You did good, son

It really feels good to hold events for the public, whether it is going to some space like a high school class or just nearby on campus. Being there for the whole experience is the icing on top of the cake! Watching my fellow future physicians suture for the first time was really exciting, and even though I probably won’t be a plastic surgeon (my first few sutures were quite terrible, lol), I hope that the activity instilled more motivation to pursue medicine in general. The CHI-FEST Suture Clinic, partnered with Kaplan and the U.S. Army, was a great success! I’m so proud of my pre-medical club members who participated in CHI-FEST (Community Health Initiative) as well as those who figured out all of the logistical details to make these events possible.

SFP CHI-FEST Suture Clinic with Kaplan and U.S. Army

We had a great turn out at the SFP CHI-FEST Suture Clinic Event partnered with Kaplan and the U.S. Army. We learned the simple, interrupted suture as well as the simple running suture (I did not attempt the latter because I was still busy learning the first one well without cramping my fingers with the tools, lol!).

A few things about CHI-FEST: Society of Future Physicians (SFP) has a history of holding this event annually with other pre-medical organizations to engage the community concerning health topics as well as creating opportunities to network with each other and get to know current health professionals in the field. As the vision of CHI-FEST is noble, the actual orchestration of making this event possible was never really realized for the past 4 years that I have been here. There would be a medical student panel and physician panel, which was great, but nothing larger-scale than that for the public.

This year, however, we were able to have this super awesome suture clinic at UIC, invite UIC medical students for a panel and invite UIC alumni who were physicians (and a PharmD!) for a panel, have a space for our Health Education Program and Social Outreach Program members to present their community projects / educate fellow college members on health issues and had a “pre-health mixer” where we got to meet and network with other students. Ah, it was fantastic!

 

SFP CHI-FEST - Milie's Pig Foot

My horrible suturing, haha! We used pig feet to learn how to suture with 3.0 nylon and silk. The techniques were just like the ones I see the ER doctors use in the actual ER (like if someone comes in with their skin cut from glass). My first few sutures were pretty bad (so loose), but it got better as I struggled less with the tools.

SFP CHI-FEST - Alison's Pig Foot

My friend Alison had great suturing technique! "Future plastic surgeon!" - U.S. Army representatives who taught us how to suture.

Those events spanned a hectic 2 days, and before that we also had our elections for SFP. I had to run over from the UIC Student Research Forum (SRF) to get there because the staff were still tallying up the judge’s scores. This was my first time presenting a research poster at the UIC SRF event and it was really awesome! I’ve always wanted to go and present my research, but it would always be during class time and I could not afford to miss class. This year, while it did coalesce with BIOS 221 (genetics lab), we were just doing class presentations and the instructor said I could be excused. Phew!

There were so many different topics and the judges were varied as well. My poster is basic science heavy, so when my first judge told me he was a law professor, my mind was like “Oh crap I have no idea how this will be, but here I go!” When I had two judges from the medicine department come by, that was a ton easier to talk about my research and they seemed pretty interested in my work (which got me more excited to talk about it, haha!). I didn’t win an award, but that’s OK! The experience was really fun! The reception right after presentations was nice since there was food and whatnot. I sat next to an orthopedic surgeon and we talked about charting and documentation (told him I was a scribe!). After my talk with him, I think he’ll probably look into hiring scribes for his office, haha! Too bad I can’t scribe outside of my job, but I don’t mind. I really love my scribe job, as inconvenient as the hours are with my school schedule and research schedule. I’m just happy that the semester is almost over so that I can spend my summer doing research and working in the hospital (and paying off those loans!).

UIC SRF Maharshi and Milie

I took a picture with my fellow SFP pal in front of his poster at the UIC Student Research Forum! Thanks Maharshi for the photo!

I still haven’t heard back from Fulbright yet, but I’ll definitely keep you all in touch with my plans! I have a weird feeling it will be announced when my MCAT scores come out (April 22 apparently).

Ah, what else is new…oh yes I attended the 42nd Annual Chancellor’s Student Service and Leadership Awards! I’ve never been to this event before, and I also did not know who nominated me for an award (the Chancellor’s Student Service Award) since the person remained to be anonymous on the online form. Well, whoever you are, thank you so much for the nomination! I wish I understood that I received the award (I thought it was just a nomination, so I didn’t think about dressing up all fancy like everyone else was). Three of my fellow SFP members were inducted into the Activities Honorary Society (a big deal), so I was glad to watch them light their candles! I felt very proud that they were representing the organization as well as their other organizations that they’re a part of at UIC.

42nd Annual Chancellor's Student Service and Leadership Awards

I went to the 42nd Annual chancellor's Student Service and leadership Awards and here is a picture of the inductees for the Activities Honorary Society. Congratulations to my fellow SFP Members/Friends Avni Bavishi, Elizabeth Garcia and Masood Qader! Another shout out to a fellow blogger, Michael Queroz!

Eek. Only a few more weeks until I graduate…which means only a few more weeks until I stop blogging! :( I’ll have to make my own blog I guess, haha! When I have time…which somehow I manage to make time for…

LOVE!

Re-inspired to make a difference

Last week, I attended the Chancellor’s Student Service Leadership Awards. It was my fourth time attending this event and I still leave the ceremony even more proud of UIC and its students.
I had the honor to receive the Chancellor’s Student Service Award for the fourth year in a row, as well as being inducted into the Alumni Association Activities Honorary Society. I was very happy that I was being inducted into such a longstanding honors tradition at UIC, one that stems back from the days when UIC’s campus was at Navy Pier.

Activities Honorary Society induction

However, it wasn’t the fact that I received the awards that made me happiest. Instead, it was seeing the tremendous impact and leadership skills that the students bring not only to our university, but to the greater community as well. So many students at UIC, many of them the ones who sit next to you in class or that you see in the Inner Circle, are involved in on-campus extra-curriculars and external organizations that make a positive impact on society. As I sat in the ceremony, I never knew that the girl that I always see in my nutrition class has also served over 100 hours volunteering for a hospital. Or the guy that I ate near during the reception also spends countless hours assuring that homeless people have food and that the health needs are met for children. UIC has so many students that do so much to benefit those that need it. UIC is a prime example that many college students aren’t just party loving, nap taking, lazy young adults.
The event inspired me, and I’m sure countless others, to do even more for people in need – or even just the campus! It made me remember the importance of giving back and the great feeling that comes along with it. Perhaps, instead of watching a marathon of my favorite show on a Saturday morning, I can instead go out and find an outlet to give back. Or instead of napping on a Sunday afternoon, I can go out and help someone just for the great feeling that comes along with it.
The bottom line is, I feel like there is always more that I can do for the school and the larger community. It’s important to never get lazy and content – always strive to do better and give better.
How about you? What can you do to make a difference?
Until next time…
Mike

Award and me!

Summer in the city

Winter is something we, as Chicagoans, tolerate.  At first, usually in November, we don’t mind it.  The first snow is exciting.  The kids hope for snow days.  Parents don’t.  But we can all admit that winter in November and December is easier to tolerate than in MARCH! And after days and days AND DAYS of the Polar Vortex, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that WE WILL HAVE WARM WEATHER AGAIN.  Let’s face it, summer in Chicago is pretty amazing and that’s why we tolerate those awful 9 months of winter.

Now that I can actually see warm weather in our future, I am getting really excited for the next few months.  As, I’m sure, every student is aware we have one month left of school.  Now, I like being in school and learning.  But I LOVE my free time and I am approaching the end of my last semester of classes before my student teaching seminar.  It’s a great feeling.

Another thing I look forward to is wearing shorts and tank tops.  Two weeks ago, I started an exercise and diet regimen.  The past polar vortex filled winter, I was very busy and VERY stressed.  Not a good combo for staying fit.  But now, I have the time and the motivation.  The first week, I lost two pounds and about an inch and I plan on losing more.  Not that I think I’m fat.  But because I want to feel comfortable in shorts, tank tops and heaven forbid, a bathing suit!!

Every year I go to Lollapalooza and I am sad to report this may be the first year in 5 years I don’t attend.  Partly because I wasn’t able to get tickets.  Thousands of people storm the website when tickets go on sale and buy as many as they can.  Then they sell them for profit.  It’s totally unfair.  Also, the lineup is not as great as previous years.  I do like Lorde a lot.  But I’m not going to pay some person $200 ($100 more than the website charges) to see her.  Instead, I plan on going to see Jack White at the Chicago Theatre on July 23rd and Luke Brian, Dierks Bentley, Lee Brice and Cole Swindell at Soldier Field on August 31st.

In addition to those concerts, I have a wedding, some birthdays, including my twenty-first birthday ;), I’m going to read for FUN, run some 5ks, enjoy some playoff hockey and White Sox baseball, and most importantly, I am going to relax.  After all, that’s what summer is about right?

I cannot wait for summer in the city!!!

 

Shamrock Shuffling

I turn the music up / I got my records on / I shut the world outside until the lights come on…

Happy Spring, Chicago! At last the seemingly endless winter has ended. It’s terrific to be able to walk outside in just a light jacket or even short sleeves again! I even joined some students who were studying the quad the other day between classes. It was quite a wonderful sight to see after a long, harsh winter that left most of campus empty with people rushing to get indoors all the time. I’m hoping the warmth is here to stay!

With summer approaching fast, I’m excited for many new races to try, and I’m already signed up for a few of them in the summer and the fall, including a color run for the very first time! It’s been on my bucket list for a long time now to do a color run, so I can’t wait to be able to run the Color In Motion 5K in June with a few of my friends. I also tossed my name in for the lottery for a chance to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon…I’m not sure if I’ll get lucky and be selected, but if I actually do get the opportunity to run it, I’d be so excited, although probably quite nervous as well. I remember how tough the Half Marathon was…running twice that distance would be extremely challenging.

To get myself excited and kick off the running season, I ran the Shamrock Shuffle 8K! The race
was on Sunday, March 30th, the last day of Spring Break, so I found it to be the perfect way to end my week of relaxation before going back to school refreshed. Although it was my second time running the Shamrock Shuffle, it was actuaully my first time ever running an entire race with somebody! One of my best friends Brandon and I ran the entire 5 miles together, and it was a very motivating experience. It was his first race ever, which was pretty amazing since he never an a 5K, which is what most runners start with.
I especially love the Shamrock Shuffle because while it’s more challenging than a 5K, it’s not overly strenuous like a half marathon or 10 mile run that would require weeks and weeks of training. Brandon and I ran in Wave 2, which started around 9 AM. I was hoping that starting later would mean that it might be a bit warmer, but alas that was not the case! Even though the weather is much nicer now, it was still absolutely frigid just a few weeks ago. As someone who feels cold very easily, I was shivering while I was running all the way until mile 4!

(Brandon also laughed at me because at one point I resorted to running with both of my hands tucked across my chest beneath my armpits to keep them warm. I must have looked really silly running like that, but hey, it was really cold! My fingers were FREEZING!)

I’m really proud of both of us. Even though we had anticipated that we would need to walk at some point during the race to recover, we actually never stopped or even slowed down until the finish line! Additionally, I achieved a personal landmark of not listening to music while I ran. That was a definite first for me, since usually I  am crazy reliant on my music to help me get through the tougher times during a run. I think I should try running without music more often, as it really made me focus more on my breathing and made me pay attention to my surroundings. Hopefully, with the upcoming good weather, I’ll have plenty of chances to go jogging outside and explore new running locations!

As we soar walls, every siren is a symphony / And every tear’s a waterfall

Let it be…

“You will survive without your high school boyfriend please see what else is out there.”

A short statement. Not even grammatically correct, but a statement nonetheless. And just one of many…

I see and hear things like this on an almost daily basis, whether it be through social media, in passing around campus, or on other blogs. Lately I saw it on yet another blog post so many of my Facebook friends felt the need to share and assure others that the blog was so insightful. It touched on some random amount of things every “college girl” should remember. As if “college girls” are an actual thing; what does that even mean? Yes, I, too, am a girl in college, but why is this female blog writer labeling me and so many other females as such? I don’t feel the need to classify myself as a college girl. I am a human being, and I am a junior in college.

At any rate, the reason I am so fed up with statements like this is because I can’t understand why someone would feel the need to encourage people to break up with their long-term significant others. Even more generally, I don’t understand why people try to tell other people so matter-of-factly that what they are doing with their ‘love life’ is wrong. How is it ever your place to validate or discredit someone else’s relationship?

Quite obviously, I took this personally because I have been dating my boyfriend for a month shy of 7 years. When people find this out, they are usually shocked. In fact, I can’t remember the last time someone discovered this and wasn’t completely surprised. It isn’t crazy to me- I have no idea where the time has gone. I can’t believe 7 years have passed, but in no way am I amazed that we are still together and never broke up.

When some people find this fact out, they will be incredibly bold and go so far as to ask if I feel like I’ve missed out on life or tell me that I know nothing about relationships because I have only been in one. Little do these people know that I feel like I’ve done the exact opposite of missing out on life; I feel as though my life has been so dramatically enhanced because of our relationship. I also feel like I know a lot about relationships, both from my experiences with ours in the past and present as well as from observing others as an outside party.

I do get asked many other questions along the same lines or am stuck conversing with someone who tries to tell me that things could never work out forever. The blog quote I mentioned above seems to be echoing the ignorant statements of these people.

To them, I normally keep quiet and listen to whatever dumb statements they want to make about my relationship or about long-term relationships in general. Because just as I feel they shouldn’t be challenging or doubting my relationship, I feel like I don’t need to tell them I disagree with their opinions.

Just because we have been dating for 7 years doesn’t make us weird, or too lazy to date other people, or whatever other descriptors people come up with. It means that I know that I’ve found the person I’m meant to spend the rest of my life with. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have found this during my early teenage years.

So for those out there in long-term relationships or for anyone else in general, please stop listening to people who think they know everything about dating. Think for yourself- about what makes you happy, and leave the fear of judgements behind. Whatever brings you joy is what you should do, no matter what other people (or blogs) are saying. As for the girl writing the blog to all the “college girls”, it isn’t a matter of being able to survive without my high school (actually middle school) boyfriend- it’s a matter of choosing not to be without him. Because it works great, it makes us both happy, and it just fits. And that’s the way it is. I appreciate your input, but I think I’ll think for myself. Thanks :)

As my father says

“If a liar says something 1000 times, it becomes the truth.”

Not sure if my dad got that from a fortune cookie or some Chinese proverb, but today it spoke to me a bit differently when I first heard it a few years ago. I recently went to watch Silencing Stigma: Speaking Out that a ton of awesome organizations came together to present at the JST Events Center to bring awareness to Mental Health and Disability in Asian American communities. I typically don’t go to events like these on my own, but because I joined MHDA (Mental Health and Disability Alliance) this semester, I wanted to come out and support. My reasons before for not doing so in the past (without the relation to the organization) rested on the premise that I didn’t feel that I belonged in the community here. I don’t know why I did not like the idea of hanging out with other Asian Americans. I guess I just preferred to find non-Asian American friends in my circle like I did in high school (had a great variety of people around me of different ethnic cultures). I’m pretty happy the Writing Center is a place of such diversity so it feels more like my high school-esque group.

MHDA Silencing Stigma Event

After the show was over, we took an MHDA group photo for those of us who were able to make it to the Silencing Stigma: Speaking Out event!

But, I digress. After attending the event, I really felt the emotion and could relate to many of the stories told, or at least sympathize. Circa Pintig, the group of actors and actresses that performed (+2 UIC students!), shared their mission and vision at the end, saying that no one is able to share your story except yourself. I thought that was very compelling and speaks greatly to why I even bother to take hours writing these blog posts. I swear, I scrapped 2-3 drafts before writing this one because I wasn’t satisfied with the topics. They were too cliche or overwritten in my opinion. Picking something unique and going with it, making it as personal as possible, is a task that I struggle to do when I write. However, the results are fantastic. I think I alluded to this in a previous post where I talked about “quality writing.

The performance was very beautiful. I hope that I may also assist others in sharing their stories in the future. Sometimes the greatest stories are those that have not been shared, partly because of the fear of shame and embarrassment, or sadness. I remember not being able to talk to many people about my issues in high school that forced me to bottle up everything inside. I think after accepting a certain amount of psychological oppression with negative thoughts, I became them.

The “proverb” I mentioned earlier relates to this. If you keep telling yourself phrases like “I suck. I’m useless. I’m an idiot. Why do I even live? Why does no one like me?”, well, it consumes you and you become unmotivated to do anything (and everyone around you DO notice, so they still continue to stay away from you or get mad at you for feeling that way — its contagious). I catch myself saying these phrases many times a day, and it’s very unhealthy. Most of the time I say it very lightly, and shake it off by trying to insinuate happier phrases like “I CAN DO THIS. STOP SAYING STUPID THINGS, MILIE. I KNOW I CAN DO THIS. JUST SUCK IT UP AND DO IT.” This post-talk after negativity fuels my drive, and I attribute this post-talk to how I deal with my stress each day.

I had a fellow pre-med club member ask me how I appeared stressed, but did not actually feel stressed. I told him I was boggled too. I stated that perhaps it was because I maintained a level that is right below my threshold of an actual crying-stressful-break-out-session. I was insanely stressed out sophomore year (I took like a million classes and organic chemistry was the bane of my existence) to the point that I really wanted to give up. I just wanted to throw everything around and scream as loud as I could. Yell like a baboon. But, I never think about doing those or post-that moment. I just don’t think it’s worth my emotional energy. I mean, being sad is not useful at all. Suffering is not useful. Pain is useful because it tells you something is wrong, but choosing to not do something about that pain is completely stupid and useless, and it’s a choice that many people and even I have chosen during our lives. I also just think about how I have it really good. I actually am in college and millions of people around the world would give anything to be in my shoes. I think about how I have two eyes, a nose, a mouth, ears, toes, feet, legs, etc. I’m so thankful to have those things, and I’m sure many of us take that for granted. Appreciating these things, when I look at the school work I have to accomplish and all kinds of requests by clubs or demands from other aspects of my life, I just kind of take it all and I don’t fight with these demands. I think stressing about it and being annoyed just inhibits my learning and my ability to work. And work…work is probably one of the most important things to me. I learn a lot when I work. When I study, I learn a lot too…but I have to study it many times for it to really stick with me.

So, if you take anything away from this, I just hope that whatever struggle you are struggling with–it’s a real struggle…but also know that you have managed your struggle well and if not, there are many resources to assist you on campus. I think sharing your struggle is really important, but only if you can grow from it. I have struggles, but I don’t worry about them as much as I used to. There’s always someone else out there a lot worse than me, and I hope that I can help as many people as I can who are in that situation.

Awesome upcoming USG events

Every week I usually like to write about some of my personal stories in the hopes to provide any student insight for everyone, BUT this week I want to talk a little about some cool opportunities for students that are going on courtesy of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). Check them out below!
Oxfam Hunger Banquet – Today (Tuesday, April 8) at from 5:30 – 7 p.m.; Illinois Room in Student Center East

The OXFAM Hunger Banquet invites students and faculty to experience the unequal distribution of global resources firsthand by taking part in an interactive experience that will likely change the way you think of poverty and hunger as a global issue.

Upon arriving to the Illinois Room in SCE, OXFAM Hunger Banquet guests will receive a ticket at random which will assign them to an income-level group. The ticket they receive will determine where they will sit and what they will be served.

It’s free for all students and it is intended to raise awareness on the implications of poverty through educational dialogue and a theatrical experience.

For more information, please visit here.

USG Water Bottle Giveaway 

The photo you have to like on USG's Facebook - Find me!

Trying to be eco-friendly? Need more UIC gear? Or just love free stuff? Then this is your invitation to receive a free UIC USG aluminum water bottle!

How? It’s simple, complete the following steps before April 16 at 5 p.m. :

  1. Like the USG Facebook page
  2. Like this photo
  3. Find out if you won a water bottle on April 16 (There are many available, so odds of you winning are high!
  4. Pick-up your free water bottle from the USG office

Rules:

  •  Must be a currently registered undergraduate at UIC
  • MUST like both our Facebook page and the photo – you will not be eligible if you only like one or the other
  • Must show valid iCard at water bottle pick-up

USG Scavenger Hunt

Get to know more about UIC and USG in the first ever USG Scavenger Hunt. Beginning today, register you and a partner to participate in this fun and adventurous competition.

How does it work? It’s simple:

During the week of April 21-25, registered teams of two undergraduate students will partake in a week-long scavenger hunt around the UIC campus. Teams will be given clues via email and will then partake in 10 tasks until one team comes out victorious. Tasks mainly consist of UIC or USG-related activities. The winning team of two will win one iPad mini each!

Qualifications:

  • Only teams of two are accepted
  • Team members must both be currently registered undergraduates at UIC
  • Team members must submit one registration form by April 18 at 5 p.m.
  • Teams must be ready to show valid iCards and other proof at scavenger hunt kick-off event on April 21
  • It is encouraged to have a smartphone or digital camera ready for certain tasks!

Fun stuff right? Which one are you going to partake in?

Until next time…

Mike

Dr. Daniel Miltner

Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

Dr. Daniel Miltner, a professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Mathematics at University of Illinois at Chicago, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, March 25, 2014.

I did not have Professor Miltner as a lead teacher of any of my classes.  However, I did have the opportunity to work with him in preparation for my TAP test a few years ago.  I always had a difficult time with math and had previously taken the TAP test, passing every section but math.  Before I had a few tutoring sessions with Professor Miltner, I failed the math portion 2 times.  Needless to say, I was very discouraged.

Going into these tutoring sessions, I was nervous because, if anyone can relate to having struggles with math, not understanding math concepts can easily make you feel stupid.  I finally bit the bullet and made the commitment to seek help.

Prior to the sessions and meeting Professor Miltner, I emailed him asking for extra help and he emailed me a list of resources.  A LIST of things to look over before we discussed them in the tutoring session. I could tell he was more than willing to help.

I found out that there was an entire group of students that were attending these tutoring sessions and he sought out to help each and every one.  We were all in it together.  We were all struggling with math and needed to pass the TAP test.  He focused on the math problems we all struggled with, highlighting key concepts and easy ways to solve the problems.

Unfortunately, I didn’t pass the math portion of the TAP immediately after that.  I emailed him again and he sent me another list of resources to look into, including a reminder of the work we did together.

I finally passed the TAP test last year and I couldn’t have done it without him.

As quoted from the Dean’s office: “As a faculty member, colleague, and friend, Dr. Miltner excelled in three noteworthy ways. He demonstrated the capacity for excellent mathematics teaching and the commitment to the growth and development of aspiring teachers, particularly aspiring teachers who may have been under-prepared in mathematics, but wanted to teach in the Chicago Public Schools. Dan, a dedicated and competent teacher who embraced students’ full humanity, consistently received the highest student ratings. He won the university’s Silver Circle Award for Teaching twice. Second, Dan made clear contributions to the College of Education by serving diligently and thoughtfully on committees inside and outside of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Third, Dan applied research standards of quality in the field of mathematics education as he explored research on best practices in teacher education to promote and advance the practical consequences of the research. Without equivocation, Dan was a strong advocate for strong mathematics instruction.”-Maria Makkawi

I had no idea he passed away until I received an email from the department with information about grief counseling.  “I pass his office everyday I’m at school,” I thought.  Even though I did not know him well, his loss saddened my heart.

Last Wednesday, I took a walk past his office as I usually do and what I saw was amazing…an out pour of appreciation and love on post-its all over his office door.  It showed just how many students and colleagues lives he touched. Things like “Thanks for showing us your human side,” “I know you are smiling wherever you are. Thank you for everything!,” and “Professor Miltner, you are the definition of passion. Rest in peace.”

I didn’t leave a post-it in that moment because I could not find the right words.  I was inspired by all of the things I read and needed time to process what I wanted to say.  Here is my post-it.

Daniel Miltner Obituary

UIC NEWS

 

 

Saying goodbye to the yellow umbrella

It’s crazy to think that one of my favorite shows of all time is now over, a journey through television and Netflix that is, for me, 5+ years into the making. Of course I am referring to How I Met Your Mother, the legendary recount of how the hopeless-romantic-architect-professor Ted Mosby will finally meet the titular Mother and conclude his 9 season long story to his poor two children who supposedly have been sitting on the couch the whole time. This particular post will remain largely spoiler-free in case you haven’t had the chance to watch this series (give it a try!) or the finale yet. And word about the finale has been buzzing in editorials and reviews all over the Internet lately, so I just wanted to take a moment and reflect on what the series meant to me.

Yes, after years of waiting for it, Barney Stinson bids us to do, we FINALLY saw how exactly Ted and the mysterious Mother (who still remained unnamed until the finale) meet! Although theories of both joy and sorrow (including even death theories) were flying all over the Internet, I was simply still taken aback that my favorite television series will be concluded. No more sweet bickering and resolutions of the favorite married couple Marshall and Lily; no more legendary plays from the Playbook or cited scripture from the Bro Code from Barney Stinson, who managed to trip his way into love with the Scotch-drinking, gun-weilding Robin Scherbatsky, my favorite headstrong and independent heroine on screen. This show has always been my go-to marathon show whenever I’m sad, happy, or just need some background noise when I’m feeling extra lonely. I’ve watched this show in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad. My best friends and I have adopted code names and references stolen from running gags…our lives have been integrated with slap bets, Lemon Laws, “lawyered”, condolence-fives, “single’s stamina”, Blah-Blah, the hot-crazy scale, having “baggage”…the list goes on.

All these little callbacks help make this show so legendary and timeless for me. It has always been very common for me to become extremely emotionally invested in fictional characters in both books and television shows (i.e. see Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad), and the gang from HIMYM have been in my life since my high school years. It’s very hard for me to be satisfied with any kind of finale or definitive ending for them because that would mean accepting that learning and growing with the show is no longer part of my life.

Many people make light of how Ted’s story has taken literally 9 years to tell, but in my opinion that’s not the point. Of course people want to hear the title story – how he MET the mother – but would any of us really want to give up the journey along the way, fraught with lessons and jokes and Bob Saget’s voice? What would the Mother even mean to us if we didn’t learn of all of Ted’s little mis-encounters with love, all of his mistakes (i.e. butterfly tattoo, Mosbious Designs, the re-return), and all of his lessons he’s learned – the most important of which was how to let someone go. Like many fans, I see myself in the characters of this show, which make them all the more relatable and meaningful to us.

All of this being said, if you are a HIMYM fan, it can’t be a secret that the finale was a major gamechanger (*salute*) that, for me, overturned seasons of character development and themes.

I for one will hold these characters dear to my heart for years and years to come. When I enter my 30s, I’ll look to the lessons of Barney and Ted to look for direction. When I suffer some heartbreak and need to forget my own Robin, I’ll look to Ted as well. I’m saying a bittersweet farewell – but I’m sure I’ll pull them up on Netflix again before long.

Subtle Successes

It’s sad to say that Spring Break 2014- the highly anticipated week off of school-has come to a close. The good news is we’ve survived the first week back. A week of perpetual Mondays rivaled only by the week after winter break. That’s ok, though. At least for me. My break was incredibly satisfactory and I don’t feel like I wasted a moment of it.

Here’s why this past week may have been my most satisfying spring break to date, despite the weather:

Started watching House of Cards. Really, though, this show is awesome. One of my residents has been talking about this show forever, and my boyfriend and I have been looking for a show to watch together. It really holds our interest, and since it’s a Netflix Original, you can watch episode after episode after episode. Whether or not that is a good thing is to be determined. If you’re looking for a show to get in to (and if you have Netflix), check it out.

Cooked dinner. A lot. I love cooking and baking, and this break provided me with a great opportunity to do some of that. Since I don’t get a chance to cook while away at school, it was nice to use my kitchen at home and cook so much.

Played with my puppy. My dog has an unbelievable amount of energy, which can be pretty scary at times. He’s always so happy and  playful, and when I am at school, I don’t get to see him growing up. It was really nice to be at home for over a week with him and get to play, practice going on walks, take naps, and do whatever puppies do.

Got new sunglasses. This is pretty exciting for me; new sunglasses are always great. It’s a pretty effective technique for trying to beat the winter blues, since spring never seems to actually be coming. My sunglasses have me hopeful, though.

Completely redid my room. This was definitely the highlight of spring break. Not only did I throw away old things that I didn’t need anymore- I also got rid of furniture that wasn’t even being used. My room has so much more space and is completely clutter-free. It makes me even more excited for summer and being back in my room for a few months.

Won a gift card to the bookstore. I completed the survey that the UIC Student Centers emailed out since I feel like I am always using one of the offices or in the cafeteria. I was randomly selected to win a $20 gift card to the bookstore! I’m so excited for this! Can’t wait to pick out some new UIC gear.

Went out to eat at Red Lobster. I haven’t been here in probably 10+ years. We sort of went on a whim, which was a great choice. I couldn’t even believe how good the food was, and we were just about the only people in the restaurant-pretty awesome. If you haven’t had the cheddar biscuits there, that is something that needs to happen.

Went running. Although it wasn’t incredibly often, my boyfriend and I went running. The first time we went running around the neighborhood, and then the next, we went to our town’s pavilion and ran on the track. It was actually really nice to get up at 7am and do this, but we had to stop. I really need better running shoes. That is happening as soon as possible so we can get back to it.

Didn’t do my homework. Don’t get me wrong-my plan was to get my homework done early in the week so I wouldn’t have to stress out about it. As usual, I wound up not doing it until much much later in the week. This was probably the best decision ever. I had a lot of time off of obligations and got to relax and enjoy the break. I didn’t even worry very much about my homework at that time. Instead, I took my time working on it later in the week when nothing was going on.

Drank a ton of coffee. My parents’ Keurig is pretty dangerous. I can’t stop using it! My mom buys really really good coffee flavors, so I’ve had at least a cup every day.  I’ve found myself becoming pretty dependent on the cup of coffee a day now and definitely miss the ease of that machine.

Didn’t stress out. This pretty much also falls into the homework part. I really put off most things until later in the week, which didn’t bother me. I didn’t think about things that give me anxiety or get me upset. Instead, I focused on doing things I’ve been neglecting (like cleaning my room) and thought a lot less about the other things. The break was much needed.

Visited my old internship. I stopped by the office I spent my summer at to see everybody. It was so nice to visit and catch up. I learned so much during my time there and made some great connections. Always great to see them.

Figured out my classes. My second to last time I am picking classes is this week! How exciting. It’s scary because I have to make sure I’m taking all of the exact right classes because there is no room to mess that up. I’m excited for a new semester and for starting my senior year of college (can’t believe it’s almost here…)

Spent time with my family. Always great. Got to spend a lot of time, which was great, since I’m always missing them when I’m at school.

Reevaluated things. Actually took my advice to consider if I am happy with where I’m at and if I am heading towards my eventual goals. This is still a work in progress, but time will certainly help to figure things out.

How did you enjoy your spring break? Let me know in the comments!

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