Category: Academics

Academics: majors and classes at UIC.

My favorite things

Last year I wrote one week about my favorite things. You know, like Oprah did on her show that you wished you could have gotten tickets for since she always gave her audience what she presented.  Just like that…except without free stuff ;).   We all have our favorite things whether they’re cosmetics, clothing, shoes, places or people.  Without further ado, here is my new list of favorites.

#10 The “Happy” music video. This song actually really does make me happy.  And the more I learned about Pharell, the more I started liking him.  The song and video unleashed an enormous trend of groups of people making their own video of people dancing.  Did you know there is a Youtube video of the song that plays over and over for 24 hours?  24 hours of Happy.  Every hour is a different person dancing.  But more than just a great song and video, it has a great message.  Sometimes, I think we tend to focus on the negative things going on in our lives instead of being happy about the positive things.  Guilty! Here’s to being happy about the good things in life and not letting the bad things take over.

#9 Women’s Brooks Adrenaline.  Over the many years of being in the running industry, I have tried many different running shoes.  I used to wear the Asics Kayano, which I still love but I couldn’t get them.  Not to mention they are about $150 now.  So, I tried the Brooks Adrenaline and wow…I couldn’t believe I have been selling this shoe for so long and never really gave it a try myself.  It’s supportive, lightweight, and cushioned.  It’s a great stability shoe that has been one of the top sellers in Runner’s World magazine for years. The price point is better at about $120, and just like the Asics Kayano, I feel like I’m running on air.  I always say “Running is hard. It can be uncomfortable.  So, invest in the products that make you comfortable, (and for the sake of tying things in here), invest in the products that make you happy. :)

#8 Riley’s Gathering Place in Elmhurst.  I have been a regular at Riley’s for a couple years.  It’s owned by the Riley brothers and definitely is a great neighborhood bar.  Many of the patrons are, in fact, neighbors and friends.  Whenever you go, they always make you feel part of the neighborhood.  Wednesdays are Trivia nights, Fridays they have a Fish Fry, and Saturday is, of course my favorite, karaoke.  The always make you feel comfortable and cheer you on for singing your heart out.  Many of the waitresses are now good friends. No wonder I keep having my birthday party there.

#7 No7 Quick Thinking Wipes.  I came across the No7 brand while browsing the Target cosmetics department.  The target cosmetics department is kind of like a black hole.  Once you get in, you cannot get out without a cart full of nail polish, makeup, and hair products that you don’t need.  In this case, however, I was looking to refill my usual makeup remover wipes.  I like using them before I wash my face because sometimes, face wash doesn’t get all the makeup off.  And there is nothing worse to me than going to bed with an unwashed face.  I took a gander at the No7 brand and decided to give it a try.  The No7 Quick Thinking wipes are a little more expensive compared to something like the Pond’s makeup remover wipes, but I do like them better.  They have an entire line of skin care products that I would love to try once I get rich.  But for now, I’ll stick to the Quick Thinking Wipes.

#6 Gogroove Bluetooth system.  I have a 2006 Honda Accord.  Great car, except for the fact that there is no Auxiliary port OR (heaven forbid) a tape deck.  There was no way I could play music from my phone or Ipod, until now.  I have to give my boyfriend the credit for this one because he was the one who found it.  It plugs into the lighter and you set it on a station that is clear, as you would with any bluetooth system, and it comes out so clear with no or very little static.  It also has a feature that allows you to switch from the music to answering a phone call without touching your phone.  You simply press the phone button and the microphone turns on and its a great hands-free way to talk on the phone while your driving.  I love it.

#5 Express (Minus the leather) Jacket.  I absolutely love this jacket.  I had been wanting this jacket for so long but it costs a pretty penny, like many of the things at Express.  Every single time I went there, I would try it on and try…JUST TRY to justify paying for it.  I always left without it.  But if you have the chance to take advantage of their sales, you can usually get away with some cute stuff without giving an arm and a leg in return.  This jacket is cute and goes with pretty much anything.  The pockets have zippers as do the sleeves.  My boyfriend got it for me for my birthday (because he is AMAZING!) and I get compliments every time I wear it.

#4 365 Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil. The first time I heard about coconut oil was last summer when my brother’s girlfriend suggested I try it as a tanning oil.  She used it for tanning and said it did wonders.  So, this year I went to Whole Foods and got some of my own.  There is actually an entire list of things you can do with coconut oil.  I use it for moisturizer, tanning oil, and it can be used for bug repellant, too! I’ve been using it for a couple weeks and can tell the different in my skin.  #3 Hunter Boots. A couple months ago, I was on the hunt for rain boots.  I tried a bunch on at DSW and Target and could not find a pair that looked good, felt good and wasn’t insanely expensive.  Well, I gave up the search and kind of talked myself out of looking due to it not really being in my budget.  I have seen people wearing them and every single time would think “Hunter boots!! I want some!!!!”  Well, I ended up getting a pair for my birthday (once again from my amazing boyfriend).  I tried them on….and it.was.like.heaven.  They were comfortable AND super cute!  They can be used as winter boots too because they also make boot liners!  I am indeed a lucky girl.  I can’t wait to wear them in the rain.

#2 Sam Smith. Sam Smith is a guy who just came into the music scene recently.  The first song he came out with was “Stay with me,” and I immediately loved it.  I have to admit, I don’t know much about him but his voice is just absolutely amazing.  I’m always interested in artists who have a different sound.  And he definitely has a uniqueness to him.  I know when I really like something, it gets it’s own Pandora station on my phone.  The other day, I saw a video of him doing a cover of Whitney Houston’s “How do I know.”  It blew me away. I would definitely recommend checking him out.

#1 David Sedaris. After finishing all the Gillian Flynn novels in a week, I needed a new book or series to get tied into.  A co-worker suggested “Me talk pretty one day.” As she was telling me one of the stories in the book, she could not contain her laughter just thinking back to how funny it was.  I decided to go to my neighborhood book store, The Book Table, and get it.  I ended up getting two.  “Me talk pretty one day” is so funny.  I have not laughed out loud at a book since I read “Good In Bed” by Jennifer Weiner (which I would also recommend reading).  The way he humorously describes his life makes it easy to relate to with everything from your life, love and family…..and all the awkwardness that comes with them.  I haven’t finished it yet, but once I do I will read the second book I bought called “When you are engulfed in flames.”

 

So, there you have it…these are my favorite things. <3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3

the Competitive Foot

The summer I was entering my sophomore year of high school, I was walking around Downtown Oak Park with a friend.  I came across an athletic shoe store called the Competitive Foot.  I had always played sports and thought maybe I’d check it out.  After walking around the store for a few minutes, I noticed there were a couple high school kids working there.  “What a great place to work!” I thought.  I didn’t have a job at that point but wanted to get one so I could have my own spending money. So, I asked for an application.

Thirteen years later, I am proud to say am still an employee.

The business started in 1974 and was the very FIRST athletic shoe store in Illinois!  The store was started by Tim and Tyna Eggert and has served loyal customers, athletes, and the community through numerous races, fun runs, and many other events for 4 decades!

They worked hard and now, it’s Tim and Tyna’s turn to relax and enjoy retirement.  The Competitive Foot will be crossing the finish line of its 40 year run this July.

I am honored to have been able to work for such a great institution for as long as I did.  Through high school, college, other jobs, and grad school, I never left and there is a reason for that.  I developed some great friendships, learned an incredible amount about so many things, and I truly feel lucky to have grown up in such a great place. And that’s just it.  I grew up there.  It’s home to me. It’s home to many.

I am sad.  An era is ending.  A chapter in my life is ending.  13 years.  13 amazing years.  But, a new chapter is beginning, for all of us at the CFoot.  We were all blessed with a really great boss who worked around everyone’s crazy schedules, sought you out for input on various things, and trusted your judgment.  We were a family.  We are a family.  I love my CFoot family and I will never forget the times we had.

We teamed up with Share Your Soles to collect used shoes for people suffering from natural disasters like the hurricane in Haiti and Hurricane Sandy.

We had sidewalk sales every summer, with tons of tables full of shoe bargains.  Playing music and having fun with employees.  It was always a good time.

And sponsored many, many races.

Most of all, I think I will miss my co-workers.  My family.  Thank you for being such great friends.  I know this isn’t good-bye and we will see each other often, but it will surely be different not working together.

It has been an honor and a privilege.

Thank you, Competitive Foot.

Mirror, mirror

A positive body image is something all females want to achieve.  Or is being skinny really what females want to achieve?  For as long as I can remember, I have been confused about if my desire to be thin is healthy or harmful.  Is it healthy because I choose to eat salad all the time when I’d LOVE pizza?  Is it harmful because I look in the mirror and think I’m fat? It’s summertime and those unhealthy thoughts run rampant.

I think my problem with body image was created in my teens, as most body image issues are.  I read all the magazines girls love to read, portraying actresses and models and how they got their beach body.  “Here are 10 steps to getting a great body.”  Lie.  “(Insert name here) worked really hard to get those abs of steel.”  Not completely truthful.  “Top beach looks to get that guy you want.”  Ridiculous.

All of my life, I have been extremely active.  In grade school and the beginning of high school, I played sports, I ran races, and I never felt bad about my body.  That was the life.  For more than 10 years, I have been up and down on the scale, cried that nothing fits me right, and tried countless “diets.”  And I have to admit, at 28 years old…I’m not sure I’ll ever fully “love” my body.  Is that something that’s even achievable?

I feel bad for my boyfriend sometimes.  He can never say the right thing when I ask how I look.  He does know how to make me feel good.  But I’m sorry to say, that will never be enough.  At this age, my mind is already warped by what I’ve seen on TV, in magazines, and ESPECIALLY how clothes are made to fit.  I can no longer shop at certain stores because I do not have the body type that represents the clothes they sell for thin young girls.  Sure, I can go for a larger size.  That only makes you feel worse because those clothes weren’t designed for larger sizes.  And before you know it, you find yourself in the fitting room wondering where you went wrong.  You come out upset and your boyfriend asks why you never come out in the clothes so he can see and tell you how good you look.  You leave the store with nothing but a lower self-esteem.

I’m not a big girl.  I weigh about 140 lbs.  That’s nothing to be ashamed of.  Why do I feel like I am?  When my schedule freed up after practicum, I finally had time to work out.  I had a pretty rough and stressful winter and did not care much about my health.  I ate and drank whatever I wanted making excuses like “I’m stressed, I need this.”  It may have felt good at the time but it sure doesn’t feel good now. It’s been two months of working out 6 days a week, most weeks.  I am not nearly the size I thought I’d be.  And it’s not just losing lbs.  I want to look tone. I want to feel comfortable in shorts.  That’s all.  So, in that sense, that’s not unachievable and unhealthy.  It can be when you obsess over it like I do.

And I’m not alone.

The “thigh gap” controversy in a Target bathing suit ad is the root of the problem, I think.  Girls are shown that this is what you should look like. This is how you will fit in the clothes you want to wear.  It’s demeaning and it’s dangerous.  I will never have the thigh gap.  I’m OK with that.  I am making progress on feeling good and healthy about my body.  But it’s an uphill battle as I’m sure it is for many females.

I recently went into a clothing store and noticed that many of the tops are short, the crop top look. It’s cute if you can pull it off.  Maybe the look is to have your stomach showing, I don’t know.  And there is nothing wrong with wearing this style, but many girls don’t want to expose their belly.  What options do they have? I’m one of those girls.  I just don’t fit the body profile of high-waisted jeans and short tops.  Why is it all I see in stores?

I guess I’m just tired of being shown what I should look like, sold clothes that weren’t made for my body, and feeling bad that I’m not a size 2.

I’ve had it.

My mission for myself is to be as healthy as possible, physically and mentally.  I am going to continue working out daily because it makes me feel good and NOT because I’m trying to reach a certain weight.

I shouldn’t feel bad about myself after leaving a fitting room.  No one should.

‘Til next season

Well, the Blackhawks are out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Sigh.

We were so pumped after Game 6.  My boyfriend and I went to Union Park Bar and Grill to watch it because it was an official Hawks bar.  It was cool because every time the Hawks scored, the owner would put play our goal anthem, Chelsea Dagger, like they do when you’re at the United Center.  We were on our feet.  Not one person was sitting in the place.  The game was great, especially because we ended up winning in the end to force a Game 7.  It was a great night. Then…we were to wait until Sunday for Game 7.

Then Sunday, June 1st came….Game 7.  We had the advantage because it was at home and the Hawks record with Game 7′s was pretty clutch.  I think everyone was a bit nervous but when we scored two goals right in the beginning, we felt a bit more confident.  Then the Kings came back.  Then we came back.  Then the Kings tied it.  Then we scored.  Then they scored.  Then….OT happened.

SIGH. AGAIN.

I’ll never forget the 2013 playoffs.  We made it to the Stanley Cup final and we were up in the series.  Everything seemed to fit into place.  They ended up winning the Stanley Cup on my birthday.  You can’t get any better than that.  I’m not married yet so I can say this….. that.was.the.best.day.of.my.entire.life.

The intermission in Game 7 between period 3 and OT was probably the most nerve racking 15 minutes ever.  I thought, “We got this! Right? They have this? Anyone? Anyone?”  I didn’t know what to do so I started brushing my teeth.  Yeah..weird I know.  I sat in the living room with everyone as I was brushing my teeth as OT started.  Everyone sat in disbelief when the Kings winning goal went off of our own defenseman into our net.  Crushing. Totally crushing.

I barely slept that night.  I couldn’t believe it.  As the mocking text messages and Facebook posts started pouring in, “Are you in mourning?” and “Are you taking a bereavement day?” I decided to take a day off of Facebook and try to mend my wounds.  I was not only a zombie the next day, but I was a zombie with a broken heart.  Trying to see the silver lining in all of this (if there even WAS a silver lining), I woke up with a sense of clarity a few days later.  I am not ashamed of my Hawks.  Yes, they made some mistakes.  Things need to be tweaked.  Seabrook and Sharp may be on the chopping block and I used to hate when anyone from our 2010 championship was traded.  But now I know changes need to be made.  Our defense needs to get shaken up, that’s for sure.  I don’t blame Corey Crawford.  He CAN be inconsistent, but when he’s on, he’s REALLY ON.  They will never get rid of Toews or Kane so we have that to count on.

I think the silver lining in all of this is….we have more recovery time until next season.  And i’ll be waiting.  Go Blackhawks!!!.

Gillian Flynn novels — possible spoiler alert

One thing that is great about having free time is that I can read as much as I want…for fun. The first three books on my summer reading list were all Gillian Flynn novels. I finished them in two weeks. They are page-turners to say the least!

Gone Girl Synopsis: I had heard a lot about this book and I decided to make it my first book.  Each chapter is spoken from a different character, mostly going back and forth between Amy Elliot (Dunne)’s diary and her husband Nick Dunne. Gone Girl is about Amy Elliot Dunne and the rocky relationship with her husband, Nick.  They met in New York living as writers.  She writes personality quizzes and he writes for a magazine.  Due do his mother getting sick and eventually passing away, they move to Missouri.  On their fifth wedding anniversary, she disappears.  Nick goes through a wave of emotions while he embarks on Amy’s previously planned anniversary treasure hunt, hoping it will give him clues to her disappearance.  But as time goes on, faith and trust begin to disintegrate from his family and the community making him a prime suspect in her disappearance and assumed murder. His apparent affair with a former student does not help his innocence.

I read this book in two days.  Page after page, trying to find out what happened to Amy.  When you find out, it all starts making sense.  Is she alive? Is she dead? I admit, I think I was a bit disappointed in the end but it made me understand this couple’s toxic relationship was what made them thrive.

Real-life realization: I’m so incredibly grateful that my boyfriend isn’t crazy.

Since I loved it so much, I decided to get another book by Gillian Flynn.

Dark Places Synopsis: The main character, Libby Day, talks about her family being murdered when she was just a mere 7 years old.  Her mother, along with her two sisters, lost their lives in a supposed “Satanic ritual sacrifice,” while she survived while hiding.  Her brother also survived, with no alibi, making him the prime suspect because people thought he was troubled.  Ben, her brother, was found guilty and sent to prison for 25 years for a crime she isn’t sure he committed.  A group of people obsessed with notorious crimes try to convince her he was not the murderer.  Libby takes on their requests to investigate what may have really happened on that fateful day.

This book is also a page-turner.  Throughout most of the book, I was pretty sure he had nothing to do with the murders but all of the clues pointed to him.  Towards the end, I began to have my own suspicions and was pleasantly surprised.

Real-life realization: My brother’s actions, yet sometimes questionable, would never include Satanic rituals of any sort.

The only other book by Gillian Flynn is Sharp Objects.

Sharp Objects Synopsis: A reporter by the name of Camille Preaker is assigned to something that no one who escapes from a difficult childhood cares to face, returning to her hometown to cover the murders of two little girls.  Camille has a very difficult relationship with her controlling, obsessive mother and has to immerse herself in her childhood memories at home where her mother has a new husband and a daughter (Camille’s half-sister) that she barely knows.  Camille talks to old friends, old enemies, and meets a new young detective eventually reopening the closed doors to her troubled past to solve the crimes of the two young girls.

Great read! My gut feeling from the beginning turned out to be partially correct.  I enjoyed this character because she seemed so real.  Dissecting her own troubles opened her eyes to find a link between her childhood and these young deceased girls.

Real-life realization: My mom is not nearly as crazy as Camille’s mom. Phew!

Loved the first three books on my summer reading list and I’m looking to start the next.  Stay tuned!

 

UIC medical

The past few weeks have been a bit stressful filled with doctor visits to UIC Family Medicine Center.  I have never really had any health issues my entire life except for being diagnosed with “sports induced” asthma in my early twenties (whatever that is…).  During my yearly visit to my female clinic, the nurse practitioner who saw me noticed a new mole that I had noticed maybe in the last year or so.  I have tons of birth/beauty marks all over my skin, but they aren’t raised on the skin so I was a bit concerned when this new one popped up and was clearly raised.  They say if something new pops up, that you should always get it checked out to be safe.  My nurse practitioner reminded me of this and also referred me to the UIC Dermatology Center.  I figured I’d give them a call since I am lucky enough to have CampusCare and can easily have it figured out.  That was my initial thought.  Then as I was leaving, she caught me in the hallway and asked me to sign the referral and make sure she covered it all with me.  Well, I tucked the referral in my purse and decided I’d read it on the train.  When I took it out later, I saw the info she already gave me and up in the corner it asks to specify the reason for referral.  It said “Serious/Potential Malignancy.”  WHAT?  THAT part was not mentioned to me.  Or maybe she implied it when she said I needed to get it looked at.  Or maybe there was no other option available to describe the situation.  I’m not exactly sure but as I was on the Green Line heading west, I definitely was freaking out.  I was heading to work and had to somewhat compose myself.

When I first called the Dermatology Center, they said they couldn’t get me in until June. Two months? Are you kidding me? Well, I called my mom to ask her advice and she said just to make the appointment and try not to worry.  I called back and was able to somehow get in the next week which made me feel much better.  They asked if I had a referral and I said I had one from my nurse practitioner from my female clinic.  I guess I was under the assumption it could be taken care of immediately.

The next week was my appointment.  My mom took the morning off of work to come with me only to find out when I was being called to check in that my “referral” wasn’t a referral they accepted and would need to see my primary care physician first.  OK.  So, that office happened to be the floor below the Derm center.  I walked down there and had to make an appointment for the next day.

The next day, I went back and saw my PCP and finally had the first bit of relief.  He told me it looked more like a skin tag than anything and he would put 2 orders in the system for me; one for a consult with Derm and one for removal.  Then I had to make ANOTHER appointment back up with Derm which was the following week.  At this point, I felt a bit better but thought I’d go just to see what they said.  The first doctor was great, nice and pretty much said the same thing my PCP said.  However, he told me I had to come back again to have it removed.  I asked him to double check because clearly my PCP put in the two orders because of the first misunderstanding with the referral paperwork.  That’s when the other “main” Dermatologist came in.  She was very short with me and as I tried to explain the situation, she shushed me.  I mean…I…had…no…words.  I thought, “Well, I will be complaining about THIS to someone later miss sassypants.”  Anyways, turns out when the receptionist checked me in, she clicked the “consult” not the “biopsy.”  So, I had to make ANOTHER appointment to have a biopsy.

Thankfully, I had two different Dermatologists for the actual procedure.  They were both so nice and comforting.  I was a bit nervous when they brought me in the procedure room and I had to put a gown on.  They also gave me some relief in telling me it does not look like signs of malignancy but they’d send it in just in case.  I was in and out in 15 minutes.

After all of the paperwork and scheduling misunderstandings, I still have to be grateful for the last couple doctors I saw AND that it was covered under CampusCare.  When I received an email to take a survey, I made sure I complimented the doctors that deserved it and gave a comment about the other doctor who shushed me, a grown adult in her late twenties who was nervous and confused about what was happening.  Two weeks later, I’m doing ok and the mole is gone and the site is healing.

Again, I feel very lucky, even through the hiccups, that the UIC Family Medicine Center took care of me.

Summertime and the livin’ is easy

I finished my last official classes at UIC.  Two years of papers, reading research studies, attending a 3 hour class after a long day at work, presentations, and so on, I am done.  I am approved to student teach in the fall.  All of my paperwork is pretty much done, aside from getting finger printed and TB tested (yearly protocol for all people working in a school or around children). I passed my content area test, which I talked about in a previous post.  I had gotten the flu the night before my test and it was a total nightmare.  But I passed and I no longer have to worry about it.

This summer I am going to read as much as I can.  I already finished my first book within a few days.  But I do also want to continue reading about children with special needs.  Starting in August, I will be in a self-contained special ed preschool room in a school in Oak Park.  I went there just the other day to observe a bit and get a feel for the flow of the room, which will probably change next year but it’s always good to immerse yourself in every aspect.  The 9 children in the room range from ages 3-5 and also range from severely disabled to high-functioning.  I was only in the room for the morning session that was about 3 hours long but the kids made me smile the entire time.  I know I have chosen a field that is not easy.  But I also know I have chosen one that makes me feel worthwhile. I will be graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago in December with a Masters in Early Childhood Education with an endorsement in Special Education.  I am very excited for my future and I will be blogging until then, sharing my experience of student teaching and hopeful job prospects. 

For now, I have 3 months to relax and prepare myself.  Paying off credit card bills, working a lot, and saving as much as I can will be the boring stuff I have to do.  Reading books, relaxing in the sun, working out daily, eating healthy, painting, enjoying the weather, hopefully celebrating another Stanley Cup win, and embracing my 28th birthday will be in my plans of fun and relaxation for the summer. I can’t wait.

Happy summer and GO BLACKHAWKS!!!

Denis Savard- Go Blackhawks!

In the past five years, my cousin and I have gone to countless Blackhawks game, attended different events like the Blackhawks Convention, the Blackhawks golf outing, and of course following the cup all over the city.  In all those events, I have only met a couple of the players (past and present). At the Blackhawks golf outing a few years ago, my cousin and I were walking around the course and all of a sudden a golf ball came out of nowhere and landed right next to us.  We thought, “Wouldn’t it be funny if it was Victor Stalberg’s ball?”  We liked Stalberg a lot.  Turns out it was his ball.  He comes walking over looking for his ball.  I was a bit star struck but my cousin said, “You’re ball is over there.  It almost killed us.” It’s something we still laugh about.

Last week, I went to Champps in Lombard to watch Game 3.  Denis Savard, a retired Hawks player, was there signing autographs.  I was very excited because even with ALL of my devotion to this team, I had yet to get an autograph.  THIS was my chance.

My boyfriend and I got in line and I asked to take a picture with him.  Initially, my boyfriend didn’t want to ask for a picture, but Savard called someone over to take the picture of the three of us.  He was so nice and personable.  I told him about when they won the cup in 2010, my cousin and I cabbed it all over the city to find the cup but never caught up with it because it was moving so fast.  We eventually took a trip to Toronto to see a game and saw it at the Hockey Hall of Fame.  He said, “You know there is a website that will tell you where it is everyday.”  I replied with, “Well, I mean right when they got back with the cup and everyone was drunk taking it from bar to bar.”  He laughed, signed my jersey and gave me a signed picture of him.

Savard was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1980.  He played with the Hawks from 1980 to 1990 and then he was traded to the Canadiens for Chris Chelios.  He then moved to the Lightening, but later came back to the Hawks in 1995 and would eventually retire with the team he began with.  In 1997, he retired from hockey and started coaching for the Hawks.  They retired his number (#18) in ’98 and he was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in ’00. (Denis Savard).

Here’s hoping I meet many more!

                                                    GO BLACKHAWKS!!!!

A few things before I go

This is it, UIC. My last blog post, ever (unless I come back for medical school, then maybe you’ll see me again). I’ll be honest. I don’t know what to say or write at this moment. Should I talk about my finals? My pre-finals week? How my graduation ceremony will be? That my family expects me to come home, but I don’t want to because I want to be here and work in the city?

I’ve gone from K-12 to finishing my fourth and last year in college in a flash. Left to my own devices, I hope I continue to grow and learn as I have been taught over the years. As I mentioned in my last post, I have decided to restudy for the MCAT a third time and dedicate way more than I did my previous two times. Sure, it was naive to take it when I did the last two times. I think the pre-med mindset and characters around me pressured me into the idea of applying and taking it as I did. I’m so close to graduating and moving on with my uncertain plans, but I’m excited to be selfish for once and use the time for things I used to enjoy, like reading, drawing, playing violin or piano…erhu here and there…volunteering in my free time…so, a two-year gap doesn’t sound so bad if I spend it well with things I love to do!

I’ll still be working, or at least I plan to fit it all in. After completing my Honors College Capstone paper, I most definitely want to stick with research! Hopefully there is space in my current lab to take me in as a part-time worker. I’m sure if that doesn’t work out, then I can apply for another research lab position (I would have a B.S. in Biological Sciences for my qualifications, haha!). I’m keeping my ER scribe position as well, although I’m still worried about how I will get home at 2am. Maybe I can find a place in the hospital to sleep overnight…I don’t know yet. The crime alerts are occurring closer and closer to campus and it makes me nervous about living in the city. Too bad Campus Housing doesn’t let non-UIC students live during the year, haha! I’m sad my graphics and web aide position will end there. I can’t believe I’ve worked there since my freshman year in September! Everyone I worked with at that time have gone / graduated now. I’m really happy I lived on campus for the duration of my education here at UIC. I’ve been looking at apartments nearby and it’s really stressful! I think about transportation, security, cost and everything people normally do…I clearly have a lot to learn still.

Oh man, and the Writing Center. I was offered a job there over the summer too, and I really want to do it! But, I need to figure out the research / scribe scheduling first…and most importantly my MCAT schedule. I have to choose a date, and then start formulating a master plan on killing that test. I wish I could just live where I worked! Things would be so much simpler. There are so many great people I have met there, and it’s going to be super sad not being in the presence of the other tutors, staff and writers.

Polish! Did I tell you we had an oral exam last week? I was so worried because our professor told us we could use ZERO English and ZERO hesitation (no um’s, uh’s, etc) and…that was hard. I’m so happy I studied a lot for it since I got full points! Woohoo! I’m also super sad I won’t have formal instruction anymore for Polish (unless I disguise myself and come back in fall for POL 103, haha!). I plan to adopt a Polish grandmother to keep up with it (Polish friends, beware!) and maybe take up learning Spanish finally in my gap year. Maybe even Cantonese. My Mandarin is still pretty good, phew.

Let’s see…my classes this semester were really great! Genetics lab was fun and Human Physiological Anatomy II was packed with information (and great information that will help me when I become a physician!). I encourage any pre-health student to take it. Happy with my choices, and hopefully this will swing my GPA up. :D

There’s so much to say, and I’m sad I don’t have time or space to go in deep all of my experiences (because I’ve expressed it over time in my previous posts, dear readers!).

GAH! Still in denial this is my last post. I don’t even know how many readers I have, or if I have responded to everyone’s comments! I guess I should leave some ways to keep in touch?

Yes, that’s what I’ll do. This is not goodbye, dear UIC and my readers. While I don’t have a current blog I’d like to publicly advertise, I don’t mind sharing my Twitter! You can follow me at @lilmissmil. I made that username account in like fifth grade, so please don’t judge. xD At some point I’ll advertise via Twitter if I begin blogging hereafter…

Still frozen here in my thoughts. My mind is drawing a blank! Perhaps a few life lessons or things I recommend you all do before you graduate? I don’t know. Sure, what the heck. Here it goes.

A FEW LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED WHILE IN COLLEGE

  1. Do not date anyone your freshman or sophomore year (school is your priority and relationships are just going to suck the life out of you – you paid money to go here!). Once you’re a junior or senior, you’re usually more aware of what your goals are and hopefully someone you are interested in can share that goal with you.
  2. Don’t drink? Don’t smoke? Don’t attend parties? Neither do I and that’s totally OK! I’m proud to say I have never been to a college party or drank alcohol or smoked anything before. I love my liver and lungs.
  3. If you need help, there are plenty of great people to talk to. The UIC Counseling Center, your family, faculty, other students…or me! Bottling up your emotions or shame or whatever burden that brings you down and sinks you in your chair needs to come out! Rant, swear, boogie, I don’t know what it is that will do that, but for me talking things out with someone with my issues keeps stress off my back.
  4. Time management is the best skill to have.
  5. Multi-tasking, similarly, is the second best skill to have.
  6. Motivation plays a large role in your success (if you can see it, you can achieve it – how awesome is that?).
  7. Being honest in everything you do will make things easier. If you make a mistake, admit it and move on! Don’t make it again, unless it takes you three times to understand why you made the mistake. Then, practice makes perfect.
  8. Stuck in a crummy situation? So are those who don’t even have a chance to go to school. I’ve said this many times before, but at the end of the day – you are in a better place than most people in this world, and if given a choice, they’d switch places with you in a heartbeat.

I’d say more, but my brain wants to shut off because I’ve got finals to study for still (funny because I attended my graduation ceremony already). It doesn’t feel like I’m done with school, and that’s probably because I’ll be learning new things for the rest of my life.

All right UIC. This is it. I’m off! To infinity and beyond.

See you around,
Milie Fang

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!

Page 2 of 3512345102030...Last »