited time to do homework and very little time to yourself. My average week typically consists of running class to class, doing loads of readings, going to my internship, and organizing activities and partaking in meetings for USG. Sounds like a little, but trust me — when you have many hats to juggle it could be challenging at times! However, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve found that being busy makes me happy, and I thoroughly enjoy every activity that I am involved in. I’ve found that the key to being successfully busy is enjoying what you are doing.
At the same time, I’m beginning to think about transition into adulthood. I feel like this moment is the biggest transition I will have in my life. Will it be hard to transition from going to school my whole to working for the rest of my life? This seems to be the biggest question I am asking myself. It’s just mind-blowing that I’m no longer going to be making school my life. In two weeks, no more USG, more UIC, no more homework all night long, no more having a spastic schedule – every aspect of my life will pretty much be different. It’s a bit scary. But more than that, it’s exciting.
So it’s time to just sit down, not worry, and get straight to work. Change is good and the light at the end of the tunnel is near. Time to wrap up the semester!

Bad timing

A few weeks back, I was scheduled to take the content area test for Early Childhood Special Education.  This is the first test that you have to take that actually pertains to the subject area you are getting your degree in.  Basically, it’s a test I have been in preparation of for two years.  April 12th was the day.

I had flash cards, I re-read textbooks, and I took countless practice tests.  I was ready.  I planned to get a good night’s sleep and wake up refreshed.  I was scheduled for the afternoon session so I didn’t have to wake up extremely early.  The downside was that the assigned location was about an hour away.  Even though I requested a “Downtown” location, they put me an hour south of where I live.

So, here is where the story gets interesting.  In the middle of the night, I woke up feeling very nauseous.  I was up for awhile, trying to fall back asleep but only after I got up and took Pepto Bismal was I finally able to lay down again.  By this time, it was about 4 in the morning.  Good thing my test started at 1:30 and not 8:30.

When I got up the next morning, I felt absolutely awful.

The drive there was not so great either.  Traffic was bad and I started feeling very feverish.  I got there just in time but I started feeling like I needed to sit down.  I received my room assignment and headed for my place.  This is when I started feeling light headed.  I was trying to keep calm because I still had to take this test.  But I was getting worse.  When I found my place, everyone needed to get fingerprinted and listen to directions.  It took about 45 minutes.  It was 45 minutes full of sweating, body aches, and an incredible amount cursing in my head.  SERIOUSLY? Could this have happened at any other time?

When I was finally able to start my test, I was feeling so feverish that I had to start taking layers off.  I happened to wear thick socks that day.  So, as you can imagine, I looked ridiculous to the people around me when I started taking my socks off.  But I didn’t care. I was so hot!

I wanted to be able to take my time and re-read questions.  I ended up rushing through it because I felt so horrible.  When I finally finished all 125 questions, I booked it.  I went home, took a nap, and the rest of the night watched the Blackhawks game.  I couldn’t believe how intense my body aches were.  I went to bed early and woke up the next day 75% better.  No body aches, no fever.  Could this 24 hour flu, or whatever it was, have happen at a worse time?

I get my results in a couple weeks.  Worst case scenario, I can retake it again in June.  But hopefully I won’t have to. I’d probably feel really proud of myself if I did pass while hallucinating from the flu.  And maybe, just maybe, things happen for a reason.

 

Food for thought

Snow falls, somehow it doesn’t melt boy when it hits you, why? / All this life I’ve been drowned by confusion…

With the school year winding down, I’m finishing up my last few programs. Last week, I held a program called “Food for Thought” to share some easy tips for eating healthy even as a busy college student. One of the most common complaints I hear (and admittedly partake in at times) from people who live on campus is that there is “nothing to eat in the caf.” That’s of course a hyperbole, but it’s true that a lot of things the cafeteria has to offer are unhealthy – pizza, burgers, fries, grilled cheese…it becomes quite unappetizing after living here for semesters or maybe even years. However, after living here for almost four semesters now, I have come up with a few little tips and tricks for myself to still eat relatively healthy and balanced meals with what is available.

  • Portion control — Use a smaller plate! It helps you control how much you’re eating because there is simply less available for you to eat. It’s a simple way to reduce your portions and prevent overeating, which is tempting in our cafeteria which is an all-you-care-to-eat operation.
  • Eat with your friends! — I find that when I eat with my friends, I tend to socialize more which makes the time pass quicker. Overall I leave the caf after eating less and I’m less tempted to get up for more food when I’m laughing and talking with my friends.
  • Balance is key — your plate should be about 1/2 fruits and vegetables, 1/4 protein, and 1/4 carbs (whole grain if possible!). It’s easy to just pick up everything in the entree line without much thought to what you’re consuming, but try to balance your plate out with some salad and vegetables! At breakfast, the cafeteria also offers some delicious mixed fruit.
  • Everything in moderation — Sometimes people who diet decide to impulsively cut out all sugar/carbs/gluten/fat from their diet, but that’s not actually realistic or even healthy. You still want to have a healthy balance of different foods, and instead of completely cutting out unhealthy foods, simply choose to eat them in moderation. A burger, pizza, or cookie now and then is not going to kill you. For me, a tactic that has been helpful before is I consciously decide to eat as healthy as possible from Monday to Friday, but I let myself eat almost anything I’d like on the weekends. That’s usually when I’ll go out with friends, and I’ll enjoy myself without worrying as much about eating as healthy as possible.
  • When you’re done eating…LEAVE! — Don’t linger in the caf! You’ll find yourself going back and getting more food when you’re actually already full and don’t realize it. When you’re done with your plate, consider heading out to class, even if it’s a little bit early.
  • Craving alert — Keep some healthy snacks in your room on hand. You don’t want to be relying on late night food runs or vending machine food when you feel burnt out from studying and have cravings for something sweet or salty.Unfortunately, calories still count during finals week and the middle of the night! Consider granola bars, apples with peanut butter (or any other fruit), popcorn (with very little butter and salt), trail mix, and other healthier alternatives to keep in your room for when you know you’ll want something to munch on as you study.
  • Keep a calorie count — this might be more relevant if you are looking to change your weight, whether that means you’re looking to lose some weight or bulk in muscle. Regardless, it may be a good idea to keep a rough estimate of what you’re eating so you have a mental track of whether you’re over/undereating. There’s a bountiful amount of smartphone apps dedicated for this, but my favorite that I have used before is MyFitnessPal. That one also will deduct calories that you exercise!
  • Water water everywhere — Take advantage of all the water fountains that are installed around the school and keep a water bottle handy in your backpack! One of the easiest ways to immediately decrease your calorie count is to substitute all your drinks for water. Cutting out soda (including diet sodas which are full of aspartame and make you crave more sweets), juices, and other sugary drinks and drinking water will decrease cravings. And of course, it’s much healthier for you overall!
  • ….or tea! — A warm cup of tea is also a very healthy alternative! Green tea contains more caffeine than coffee and is usually healthier because of the tendency to add too much cream or sugar to coffee. Also it’s so delightful to wake up with the smell of a warm cup of tea! If you’re not looking for caffeine, there are plenty of non-caffeinated teas you could find in any grocery store or tea shop!

Making these little changes in my dietary habits has helped me remain health conscious and stay fit. Even little switches have been immensely impactful, like only drinking water and tea, or grabbing a banana instead of a cookie, or keeping a count of calories. Unfortunately for my program, it was little bit of poor planning of me to hold it as the same time as some other popular events going on the same night (namely the Nearly Naked Mile hosted by Commons West – which I heard was fantastic! – and a UIC baseball game). As a result, I didn’t have a very good turnout at all – but I still wanted to some of my ideas with other people!  I hope some of these tips might help your meals be a little bit healthier, especially if you eat in the dining halls frequently.

I’m counting down the days…Good luck studying for finals, everyone!

 

Say the word and I’ll be gone / I told you I was gonna lose you to the blue

(Waste of Time - MØ)

The dog days aren’t over…

Everyone is completely stressed out. Finals are so close. My friends and residents are living off of energy drinks and iced coffee.

I’ve had an amazing week.

Last Friday, I attended a volunteer opportunity sponsored by the leadership chapter I am on the executive board of NRHH. We spent the afternoon at the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago learning about why people abandon or mistreat animals and gaining a better understanding of just what the society does. We were given a tour and stopped in room of dogs. Our group leader took two out, and I got to hold Puki, an absolutely adorable dog. He actually seemed to enjoy being held and liked looking out the window while I held him. It was so nice to be near so many animals, since I had been going through withdrawal after not having seen my puppy in weeks.

Puki at the Anti-Cruelty Society

 

After our tour, we moved on to volunteering. We brought along dog and cat toys we made for them earlier in the year and sat down to make more now that we had seen the animals who would be receiving the toys. With them in mind, we got down to work. Not long after we started, two of the workers brought in twin, 2 month-old toy poodles, Electra and Iphigenia. Electra was born with one eye, and Iphigenia was born without either eyes due to inbreeding. Nevertheless, they were so playful and sweet. I couldn’t get over how Iphigenia would walk up against Electra as guidance-that was the sweetest thing ever. And just like my puppy at home, they proudly pranced, not walked, around the room, looking for things to explore. Those dogs were incredible

Iphigenia at the Anti-Cruelty Society

The next day, my resident, my boyfriend and I couldn’t help but walk around the city since it was so beautiful outside. My resident wanted to show my boyfriend a Mariano’s he liked even more than ours on Halsted. I didn’t want to go since we were far from campus and I would be tempted to buy groceries, but after following them through the store, they showed me my dream come true-a dog park! I was so excited. We went in and sat down and I impatiently awaited attention from someone’s dog. After sitting on the bench for quite some time and not getting more than a brief second to pet a dog, I moved to the ground. I quickly made friends with an old golden retriever. Such a sweet and awesome dog. He let me pet him for 10 minutes straight-and even came back for more.

Golden retriever at the dog park

It’s safe to say my dog encounters last weekend helped me get through the week ahead of me-all that stood between me and my puppy at home. After a wonderful reuniting today, I sit here writing. Bear is huge. No longer the tiny baby we brought home in January. I can’t believe how quickly time has gone by and how big he’s gotten. He’s still our lovable, playful puppy, he’s just a big puppy!

Bear!

Pretty sure I went dog crazy this week! What a great time.

 

 

Crisis Averted

I was becoming very concerned about the strike that was announced by the faculty union. Namely, the idea that finals would be postponed as well as graduation, which would mean that my transcripts would be delayed and applying to medical school would not happen in a timely manner. But, thankfully, the strike was called off and I can go about planning my schedule as is.

So, a few updates…I finally received an email from the Fulbright committee and I did not get the scholarship. It was a bit surprising, but I guess they just wanted someone who has never been to the country before (or went only once in their life). Otherwise, I’m not sure what in my application was not up to par with what they were looking for (and neither does Beth Powers, who helped me greatly on preparing my application). OH WELL! At least I know what I’m doing for the rest of the year, kind of.

My plan B if the Fulbright thing didn’t work out was to just work for a year as a scribe, researcher and now maybe at the writing center. I’m thankful that I have options as many of my friends who are graduating may have difficulty finding a job. However, I’m not going to make any quick decisions yet. I am still waiting on my MCAT score.

My fear at this moment is if I scored the same or below how I did the first time. It looks VERY bad to the admission committee if you do the same or worse than your first time (mainly because it means that you didn’t study differently or did not care enough to make sure you would do well the second time). While I did change the way I studied as well as the material I studied from, I did not discontinue my obligations (such as work, club stuff, etc). Specifically, I took tests constantly and reviewed missed problems over and over until I remembered the answer (and thus remembering the reason why the answer was correct and why the other answers were wrong). This process was stressed the most with the practice exams I took (the AAMC ones) and my Berkeley Review books’ materials were on the back burner as test day came closer and closer. I completely had no idea how to study for verbal the second time around, so I focused more on improving my science scores (since those are easier to improve compared to verbal reasoning). While I do wish I practiced verbal passages more, I’m not sure how beneficial it would have been for me to do that compared to focusing on science.

If I miraculously do well, even 1 point more than my score from last year, I’ll apply on time as planned. Depending on my score, I’ll either apply to only MD/PhD programs, mix of MD/PhD and MD programs, or MD only / DO only programs. Whatever score I get, I’ll just have to be as realistic as possible with my decisions.

So, if I don’t do well at all, then I’ll most likely retake it for a third time. I know the pre-health advisor told me it may not be worth it, but I think if I really decided the entire summer to nothing but living and breathing the MCAT, maybe then I would attain the score I want. After all, these past two times I had classes to worry about, jobs to work, club meetings to attend etc…if all of those disappear when I graduate and I turn into a hermit, and I do well…then I’d say it’s worth it to give myself that chance to do that method. I’d hate my guts, but I know I would be really proud of myself if it meant I’d get an insane score!

Oh well, I find out VERY soon how I did…so check out next week’s post for my reaction and actual plans to fill my gap year!

This week I have my second genetics lab exam and I’m also working 4 5pm-2am shifts. I’m kind of stressing about this, but luckily after this Saturday I have the time to study for finals like a crazy person. I originally only had to work 2 of these shifts, but two of the other scribes asked me for assistance (and being nice, I accepted). One of the girls is taking her MCAT that week, and the other wanted to be with her mother during surgery. I know that if I was in their position I would want someone to help out too…so yeah, went ahead and accepted it at the expense of me not getting much sleep this week…but I’ll be fine! I find a way to give myself energy.

Super happy I don’t have to depend on things like coffee to keep me awake. I don’t even really know how I keep my eyes open, hah! When I’m under pressure, I guess my sympathetic nervous system heightens quite a bit.

Once this semester ends and I graduate, I think the first thing I’m going to do is find some kind of spa that gives a nice massage and pretty facials. Maybe I’ll cut my hair short again too. We’ll see how the weather looks. (:

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