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. (:

Get ready for this year’s RECESS

It’s back. It has been a longstanding UIC tradition. It’s time for RECESS!

For those who are not familiar with this event, RECESS is basically a time to unwind right before finals. It’s meant for students to be entertained. This year, the Student Activities Board (SAB) and UIC Undergraduate Student Government (USG) are partnering up to bring you this great event on April 30 from 3-6 p.m.

There is a spin to this year’s RECESS, though. This year, the event will be in the style of an obstacle course race in which 20 teams will compete against each other until one team gets the gold! The teams will consist of four students and if interested, they can register here. Registration is now open and will end on Sunday, April 27th. Only the first 20 teams will be able to participate so please get your submissions in soon!

The event will kick off with a 30 minute opening ceremony full of warm-ups and fun games for all students. Then at 3:30, the event will begin and run until 5:30. At 5:30, the closing ceremony will begin with a pyrotechnic show and close with the announcement of the teams that clock-out in first, second, and third place. The winning teams will receive gold, silver, or bronze medals for their success. Other teams will receive a complimentary prize for their participation.

SAB, the USG team, and I have all been working hard on getting this event together since the beginning of the semester. Get excited for this year’s RECESS!

Until next time…

Mike

The customer is always right?

For those of you who may work in retail or customer service, the phrase “the customer is always right” is the WORST!  I know from personal experience.  I work in an industry that is a melting pot of knowledge, technology, trends that come and go, doctors recommendations, and a range of customers with a variety of needs: the running shoe industry.

Now, I first started working at a running specialty shoe store in the summer of 2001 when I was a going to be a Sophomore of high school.  I was very young and naive about pretty much everything.  I went through months and months of training about the technology of shoes, fitting customers properly, and customer service.  So, with 13 years experience, I’d say I have a pretty good grasp on the concept of customer service.  As a customer, I expect knowledge about the questions I have (or ways to get the answers to my questions), I expect that the employee is going to care about helping me, and I expect to be treated in a friendly manner.  I don’t think those are too much to ask because that is exactly what I will give my customers when they walk in my store. I rarely ever complain about services unless it truly put me out of my way, because honestly people complain about ANYTHING.

I rant about this a bit because I have been on both sides of bad experiences.  I have had shoes thrown at me, I have had customers belittle me and treat me like a doormat they can step on, all while still trying to help with a smile on my face.  It is not easy.  Last week, my mom broke the screen of her phone and it completely shattered.  She has an Iphone 4 and it is the very first smartphone she has ever had.  Now, I won’t name the phone provider, but I will explain what an awful experience it was to get her phone replaced.

It started out with multiple phone calls.  We made the switch to this company about a year ago (buying 6 phones, all with insurance).  So, replacing one hadn’t been attempted yet.  Trying to make a claim was almost impossible.  First, it’s all the security questions.  Yes. I understand there are people who try to scam but how many times to I have to tell you how to spell my name and the street I was born on.  Second, the shipping address she gave they claimed was “not a valid address.”  She gave the address to the business she works.  They were supposed to call her to remedy that.  They didn’t.  She calls back the next night (her fingers are starting to get cut because of the shattered screen) and she keeps getting hung up on while they keep transferring her to department after department.  FINALLY after the claim is made and they send her the phone the next day that was $50 more than they originally said (at the very valid address she gave them in the first place), they said she could bring it in any store to help her transfer all of her stuff.  No problem!

I first thought maybe I should go with her to make sure she gets the help she needs.  But it didn’t end up happening that way.  She spent an hour waiting for someone to help her.  When she was called the girl helping her was rude, ignorant and could care less about helping her.  My mom needed assistance in her Apple ID and ICloud.  Pretty simple request, I think.  No.  This girl didn’t even activate the phone for her.  So, she comes home with a new phone that doesn’t work.  I was pretty upset about it because it was a pretty ridiculous process already.  She went back, and I went with her.

When we walk in, my mom points out the girl who “helped” her before.  The girl walks up and asks “did you figure out your Apple ID stuff,” kind of killing us with kindness.  I told her SHE had to assist her with that.  THAT’S what my mom asked her to do.  I explained that my mom didn’t understand what she was talking about and left empty handed because she couldn’t care to give her the customer service she deserved.  Now, I was pretty heated at this moment but then when the girl had the audacity to say “Well, she wasn’t willing to work with me!”  I almost lost it! You NEVER talk to a customer like that.  I told her that I work in retail and I understand how customer service works.  When you have a customer who needs your help, you help them to the best of your ability. PERIOD.

One of the technicians came over and started helping us then and she was just amazing.  Answered all of our questions, activated the phone, transferred everything, reminded us about wiping data out of the old phone, that we have 14 days to return the old phone, and so on.  She was so incredibly nice and THAT is how customer service should be.

I still hate the phrase “the customer is always right.” Because they are not always right.  But the communication between the employee and the customer needs to be caring, helpful, and friendly. Both parties have a responsibility to be courteous of one another.  So, if I am not up to your standards as a salesperson, that’s on me.  This situation was obviously making my mom go out of her way and that girl was disrespectful to her.  When you’re rude to me, I might say something.  But when you’re disrespectful to my mom…..you better believe I’m gonna say something!!!! :)

Registration and looking ahead

It’s always just stay, it’s always just stay / Never just go, never just go…

Whenever registration tickets begin, it kind of feels like “happy Hunger Games!” for me and I’m left praying the odds will be ever in my favor. With limited spots and preferred professors/time slots, everyone seems to rush to register for all of the spots that would be most convenient to me. Luckily, this past semester, with more credit hours accumulated, I was able to register pretty early and I was able to craft my schedule more thoughtfully. With this school year winding down, it’s hard not to just look ahead at what’s to come.

There’s a famous quote by Lao Tzu that says, “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” I have an unfortunate tendency to live in anywhere but the present. Sometime, of course, it’s debilitating because I unravel things that happened over and over in my head because I’m too caught up on little details to focus on what’s happening now. However, at times it helps me because I’m constantly mentally planning ahead and envisioning what I want to do. I get very excited about imagining what I will be doing a week from today…a month from today…a semester, a year, 10 years…

Just looking ahead to next year though, I am so excited to say that I will be returning to Courtyard residence hall as a Peer Mentor again! I will be living on the third floor this time, which I think may be a little different from my experience on first floor, and I can’t wait to see what it’s like to live in a 8-person cluster for the first time. I am so happy to be rehired and can’t wait to interact with residents again—with more experience this time as well!

In any case, now that my plans are more aligned and I am registered for courses, what’s left for me is to finish off the semester as strongly as possible. I’ve been actually doing a pretty good job keeping up with things (for once!), and I’m excited to see what’s coming!

In case you had trouble registering for classes you want this time, here are some little tips for you in the future that helped me out a lot!:

1) Actually CHECK your registration time

It always surprises me how many people seem to neglect to check their time to register. UIC is usually pretty good about reminding you to check about your registration through email, so always be on the lookout for those reminders. It’s really easy and fast – just log into your my.uic.eduaccount and then click on Registration under the Academics tab. Then LOG THAT DATE into your calendar, whether that means setting a phone reminder, inputting it into Google docs, or writing it on a sticky note. You don’t want to forget and miss out on your best time to register!

2) Plan out your courses in advance!

The scheduling tab on the my.uic.edu website will have the next semester class schedules and course code numbers listed early, so it will definitely be to your advantage to figure out what exactly you are taking next semester and making sure the times will work out for you. You don’t want a nasty surprise on your registration day when you realize two or more of your classes have time conflicts, and you have to rearrange your whole course plan for the next few semesters! Write down the different time options for your classes and start with the one that is least flexible and build the rest of your schedule from there. You will have a much easier time of figuring out what class works where! In addition to that, have a contingency plan ready if needed. If the CRN you picked out beforehand ends up full when you register, it’ll be more stressful to scramble to figure out a completely new schedule on the spot. Try to have a few possible course plans mapped out for your next semester so that you might be ready to switch things around. If that proves difficult with the courses you have to take for your major, be sure to make an appointment with your advisor early and ask for assistance!

3) Know your preferences!

Will you be braindead until 10 AM? Then AVOID those 8 AMs and 9 AMs! That can be tough sometimes depending on class availabilities, but try to play to your strengths as much as possible. Some people value being done early in the day over sleeping in – then you might want to end your day at 2 or 3 PM if possible. Some people value having entire days off (I’m always envious of them!) and don’t mind going from 8 AM to 4 PM in order to have an extra day off during the week. In addition, when scheduling your classes, try to think ahead and figure out times that you will probably spend studying or participating in an activity. If you have a 3 hour gap between classes, maybe you’ll head to the gym for a workout or hit the library to get some studying done. Visualize your schedule out for each day so that there are no surprises when the semester begins.

Hopefully that makes registration a little bit more stress-free! In the end, the number one tip is to be as prepared as possible when the time comes again!

We fell in love in stereo / Then he broke my heart in stereo

(Love in Stereo - Sky Ferreira)

The End is Near……………..

Not bombarding you with opinions and information today. Instead, I’m sympathizing; with these last few weeks winding down, things sure are getting pretty difficult. Presentations and projects are around every corner, last minute Fall 2014 and graduation plans are being made, and all the while, finals are steadily creeping up on us.

It is so important to take care of yourself so that everything you need to complete can have your absolute best efforts in it. I know it’s easy to tell yourself that it’s almost summer and that you can relax then, but find some time amongst the chaos that is the final days and weeks of school. If you do (without overindulging), I can guarantee your peace of mind and grades will be in a much better state. Here’s how:

Go on a walk in the city.

Get ice cream, frozen yogurt, or any other delicious frozen treat.

Go to bed at a reasonable hour.

Watch a movie.

Read a book (for fun).

Go out for lunch.

Start a blog!

Jog around.

Shop-spring and summer wardrobe time!

(Weather permitting) lay in the grass and look at the clouds.

Go to Starbucks.

Go to Mariano’s and eat something good!

Explore the neighborhoods around UIC.

Get a bike. If you already have one, ride it around town.

Cook something delicious.

Call someone you haven’t talked to in a long time (parent? friend?)

Watch mindless (or not so mindless) television.

Play video games.

Stretch.

Get a message.

Exercise.

Do what makes you happy! Good luck.

 

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