Saturday, 31 December 2011

My secret New Year's Resolution...

I have a confession to make. One of my new year's resolutions is to lose a bit of weight. Though, I won't admit it to anyone I personally know (exception: boyfriend). I'm too embarrassed.

I know. It's the most cliché resolution you can possibly have. I'm afraid that if I tell others they will LOL forever at the ridiculousness of my goal.

I have technically been pursuing this goal for a little over a week now. And I use an app called "My Fitness Pal" on my iPhone. It helps me track my calories, water consumption, and exercise habits. And, in just a few days, I'm going to enrol in spin class to help me on my way.

So far, so good.
3 lbs lost this week (though, probably "water weight" I've heard...).
But it's motivation enough to keep going.
And, with my interview fast approaching, I want to look and feel my best. The only way I feel like I can do this is through the energy gained from a healthy lifestyle.
I hope this works!

Questions for you readers: What is your resolution? Do you even have one? Have you ever broken a resolution? Or... have any of them worked? Please share!

Friday, 9 December 2011

"You want to be a what?!" - Reactions when telling strangers you want to become a physician

When people ask you what you want to become in life, what do you say? Here's a reproduction of a conversation I recently had with someone I recently met. A slightly older person.



Me: "Hi, nice to meet you!"

New person: "Nice to meet you too! So, what are you doing right now? Are you a student?"

Me (smiling): "Oh no, I'm not studying. I'm taking a break right now"

New person (obviously confused): "Oh, so what is it that you are doing?"

Me (still smiling): "I work as a research assistant."

New person: "Oh, good heavens. Is that what you want to do in life?"

Me (consolingly): "Hm, well I really enjoy learning about health and medicine. So I want to go farther in that field."

New person (eyebrow raised): "Meaning... you want to be a nurse?"

Me: "No, sorry. I explored that field and it's just not for me."

New person (persistent): "You know, they make quite good money."

Me: "Yes, I know. But I like my current research more."

New person (confused): "Oh... so that's what you'll be doing for the rest of your life?"

Me: "I'd love to do research throughout my life. I'm applying to medical school and want to continue doing research."

New person: "Wait, medicine?! That's a tough one!"

Me (sigh): "... Yup."

Doing Right: A Practical Guide to Ethics for Medical Trainees and Physicians

Disclaimer: No, I have not been sponsored at all for those post. Though, I'd be quite shocked if I ever were asked to sponsor anything... maybe Nikes running shoes? I think you have to be fit to sport those. Which, I mean I'm small, but fit I am not. Hm... maybe there's still time for that? But Christmas is coming, so I don't know how much of a possibility being "fit" is for me in the upcoming weeks! Not that I could become an all star athlete in the next couple of weeks anyway. But, I mean if I did, then would Nike want to sponsor me? Ever? Hmm...


Okay enough rambling! And onto the post.


I've been recommended the book, "Doing Right" written by Philip C. Hébert, to read prior to the interview. Here's where you can find the book if you are interested: http://www.amazon.ca/Doing-Right-Practical-Trainees-Physicians/dp/0195428412/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323467324&sr=8-1


Amazon has a great deal right now: $60.71CAD and free shipping!

That was the Canadian deal. Lucky Americans get it for even cheaper ($54.50 USD) through Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Doing-Right-Practical-Trainees-Physicians/dp/0195428412/ref=dp_ob_title_bk


Sounds pretty good to me. And it is the latest edition. 
Maybe it will make me into a more ethical person. 
Hopefully...

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

In the case that anyone wants to discuss Canadian applications...

... make sure you register on the Student Doctor Network.

Here is the main thread for those interested in Canadian Med School questions:
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/forumdisplay.php?f=89

Not sure how long the premed forum will be down for, but while everyone is waiting the above site can be a great place to facilitate discussion.

Also, for those applying to UBC medical school, make sure to check out the UBC admissions blog.

Good luck to everyone writing exams! For you all, hey, this might be a blessing in disguise as you don't have your procrastination station for the time being!

Premed101 has crashed?

Attention all premed101 forum regulars. Does anyone know why the site has crashed? Or have any idea how long it will not run for?

It's a pretty important time right now, seeing as it is interview prep season.

Talk to me, guys.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Interview (My 100th post!)

Just a quick update for my blog readers. Thank you all for being so encouraging! Glad to report I will be interviewing at UBC in February. And, if you are interviewing at UBC, I might see you there! How exciting! I will post little tidbits about how I am preparing for the multiple mini interview (MMI).

I have not started to prep and am trying to devote my time to excelling at my research and will start to obtain MMI prep resources in the next couple of weeks.

Also, the more busy I become with the admissions process, the worse my writing becomes. I had to polish this post several times and usually I can write reasonably well with only one attempt. What is going on? I  feel a bit more rushed than usual. And, my hand-writing is becoming messier. I've always prided myself on beautiful hand-writing. It used to look like comic sans font, now it looks like italicized comic sans font. Not good.

P.S. I also realized that this is my 100th post. Yay! And more to come.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

The Seven Things I Love About Being A Premed


Here you go! And I'm choosing not to write descriptions underneath, because I know I will become "sentimental Cerena" and I'm not sure if you're ready for that level of mushiness. (Though, if you are, leave a comment below and I just might).
  1. Meeting my boyfriend in university.
  2. Living on my own (and with cat).
  3. Building lasting relationships with professors.
  4. Making contributions, though minuscule, to the medical field.
  5. Making premed friends.
  6. Feeling like I'm pursuing something I love.
  7. Having hope that I'll make it through.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Comics

Hey everyone!


It is time to acknowledge the metaphorical pink elephant in the room. I have to apologize for the delay in drawing my comics. Photoshop has been a little wonky on my new computer, which is pissing me off to be honest. If you would still like me to draw comics (I'm pretty sure this is the case as a lot of my page views direct towards the "Study Tipz" comic), and if you don't mind the comics being pen/pencil drawn for now, then just click on the "Like" button below.


Merci!


P.S. Do you like my new website layout? I DO!

Monday, 19 September 2011

The seven things I hate about being a premed

Disclaimer: Blog readers, I think you can tell from my website that I'm a pretty happy and upbeat person. But, today is not the day for me to be shooting rainbows out my rear like a nyan cat. Today I am doing the unthinkable. I am entering rant-mode a la Miley Cyrus with the seven things I hate about being a premed. Hopefully, this post will be a tad more bearable than Cyrus' singing.



  1. Seeing my own health decline as I study health.
    You know this is true. If I were to input simple variables such as waist circumference, BMI, sanity, and health courses taken as a premed and if I were to plot them as a function of time, I would get a plot resembling the above graph.
  2.  Coffee is no longer a foe but a friend. 
    Well, not really a friend. More like the type of person you really don't want to spend time with because they nag you, or are clingy and needy. And you really wish they would go away, but they go to the same places you go to and hang out with your friends. So, you figure, why not?
  3. I'm not the smart kid any more. 
    In high school, I had the third highest average of all the kids in my grade. In university, every person in my class was the cream of the crop at their high school. Result of this? It's like Darwinian influenced premed insanity.
  4. Premed lingo.
    So, you're talking about how stressed out you are about VR and PS, and your friends are looking at you like you're swearing at them in robot language. And it's all because of premed lingo! And, due to a fair amount of stress, I must add. It is definitely a possible day ruin-er. For those of you who don't know the ins and outs of premed lingo, click here.
  5. Lack of a summer due to studying for the MCAT.
    So, April comes around and you are psyched for summer! You put in all of the hard work and effort to do well, and do well you did. And what is your reward? MCAT! The test that can make or break a premed (in more ways than one). To read about the experience I had writing the MCAT, click here. It will probably scare you, though.
  6. "So, are you in medical school? No? Not yet?"
    Yes, I am alluding to questions from outsiders. Specifically, those that either:
    a) know little about the application process
    OR
    b) are your 'competition'
    With (a), these are typically well meaning people and the question is simply a bit irksome. With (b), the question can be thrown at you in an evil, maniacal way. And it is definitely something that can bother a premed to hear, though the trick is to brush it off your shoulder if possible.
  7. Oh, the uncertainty!
    Will I get in? Won't I get in? WHO KNOWS?!

    So, there is my rant of the day! And I am planning on entitling my next post as, "The seven things I like about being a premed." Look out for rainbows and nyan sounds :)

Organic Chemistry - Would you like study tips?

Are any of my readers taking organic chemistry and would like some study tips that I can share with you? I have had several upper level organic chemistry credits and have been student assistant for organic chemistry for around 2.5 years, so I am contemplating doing a write up for you all on some effective ochem study tips.

If there isn't a large ochem reader base, though, maybe I'll ask this question again next semester.
Please comment below answering the question, "Would you like ochem study tips?"
Please state a simple "Yes" or "No."

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Poll results are IN!

It's so lovely to see that the majority of my audience is addicted to feeding my fish.






Feeding fish: so addictive, yet much safer than smoking crack.
Glad to keep you all off the streets.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Maintaining relationships as a premed (from a female perspective)

After talking to several other premeds who have found it difficult to keep a boyfriend or girlfriend, I've started to ask myself the following question, "How difficult is it to maintain relationships as a premed?" Personally, I have been together with my boyfriend the entire duration of my undergraduate education. We took the same classes, asked each other for advice (though the questions were mostly directed his way), and motivated each other to do well. We always had a companion to share our personal thoughts and feelings that we wouldn't necessarily share with others in our same degree. This enabled us to be brutally honest about how we felt regarding certain professors/courses/cafeteria food. And, our personalities match very well so during our undergrad, though as difficult as it was due to our rigorous study schedule, we always relied on each other for laughter, smiles, and best of all, love.


But it can be difficult at times to manage having a boyfriend as a premed, isn't it? I've always heard girls say that  they would never choose a boyfriend over their career. But isn't there a way to satisfy both options? I think it's so important to understand what one wants out of life. For instance, my boyfriend would like to have a little girl one day and become a father. And, while the idea of having a baby absolutely terrifies me, watching our own little girl grow up is something I would love to do.


There are a lot of technicalities that get in the way. For instance, what do you do if your boyfriend needs to go away for further education? Or, what if you do? And, what if you're caught in limbo for years not knowing what the next step will be? How do you decide what to do then?


There are so many questions that pile up rapidly. And, it's impossible to see it's peak. But there is one thing that fills me with optimism. As a neurologist in her 30s, the supervisor I work for has been able to maintain her relationship with her high school sweet heart. Though, her education has lead her to many different universities in different provinces, her relationship was able to stay strong. I asked her once what her secret was. And she told me that if you really love someone and have a strong foundation, then you can make it work. One day if the time comes where I have to make that move, I'll ask her exactly how she was able to do this. And, if I do, I'll be glad to share the secret with everyone.


I would love to hear your thoughts, as always, so please leave a comment below if you'd like to share your personal perspective.

The Rush

With everything that has been going on, I can definitely feel the last minute anxiety rushing in on me! What am I anxious about, you ask?

APPLICATION DEADLINES!

Dun, dun, dunnnnn...

I can feel the pressure sinking in on me because I am currently getting high volume private messages on this little gem asking me "how are your applications going?": http://www.premed101.com/forums/index.php

Here's a simple answer to that question. They are a walkin'... and they have a little bit of a gimp at the moment, to tell you the truth. Not necessarily the crowd favourite at the racing tracks. But, let me tell ya... Slow and steady wins the race!

I hope.


Quick update :)

Looks like the tumour is benign :)! And will be closely monitored.

Phew. Relief!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

"Sun"day

Hey everyone,

Just a quick update. The biopsy will be performed tomorrow and today is a day of hope. And to be grateful for everything around me. My friends, my family, the sunshine outside, good food, my boyfriend, just everything. Because life is short. And we all need to take a step back and be thankful for everything we have. I know Thanksgiving is in October, but today is a day where I feel especially grateful to be alive. And healthy.

We all need to stay positive in the midst of unfortunate events. Not just for ourselves, but for our loved ones. Because this thing called "life" - it's definitely worth fighting for!

Love you all and thanks for the support through the past few months,
<3 Ce

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

What's goin' on :)

Right now, everyone is trying to remain calm as we wait for the biopsy to be conducted. It has been postponed and will take place on sept 12th so, hopefully all goes well. Good news is that the doctors believe the tumor is benign! I'll report the results when they come in and any other events that occur. I'm so glad I visited them this weekend. They are doing a great job handling the news. And, while we wait I plan to have a few light hearted and fun posts for you all. Thank you for riding along this roller coaster with me. It's been a rocky summer. Cautiously optimistic, Ce <3

Friday, 2 September 2011

Update

MRI scan results are in. Brain tumour was found :(
Leaving right now with my bf to make a 7 hr drive to be with my sis and her bf.

Biopsy will be performed today. 
Crossing my fingers that we hear good news.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Hoping for the best

I received some terrible news last night. My sister's bf suffered three seizures and was rushed to the hospital. Unfortunately, the CT scan showed a tissue mass in his brain. He has been checked out with an MRI earlier today and we're just hoping for the best. I may end up driving there for the weekend to care for both of them.

Sorry everyone. I was planning on writing a humourous post for you today but it will have to wait until I know what is going on.

I'll provide an update on his condition. It's been hours since the scan was conducted, so if all goes well we should know soon. Hoping for the best possible outcome. He's such an amazing person. And trying to stay strong.

<3 Ce

Monday, 29 August 2011

Got my...

...makeup on :)

outfit looks great.

nails are polished.

eyelashes are curled.

smile is on, cheek to cheek.





Nothing is ruining my day.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

The "PAUSE" button is on

You have decided to apply to medical school. Either, this is your first time applying or you are a repeat applicant (nice to meet you - we are in the same club). You decide to look at the application timelines, provided for you on the admissions websites of the school(s) you are applying to. Let's look at "School A" just for fun. You submitted your application in August, just in time to meet the application deadline. Everything has been taken care of - MCAT scores, transcripts, verifiers... it's all been covered, in a thin, warm blanket of caution. Only one thing worries you now. You have to wait until November to see if you will be interviewed.

The uncertainties plague you:
"What if I do not get an interview?"

"What if this was all a waste?"

"Am I smart enough to get in?"

"What's going to happen to the stethoscope my sister gave me?"

"Am I tall enough to get in?"

Okay, so the last two are Cerena specific. But still! All the uncertainties. They are frightening. The best way to combat this while living life on "pause" is to keep busy. Honestly, simply, and truly. I have been rejected in the past. Life goes on, I assure you. It is very important to have a backup plan. I'm not telling you to lose faith in yourself. I'm quite sure that you all can become great doctors in the future. But, until then it is so important not to lose yourself along the way.

Medical school isn't everything. They are so many ways to share your gifts and talents (many of which you haven't even unveiled yet). You can pursue a master's degree, take on a job that you love, or join local clubs for your cause. Just don't become so obsessed with medical school admissions that it interferes with your life. It's not worth the stress.

With any other major life decision, I've found that the bigger the decision the more stress that comes with it. This is only natural. The trick is to balance things out, even though the "pause" button is turned on. Stay happy, stay healthy, and until you get the news from medical schools, be the best person you can possibly be.

<3


Saturday, 27 August 2011

"MCATs" - a rant

Hey everyone!

First, a quick update. I cannot believe summer is nearly over! Mother nature, you have cheated me with your lousy weather and barbarous recall of my beloved pets. I understand you must be rather pissed off about the whole global warming thing, but could you stop picking on me for the time being? Please and thank you (p.s. your northern lights are sexy.)

In happier news, life is starting to get back on track over here in Cerena's world. I've started to become quite busy with medical school applications and data analyses for my research. And, I love it! Being busy is essential for me. I thrive when being faced with responsibility and heavy workloads. I just love it. Naturally, I am seeking a second job to fill up my evenings and weekends. I'll keep you updated on this.

And now that the update is done, it is time to start my rant.
Why do premeds write phrases such as "I am writing the MCATs"?

I do not understand this at all. MCAT stands for "medical college admissions test." When you write the MCAT, you are just writing one of these monsters. MCAT is singular: one test with 4 components. Unless you are referring to multiple exams, or the "MCats" which is a band in Acton, MA specializing in 60s pop music, it does not make sense to use the plural form.


Does it bother you when others use the term "MCATs" incorrectly? Am I just overly picky? Please share your comments.


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Quick update - Bye, bye Persia

Hey everyone.

Unfortunately, things with Persia did not work out. She is not doing well, so she is going back to the breeder who will take care of her until she is better. From there, she will be nursed back to health and hopefully find a loving family who will address her special needs. I won't go into details since I'm still a bit sensitive, and I've disabled comments for this post as it is all still fresh.

Once I find out how Persia is doing, I will let everyone know! I will be cheering for her full recovery. And though her home does not rest with me, she is a very sweet girl and I feel lucky and happy that the breeder is taking full responsibility. I can tell she truly cares about her babies and have zero hesitation
working with her again in the future.

Let's all send the little one good vibes! She is flying home on Friday.

As for me, I will be taking a little break before introducing a new kitten in my life. And when I feel ready to try things out with a new furbaby, I'll let you all know.

Lots of love,
Ce


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Downfall of graduation: my friends have moved away.

I had a serious heart to heart with my boyfriend yesterday, and I realized that many of my friends have either moved away or have graduated. Leaving me to be friendless. Let's repeat: friendLESS. How did this happen? I don't have any Gleeks around me. No one to watch musicals with. I'm alone.

And I've come to you all for help. Because I really need advice on how to meet and become friends with new people.

I know, I know. I'm the blogger. The one that is technically supposed to be the bucket o' good advice. But I have begun to realize there's no one around me who likes show tunes that I can hang out with any more. No more Marry Poppins singing fest. And, honestly, I see little point in going onwards without a bloody sing-a-long.

Is it possible to make friends at my old age? 
(I ask this to the void, age 22, while clinging onto a wooden cane)

How does one do this? The wikiHow page states:
Join an organization with people who have common interests.
My interests include baking, cooking, watching musicals, art, and petting cats. 

Join a sports team.
My hand-eye coordination is either non-existant or inexplicably hates me. I only play one sport, tennis, and it's rained for 47 days straight where I live.

Talk to people. 
I'm actually very sociable. Once I start talking, it's very easy for me to channel something of common interest between myself and that person. Though, for some reason, it does not often lead to being friends. Rather, acquaintances. 

Initiate a get-to-gether. 
Now, I think this is where I fail. Miserably. For some reason, I always seem to fall short at this important step.

Readers, if anyone wants to help me out, it would be greatly appreciated. How do you initiate a get-to-gether with someone you've just met? How do you know if that potentially new "friend" really does like you? Do you initiate the next get-to-gether? Do you text them saying, "That was fun. Let's do it again!"

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Graduation has left me with few friends. And it's bizarre to be this way considering how sociable I am. If I can have just one friend who is a Gleek - just one, I'd be happy for a very long time. Though, this might just have to remain my boyfriend's role (yes, my awesome bf, who I watch foreign films with all the time. Warning - never watch film called "Zebraman" because the title sounds funny).

© Li Chan
www.exocomics.com

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Weekend ending

Hey everyone,

I hope that you all had a good weekend. I'll write a little snippet of what I have been up to. I've become cat obsessed. Really. I try to be a good premed and do my neurology paper readings and my medical school applications. But I keep thinking of Jasmine and my new cat Persia and how I can't wait to meet her. Which, inevitably leads to watching cat videos for 5 minutes, 10 minutes... 120 minutes. (I blame, The Mean Kitty. It is so fun and adorable that it's sickening, really.)

Honestly though, isn't that what summer is for? Procrastination, a bit of work, and some summer fun?

I hope so.

So, let me know what you have been up to this weekend. I spent lots of time enjoying it with my parents who visited my place and with my boyfriend.

Back to work tomorrow. :)

Friday, 8 July 2011

Sending off transcripts

Ahhhh I love this feeling!
You may all think I am weird for saying this, but it is so satisfying to send off transcripts to medical schools. I have only sent mine off to UBC at this point. But it gives me the tiniest sense of accomplishment.

Checking off tedious tasks on a to do list = awesome.
I think I should write my list out on here sometime in the future. Writing things on this site really makes tasks stand out as permanent for me


What do you guys think? Do you have a blog and have the same feeling? Do you keep to-do lists



Thursday, 23 June 2011

Bye bye sweetie.

I said goodbye to Jasmine today.
I will miss her very much.
Thanks everyone for the support during this difficult time.
Jasmine and I greatly appreciated it.

I will likely be taking a break from the blog. It will take some time.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

My cat Jasmine: update.

Jasmine's condition has not been improving. Also, she has not been very active lately. She will usually run up to me when I call her. For now, she is staying put. Bone infections are so horrible, I had no idea they could be this bad. I have to feed Jasmine myself and even give her water with a syringe. Luckily, my mother is here visiting and is helping me with all of this.

I truly wish she would get better. She's had to deal with so much lately. Although, our vet has told us there may be little we can do for at this point except give her the antibiotics.

I will talk to him, though, to see if we can try injecting the antibiotic to the site of infection to give better penetration.

Exhausted,
C and J

Get a job! (Sha-na-na-na)

I'm just going to say it. It is LATE where I am. And I can not get to sleep (I blame the insomnia - curse you). So, naturally, blogging seems like a great idea while I'm in my cranky and tired state!

I get asked all the time by premeds I talk to, "What should I do for the summer?"
My reply is "Get a job!"

This is very doable. Do a google search for job openings in your area, or even better, for job openings at the school you are attending and you should get some results. Write a cover letter (unless the specifically request that you not do this). Employers like to write what they are looking for in an applicant in the job description. In your cover letter, make sure you show the employers how you satisify all the things they are looking for. For instance, if they want someone who is a "self starter" then you need to let them know that you can start working all by yourSELF.

I apologize for the overgeneralization, but some premeds I have talked to aren't fond of getting a job (I'm not sure why this is - possibly a desire to put more effort in volunteer activities?) but a job can be a great way show you are responsible, dedicated and committed adult. The extra cash is also pretty nice! And if you are looking for things to do this summer, getting a job is a great idea.

Sorry for the shouting in the post. I want to get the message across and I am fond of the CAPS LOCK key and "!" symbol at this hour. Ctrl+b just doesn't have the same effect right now.

Sidenotes:
What did you all do over the weekend?

"The girl with the dragon tattoo" is my NEMESIS this summer!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Poll results are in!

This really was a close one:












Out of 32 voters, 40% prefer cookie cake. Something I've never even heard of, but it sounds okay.
I apologize if I sound biased. I was rooting for cookies.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

My promise to readers

Ever since starting this blog, I have always wanted to make this announcement. And I am so driven today, that yes, the time is right. This was actually my very first post here, but I saved it until today.

I am making a promise right now that if I am to gain acceptance to a Canadian medical school within the next three years, I will start a youtube channel dedicated to documenting my experiences as a medical student. From the day of acceptance (yes, I'll be recording THAT day) to graduation. And I will post my videos here as well. I know, this seems like a long time from now, but I have had this personal goal ever since I began my first year of university. And, since I'm writing it down, there is no turning back. Until then I'll remain anonymous. And I'm so thankful you all read the blog!

I'll be applying to medical schools this cycle.
Let's see what happens :)

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Very short animation.

I decided to try out window movie maker and create a short animation! With more time and patience I hope to get much better at it. See my little character "Ballo" in action :)

Enjoy.

video

Friday, 10 June 2011

If you have a chance to follow your dreams and don't, you'll regret this.

I'd like to tell you all of one girl I met a week ago at an organization I volunteer for. I was just ending my shift, she was just starting, and since I love to meet other people I introduced myself. She asked me if I was a student, I said I just graduated with biochemistry, and she squinted a bit and said "Oh, I am so sorry you had to do that."

I told her I am applying to medical school and her face lit up in an omg I want to be a doctor one day too kind of way. So, I asked her what program she was in and she told me nursing. I asked her what specialization she was doing, and after seeing her facial expressions earlier and suspecting she wanted to be a physician, I asked her if nursing was her eventual goal.

She told me that it was always a dream of hers to go to medical school but everyone around her told her that it was impossible. So, she was settling on nursing. This made me so sad.

I asked her, "How are your extracurriculars?"
She told me, "I work during the semester and I volunteer in the summers."
I asked her, "How are your marks?"
She replied, "They're okay."
I said, "A- or above?"
She replied, "Definitely! Even higher than that!"
I said, "Do you have clinical experience? How do you like being around others?"
She said, "I just love it. I want to do more than just nursing, but everyone told me I won't make it into med."

It was clear to me that this girl was given horrible advice the whole time. Her marks, her personality, her extracurricular, everything was a fit for medical school! I had fallen victim to horrible advice in my past several times and understood that this girl was settling on something her heart was not in.

I told her, "Look. Whoever told you that you cannot become a doctor either wanted to be one and failed or is jealous of you. You are a great applicant from what I see, and you're only in your second year of nursing! Write the MCAT, apply to _____, ______, _____ etc. and you might not be accepted the first time but you keep trying. If it's your family holding you back, don't tell them. It's not their passion. It's yours. Here is my email, you send me a message if you ever need advice."

I can't even tell you how happy I was that I was able to connect with her that day. And, I will be working with her on studying for the MCAT/applying to med.

If you've ever been told by others that you cannot do something, and you know in your heart that you can, don't listen to the negativity. Unfortunately, it's very true that some others will try to limit you and prevent your from following your dreams.

These people should have no say in your life. It's your future, your goals, and your mental state. You all need to find your personal strengths, like the girl I mentioned in this post, and after you have found what your passion is do it to the best of your ability. Do whatever you find is your passion, whether it be medicine, law school, teaching, art, speech pathology, physiotherapy, baking, the list goes on! Don't ever give yourself the opportunity to grow old and look back saying, "I could have been a(n) _____ but I settled, and I don't even know why."

Some of the people in my life who have encouraged me the most are those who have said, "No" to me. I thoroughly enjoy proving others wrong. And the best part of it is that I am chasing my dreams at the same time.

Good luck, everyone.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Miss Jasmine :)

Short post!

Jasmine's T4 levels are well under control! She is currently sleeping on my couch with one paw drooping downwards :)

Her bone infection does not look great, but we have decided to try out another antibiotic. I'll let you all know how the new antibiotic works.

Today's thoughts

Illness.

It seems to swarm in on you. Even if you are not the one directly affected, if you have a loved one who is suffering from disease it can be difficult not to be emotionally involved. Disease can be a silent predator. Though one might think they are fine one day, tomorrow might not be so uneventful.

Sometimes our approach to illness is solid. We personify it and attack it as if it were an enemy. And, if the approach appears to work, we feel empowered. At other times, the illness is unforgiving. A day goes by, a weeks goes by, and then you find yourself several months later being told by that person in the white cloak who not long ago was a stranger to you, "The problem is only getting worse and may not be resolved."

This is not an easy thing to handle. We try our best. We try to remain optimistic. "May not be resolved" doesn't mean that it will not be resolved. And we try to take the guidance of professionals as best as we can.

In the end, we can only do so much.

I think that as future doctors, having compassion for others will be a great asset. Though there should be a professional boundary, it is very difficult to face illness and your words will carry quite a lot of weight for your patients.

Having lost a close family member yesterday, I was reminded of this fact. As well, my visits to the vet and familial illness have showed me just how important a compassionate and open healthcare professional is in patient recovery.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

I have no original thoughts today.

Nothing. Nada. Niente. But, I want to share something with you all today. I must.

I hope you all will enjoy this lovely fellow who is so much fun to watch.

New poll.

Curious to see what you all think. You all never fail to surprise me.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Poll results are in.

I hope you all are sitting down. Turns out the vast majority of my readers are premeds.

Thanks for voting, everyone. Expect to get your free unicorns in the mail soon.
Note: they only come in pink.

Jasmine has become a physician?

Check out my Jasmine comic page to view this nonsense:
http://www.secretlifeofapremed.com/p/comic.html

Jealousy is eating away at me right now.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Jasmine update!

Hey everyone,

For those of you who don't know, my beloved cat Jasmine who I draw in my artwork/comics has been sick lately. Here are the related posts about her illness:


Jasmine, her surgery



We saw the vet today. The vet was not happy with the state of her infection, so on Thursday she is going to have an oral swab performed, have the bacteria cultured, and from there be assigned a newer, more specific antibiotic.

Also, she's going to do a second T4 test to see if the lowered tapazole dosage puts her at a healthy T4 range.

I'll let you all know how Friday goes!

Academic excellence and med school admissions

Being a premed has been quite a fun experience at times. I have met and talked to many others who have the same interests as me, and that has been such a rewarding experience. However, when meeting other premeds I get asked a lot about my stats. Mainly, my GPA and my MCAT scores. I guess this is sort of a way for premeds to rank our relative competitiveness.

I have a question for readers regarding the application process.

In a field with such uncertainty (i.e. medicine), why do medical schools regard academic excellence in such high regard? Is this warranted? And, most importantly, who do you think medical schools should be accepting? 

I have my own personal opinions, but I'd like to hear your answers. I don't want to bore you all with my response. I could write a book on it (and might end up doing this one day).

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Do volunteer activities because you like them.

I'm going to tell you a true story right now that should nicely provide rationale for my subject title. Here we go.

I had a guy friend who was very nice and caring. Several years ago, he thought he might want to be a physician one day. His mom greatly supported this and forced encouraged him to volunteer for a homeless shelter. With little enthusiasm, he agreed to do this and got ready to volunteer. Now, he had never volunteered before and wanted to make a good impression so he wore his best shirt, best pants, and an expensive watch to look well kept.


Readers, do not dress up to the nines when volunteering for the homeless!


It was a catastrophe. The people he was helping looked at him like a spoiled little rich kid helping them to write down a few scribbles on his resume. My friend, though very caring towards those he is close to, really did not want to volunteer at this place at all. He did it because he thought he had to and this experience did not help him at all.

If you're going to volunteer, make sure you want to do it. There are lots of benefits in helping others, but if your heart is not in it, this will likely show and someone will catch on. Eventually.

Secret Life of a Premed: My experience writing the MCAT

Secret Life of a Premed: My experience writing the MCAT Repost:"Warning: This is not intended to be an uplifting story about writing the MCAT. If you'd rather read a blog about how amazing writing the MCA..."

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Summer Reading

Hey everyone,

I picked up "The girl with the dragon tattoo" by Stieg Larsson this evening. I'm only 18 pages in, and it's a little hard to get into but I'm sure it will pick up. Typically during the summer I like to work at libraries and do summer programming for the kids. Last summer I remember the librarians discussing this novel quite a lot, and it seemed racy so I picked it up. Who wouldn't?

I'm curious to know what you all are reading for the summer. Please leave the novel(s) that you are currently reading or intend to read for the summer in the comment box below!

C

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

I don't like grumpy people

End post.

Premed lingo

Us premeds are so odd that often when talking to us, there are words that we say to normal, non-premeds that sound completely bizarre. If you are a non-premed and you hear these words, your initial thought is probably this person scares me or this person needs a life.

Here are some premed vocab words so, if you're ever in an awkward discussion with a premed and have no way of getting out of it, you have some knowledge of their inside vocab.

MCAT - a horrible test that takes hours to write. It stands for "Medical college admission test." Super premed keeners will tell you they "like" the MCAT. Be cautious if anyone ever tells you this.

Adcom - an intermingling of the words "admission" and "committee." Specifically, with regards to medical school admissions committees when used by a premed. Some perceive adcoms to be intimidating. I don't, and if there are any adcom members reading this, vote Cerena for med!

OCHEM or Orgo - organic chemistry, a class which most premeds hate due to intense memorization. 

E.g. "That orgo test killed me, bro!"

or "I thought I was done with ochem, but it's going to be on the MCAT."

BS, PS, VR - these are different sections of the MCAT. BS stands for biological sciences. PS stands for physical sciences. VR stands for verbal reasoning. 

Be cautious when talking about the last one, "VR," since it's an instant conversation ender (and possible tear-jerker) to tell a premed their VR score is too low.

CASPer - In the premed world, the CASPer stands for "Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics" used by McMaster medical school at the time the application is submitted. For non-premeds, you probably read this as "Casper" as in the friendly ghost, and thought I left the caps lock on at an awkward placement.

GPA - grade point average. Although, not unique to premeds, it is frequently discussed between premeds when discussing medical school admissions. 

OAS - online admissions system. Medical school applications are performed online.

E.g. "Today the UBC OAS opens up. I have been waiting for this moment since I was 3 years old."

ECs - stands for "extracurricular activities." Personally, I do these because I enjoy them. For others, it's a way to get accepted into medical school. 

Pubs - the plural form of publication. When talking to a premed or researcher, this is something we all strive for. Some like to brag about having them as they are so hard to come by.

E.g. 
Person A: "So what have you been up to this summer?"
Person B: "Writing the MCAT, submitting my application, and doing some research. I've already got 8 pubs."
Person A: "Holy crap."

IP/OOP - "In province" and "out of province," respectively. Some medical schools favour applicants from within that province, thus making out of province applicants have a much harder time to gain admittance to. The look on a premeds face when they say they are applying OOP is usually quite a sad thing to see.

Stats - a word used between premeds to quantify how competitive they are. Specifically with regards to MCAT and GPA scores (sometimes non-academics as well). It is perceived by many that the better a premed’s stats, the more likely they are to be accepted into medical school. 

Person A: "Your GPA is 3.98 and your MCAT score is a 44 T?! You have killer stats!"
Person B: "I know..."

ABS (as requested by kid) - stands for "autobiographical sketch." The ABS should provide adcoms with a brief summary of who you are, what your aspirations are and your previous achievements. Some like to include quotes or reflective stories that help paint an image of the applicant in a favourable fashion. If you are a friend of a premed, it is always a nice gesture to offer to read their ABS and give constructive advice.

LOR (as requested by kid) - stands for "letter of recommendation." You do not want an LOR to get in the way of med school acceptance as a poor LOR, or one that is inconsistent with what you have written about yourself. Make sure you have a good relationship with whoever is writing your LOR and that he/she has a good impression of you. Neglecting this may lead to a poor LOR.

Ex.
Adcom: "You said in your personal essay that you went to Taiwan and saved the lives of children. But your supervisor said he only saw you once, at a the Taipai Bar. 

... Next."


If you have any more terms/phrases, please feel free to leave them in the comment box :)


You might also like: 

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

"LOL"

I'm not using this term any more. I think it has completely lost its meaning.

"lol" is supposed to mean "laugh out loud." The irony of this is that I highly doubt anyone laughs out loud when they type these three letters. If anything, it sounds a bit platitudinous when I read it at times because it is so overused. Unless you put an exclamation mark at the end of it, I register this phrase as "I find what you said slightly amusing... I guess" or "I really wasn't paying attention to what you just said."

This is not targeted at anyone in particular. And you are free to use this when talking to me, void of judgement. But, I'm going to stop reproducing little "lol" babies on the internet. Pest control, really.

I myself overuse the smiley face emoticon. But, I like it. And I won't stop using it. :)

If I myself ever use the term "lol" please call me out on it. "haha!" is what I'll be using when I find something funny.

I hope the "lol" abbreviation disappears... one can only hope.

End rant o' the day.

C

Monday, 30 May 2011

Awe-struck

Official polls results are in. It was tight, but most you find Calvin preferable to hang out with than Hobbes by 57%.

Issues with comment box

Hey everyone,

There were some issues some members reported to me about not being able to comment on the blog. Which is sad to hear, considering I want this blog to be more of a community and would love to read your comments!

Please take the time to leave a comment at the end of this post so I can verify that everyone can write comments.

Thanks!
C

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Convocation Day

Convocation was a wonderful and scary experience. Wonderful because it was a day to share and celebrate with friends and family. Scary because I sat there at times thinking, so now what? A feeling I had to shrug to the back of my mind, which was fairly easy to do since there was alcohol everywhere I looked post-convocation ceremony.

It's such a cool feeling to graduate with friends you've made along the way. Before I went up on stage I had about 12 of my friends bump my fist and give my high fives to pump me up! How awesome is that? One graduate actually went on stage with a Vancouver canucks banner and said out loud, "GO CANUCKS, GO!" which definitely woke everyone up and was awarded with much excitement.

Unfortunately, our ceremony had to stop at a certain point due to a medical scare. One of the members of the audience had an epileptic seizure - his mother was in hysterics. To everyone's surprise, a physician, paramedics, security, and the ambulance brigade were present at the ceremony and helped the young man out. Glad to say that he was responsive and seemed to regain his health back at the end and was able to receive medical attention.

After the ceremony, there were many pictures to be had! We went to my boyfriend's house for lunch to wine and dine. Following the lunch, we had a great time recounting our past 5 years as biochemistry undergrads. So many late nights studying, so many examinations, and yes. They are now over! The overwhelming feeling that came over us was the fact that we had shared something special together. We had all of the same classes and shared precious memories.

That night we had dinner at the fanciest restaurant in town. Everyone had delicious food, drinks, and dessert. I'm not ashamed to say I ate about four creme brulee ramekins!

I will make a post soon about my plans/thoughts for the future as they have changed a little bit in the last few days. For the good.

Have a happy Sunday, everyone!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Convocation tomorrow!

So it just sort of hit me that tomorrow will be the day I graduate. Four and a half years of biochemistry are finally coming to an end. It was such a hard degree. I wanted to give up so many times I am not able to count it. But, I stuck with it and at the end of the day I'm proud of myself. Could not have done this without my boyfriend who was there every step of the way. We took all of our classes together. My earlier posts about genies and dreams were dedicated to him (and of course my Jasmine, who spent countless hours on my lap while studying). He was always the person I could rely on to help make me through the day :)

Dedicated posts, so you all know what I am talking about:
Dare to Dream
Genies

I will post more exciting details about convocation tomorrow. And hopefully it won't be too mushy, but knowing me there's a good chance it will be filled with mushiness. I warned you. Hmm... not sure if I will want to post my actual photos but I have a feeling I'll try and find some creative way of sharing them.

Congrads to all of us grads! And good luck to everyone who will be graduating in the future! It's definitely worth the struggle.

All the best,
C

Monday, 23 May 2011

Fat Elvis

There is a cat who is in love with me and his name is Fat Elvis. Actually, I've recently found out that this cat is a female and not a "he." And her real name is not Fat Elvis. But that is what I've called this cat since the day we met.

Fat Elvis lives on my boyfriend's street. Often when I visit my bf's house, this cat sees my car and waits for me at the front door and waits for me to say "hello." Elvis likes to roll around on the driveway and sniff dandelions.

One day, when studying retrosynthetic analysis at my boyfriend's house, I had to put down my notes on nitro compounds because of a strange gurgling sound. Something to the effect of, "Grrr rawr rawr gurble gurble." Outside, face to face, was Fat Elvis and my bf's cat Toby. I tried to break up the potential catastrophe by telling Toby he looked and sounded like a grumpy old man. He usually gets embarrassed and stops the noise soon after.

Enjoy photos of Elvis and Toby the cat.

Toby the cat
Fat Elvis

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Finding research opportunities

I realize that there are some premeds who would like some help finding clinical research. I made a great big thread on the website premed101 about this and I`d like to share it with everyone.

Research FAQs:
http://www.premed101.com/forums/showpost.php?p=563675&postcount=3

Here is the entire thread, with contributions from other members that answers frequently asked premed questions:
http://www.premed101.com/forums/showthread.php?t=47062

Note: This is a site targetted towards Canadian medical students, but have a look at it as many of the answers apply to premeds in general.

Good luck! Now, everyone, become doctors.

Retweet if you like this!

Beware of dork.

I'm what you would a way-too-excited-about-everything personality, especially when it comes to dorky things. On my first day of kindergarten I remember dancing around the house with my brand new backpack, lunch bag, and sneakers. My parents drove me to school and I told my mom, "I'm ready for you to leave now. I can't wait to learn and make friends!" Look up "adorkable" in urban dictionary. If you don't see my photo in the definition, it's because they have already deleted it due to intense dorkiness.

I like to learn and I like to be different. If someone tells me there is a bug outside eating another bug, I'll get my camera out and take photos of it. And, I'll probably try and put it in a jar to keep for "scientific purposes." I'll guess the species name and look it up on my computer.



I like learning about anatomy. If someone talks about a body part, I say the latin name of it. Then, when I realize that no one else knows what I'm talking about, I change the topic to something much more appealing. Such as Britney Spears, or whatever kids today like to talk about.

I get excited about wearing baggy clothes. Why? I feel like a gangster when I do and have the urge to make ridiculous dance movements because I feel so badass.



When I buy something new, like my new HP touchsmart tm2 tablet, we become inseparable. I watch YouTube videos about all of the special features, I play around with it to see how well it functions, and I bring it every where I go and show it off like it's the best invention known to mankind. Because, it probably is.

When I explain things, I am very technical with hand gestures and everything. For instance, when explaining how a moka pot works to my sister, I used terms like "extraction ratio" and "emulsion." Doesn't everyone?

If I'm about to do something that day and I'm looking forward to it, I do a happy dance about it. For instance, a few days ago I went to my boyfriend's house to help paint his deck. And all morning, before  painting it, I was singing about painting the deck and how I couldn't wait to use the paint brushes and make the deck look pretty.

I have a big imagination and I think that life is too boring when we talk about the same things day in and day out. As if we're programmed to lose enthusiasm over time and become static. I remember telling myself when I was around six years old that I never want to grow up. And, I think I'm doing a pretty good job of this.

If this post was too dorky for you, just take a look at the title. It's called "Beware of dork." Don't act like I did not warn you.

Note: I did not draw these comics. If you like them, please check out exocomics: http://www.exocomics.com/180
The girl in the comic strips is basically my virtual twin.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

It is official.

You have spoken. Pasta is officially better than pizza by a whopping 66% majority. 

Not sure what to do this summer?

Sean has got you covered:

Friday, 20 May 2011

Vegetarianism

There is one food group missing from my diet: meat. People often ask me why I decided to become a vegetarian, if I'm an animal activist, and if my life has turned to jibbles because of a lack of protein.

I've tried to be an animal activist, really I have. But I'm not a PETA fan, and I do not like the fear tactics they use. I have had several unsuccessful vegetarian phases when I was younger because I have always loved animals and didn't want to eat them. Those attempts were unsuccessful because I did not have the willpower to go through with becoming vegetarian in my Portuguese household. Going meatless was like announcing to my family I was a transvestite.

It was not until I moved away from home that my distaste for meat skyrocketed. I did not care for it, it started to taste like a patch of leather with sauce on top, and I would feel ill at the thought of eating something dead. Meat became tasteless to me, and truly sickened me.

I have found it very simple to be a vegetarian, and I have no desire to convert others into vegetarians. If you enjoy the taste of meat, I would imagine how difficult it would be to cut it out. Vegetarians do have substitutes that I find silly at times, such as "vegetarian" chicken breasts. Thank you for the creativity, Morningstar Farms, but I became veggie because I don't want to eat anything that looks or tastes like meat. No offensical.

One day I hope to go vegan, but cheese and milk are my friends. Making crème brûlée with egg substitute and soya milk just doesn't sit well with me. I'm far too much of a baking snob to ever replace my dairy buddies.

But as we grow our tastes do change. I just can't help but shiver at the thought of soya milk invading my fridge.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Being short is awesome. Right...?

Today I saw a research participant who was quite a jolly woman. I remembered testing her in our previous session and getting along with her very well. We talked about many important issues today, such as shoes and Swiffer sweepers (I must admit, I am gifted at the art of small talk).

We go into my little research office and one of the first things I did was record her height measurement. This participant had shrunk by 1 inch since her last visit, and even more discouraging in her mind was the loss of two inches over the course of three years. Now, I don't like frowns so I attempted to turn it upside with a few words of consolation. I told her that being short was, indeed, very useful and proceeded to tell her the benefits, as if I were selling "shortness" to her.

First of all, short is cute, generally speaking. Secondly, finding a boyfriend can be a bit easier as boys tend to have height complexes. Lastly, it is much easier to eavesdrop on important conversations without being noticed when short.

However, my pitch was unsuccessful today. The participant told me with a smile on her face, "The older I get the shorter I am and the closer I come to my grave."

Now, before I go to sleep I ask a question to the void: am I alone in my affection for petiteness?

Writing notes in the shower

Disclaimer: I am not getting paid for informing you of this product. Obviously... haha.

I personally think this is hilarious. One day, my boyfriend started talking to me about an ingenious invention. I was hoping he was going to tell me that they finally made a device that would tell you the location of anything you lost. Unfortunately, my hopes were killed when he told me that this invention had not been made (party pooper). Instead, the ingenious invention was a notepad. A waterproof notepad.

Um... that's kinda cool, I guess? In between scrubbing and rinsing he now has the ability to write calculus notes on his waterproof notepad (the calculus notes are still there, by the way).

Here is the link for the waterproof notepad: http://www.myaquanotes.com/
Enjoy.

Monday, 16 May 2011

I don't understand colloquialisms...

Have any of you heard the phrase "whet your appetite" before? Apparently it is a common term that means an experience that makes you want more of something. I heard it for the first time today from my boyfriend and I thought he was saying something silly just to make me laugh. I have looked on the internet and it really is a phrase people use! I am stunned. I swear, I feel like I learn a new phrase every day that perplexes me and I have to look it up. A few months ago, one of my research participants said she was "bowing out" of the study. Now, I had never heard the term "bowing out" before and the audio was a bit strange on the phone so I really had no idea how to react to what I had just heard. I was truly confused. I try not to use colloquialisms in every day speech. I feel that they defy logic, are overused and often make no sense at all. I feel like I'll end up like my friend Mr. Literal one day.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Back in the ring

I have spent so much of this year gaining clinical research experience and doing well in my courses that I feel like I've been sort of like a boxer in training for his next fight. I've used pm101 to do my research on different medical schools and have used it as a great resource. I'm glad to say that I'm ready to put my boxing gloves back on and step into the ring yet again. I'm getting so pumped up for the upcoming application cycle. I've gotten great words of wisdom from others telling me they believe that this is my year. I know that there are way more qualified applicants than there are seats. And that I may end getting rejected again since I am unsure if my GPA will be competitive enough. But, now is not the time to let my uncertainties get to me. I have my fighting spirit back and am glad to say I'm back in the ring, Bellboa style :)

Saturday, 14 May 2011

You know what I can't wait for?

Sunday morning :P

Just a smalltowngirl

I remember one day in high school very well. It was lunchtime and I was walking down my favourite hallway at my old high school. The hallway was called Echo Hall. It was such a cool place. If you were walking down that hallway with relatively few people you could hear your voice echo down the hall. But what I liked the most were the murals which grazed its walls. Very bohemian, trendy murals almost like graffiti. I remember one black and white painting of Kurt Cobain that I would always stare at because it was so well done. Every time I walked past it I would sort of hum "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in my head.

I have derailed :) Back to my first sentence: I was walking down echo hall one day with one of my good friends. She was holding a cup of coffee and looked so trendy, very metro. And I said to her, "Wow, A. You're such a city girl." Her and I both laughed. I think we both sort of realized at that moment that our town was too small for her. However, I came to the realization that big cities are not for me. Even now, we both remember this. I'm not too sure why it's such a profound memory for me, but when thinking of the future and where I want to end up one day I always come back to it. I certainly don't want to limit myself by giving up opportunities that lie in places that I am scared of. But, I also want to stay true to myself and give back to my community which has helped me out so much along the way. Whenever I go back home, I love to visit my old high school and catch up with my old teachers. I always make sure to walk down Echo Hall humming "Smells Like Teen Spirit" when I visit, even though I'm 22.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Blog was down! Should be back on track now. And message for applicants.

Hey everyone,

Sorry but blogspot was not working today and for quite some time yesterday! It even deleted a great big post I had written for you all. What a freaky Friday...

I just wanted to say a big congrats for everyone accepted into medical school today! Glad to see some really great applicants get in, but very heartbroken to see that some amazing applicants were either rejected or put on the waitlist. It really shows me that there really are way more qualified applicants than there are seats. But still, I am shocked to say the least that UBC and other medical schools have turned down some truly amazing applicants.

If you need someone to vent to, I'm an email a way and I won't judge. I don't even have to reply if you don't want me to. Email: jasmine.cat.33@gmail.com

I've had those feelings too. This was most definitely a msg on the serious side, but I will let you all know I'll be back to my usual, dorky, bubbly, strange self tomorrow.

Take care,
C

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Little Triumphs

I love little triumphs. For instance, today I forgot it was garbage day entirely. I woke up, and it dawned on me that this morning was a little bit different. And I couldn't put my finger on it until I realized that yes, it was garbage day. And, oh noooo! It could come at any time. I put on my ugliest pair of pants, ran outside, sluggishly struggled to put the can at the end of the driveway. Unfortunately, there was a large puddle in front of my house and a speedy car thought it was fun to humiliate me in front of an audience of just himself by splashing my with muddy, oil ridden water. But even though the water hit me body, the splash did not humiliate me at all. Because I had made garbage day. And I was triumphant.

Monday, 9 May 2011

A bit of randomness: I have Lexical Gustatory Synaesthesia

I'm letting you all know of a very strange condition I have. It is called lexical gustatory synaesthesia (LGS). It is a very bizarre condition, and I did not even know I had it until my boyfriend called me up one day. I thought everyone had it, but I remember reading somewhere that it is extremely rare: only 1 in 50 000 people have it. The convo went a little something like this:

BF: "Hey, you know that weird thing you have?"

Me: "Ugh.. I'm short?"

BF: "Not that."

Me: "Well then..."

BF: "You taste words when you hear them. Or see them."

Me: "And you don't?"

BF: "You have lexical gustatory synaesthesia. What does the word synaesthesia taste like to you?"

Me: "Salt! And you?"

BF: "Nothing."

So that's pretty much it! I actually taste words when I hear them. Some words even have textures. Here's a short list of words I hear and their taste (not a comprehensive list, but just to give you an idea):


  • words with a heavy "s" sound = salty
  • words with "puh" sounds = apple sauce
  • earwax = the worst taste of all
  • chocolate = deep watery word that tastes like chocolate
  • words with "ju" sounds, like "jub jub" or "juice" = jub jub candies
  • crackers = buttery saltiness
  • words with "ka" sounds = creamy
  • chicken = chicken 
The most distracting sound is the "s" sound. It is so common, and I always have a salty feeling on my tongue after hearing it. The most annoying sound is "chicken" as I am a vegetarian.

I also have another form of synaesthesia. Numbers always have colours, and some have personalities. 
  • 1 = black
  • 2 = blue
  • 3 = green
  • 4 = red (always angry)
  • 5 = blue 
  • 6 = brown
  • 7 = yellow (always happy)
  • 8 = black
  • 9 = green (angry, horrible number)
Bizarre, I know. But that is why I blog: to entertain you with strangeness.

Jasmine, update

I nearly passed out right now. Got a phone call from my vet and heard the words, "no tumour!" and a few other that I can't remember. Ah, I'm so happy!!! She is recovering from a bone infection right now, and I hope to see her get better. The infection is tolerable. The tumour would have been horrible news. Today, I am relieved and so happy.


Sunday, 8 May 2011

If this doesn't make you want to try out tennis, I don't know what will


For those of you who don't know me too well, I am a big tennis player/fan. I hope you enjoy this.
Disclaimer: Tennis player are silly. Especially Djokovic.

The Importance of Mentors

Sometimes, I become very surprised at how cold and distant some medical school applicants are. To some, the application process is all about grades, grades, grades. It is not something to enjoy at all. And, I've talked to many applicants with those sorts of sentiments. Granted, they will eventually get to where they are going since they are so incredibly driven. But I think this mentality is unhealthy. I have seen some premeds break down due to stress: this is especially disheartening since, in the grande scheme of things, we are only beginning our journey.

I think one has to evaluate what the purpose is of getting into medical school. I personally know others who were so consumed with school work that they did not pursue areas of interest outside of school. I am lucky to have grown up in a small town and have a need for community. I like to help others because I have always been this way. It didn't simply develop the day I decided I wanted to become a physician. It is the reason I want to become a physician.

One thing you'll notice is that people who give their all, not just academically but in life, will be noticed by others. Being inquisitive, courteous, and helpful has always attracted people to me in life. I actually did not seek out many of my mentors that have helped me so much these last couple of years during the application process. Some have actually noticed me first.

Mentors are so important to have, I can not express that enough. My mentors have given me the confidence that I am on the right path and should stay on it. I have also felt the compounding pressure of trying to gain acceptance, but one of the reasons I have not let it get to me is because I have others who believe in me. I've built very good relationships with others around me, especially my professors, research supervisor, employers, and even medical students. The advice they've given me is invaluable and I treasure it.

If you do not have a mentor, I urge you to find one. No matter what field you are interested in, not just premed, mentors are there to help guide you. Through your own mistakes, whether they be professional or personal, a good mentor will be there for you. They have gone through ups and downs similar to those you are currently experiencing and will try their best aid you. And one final word: a mentor is not just present for you to use a good reference letter. They are much more than a piece of paper, and their presence will always be with you, in some form.

Good luck,
C

Friday, 6 May 2011

A bit overwhelmed

For some reason, I feel a little bit overwhelmed today. And I don't know why. Just about every single day of the year, I do not feel this way. I never have any feelings of time running out of my reach, or that things are spinning out of control. I'm only 22 after all, and I am graduating with my first degree (BSc.) in a few weeks. I usually feel like exploding with happiness. I'm usually a pretty positive person. I hope you can tell this from my other blog posts. And I have a feeling it is because of my Dad whose positivity is beloved by everyone in my small hometown.

I think some days, you just sort of feel like things are falling apart. As I've told you all, my cat Jasmine is having health complications. I haven't even begun talking about what my family health problems have been like the last few months. And with many med school applicants knowing the certainty of their journey towards being a physician, it makes my uncertainty the future much more real. At least it does today.

The Persistence of Memory, Dali, 1931 
Last night, I dreamt I went back to my hometown and was at my old high school. Everyone was older and looked fantastic. For some reason, no one wanted to talk to me and I thought that was odd. Even my closest high school friends would turn their heads away from me. I felt like everything was spinning out of control. In my dream, I remember feeling nauseated and running to the bathroom. I looked in the mirror and everything about me seemed to become distorted. And I realised why everyone was appalled by my appearance. My face looked like it was melting away.

That dream has really gotten to me. I decided to write about it because I wonder if others have had dreams like this. Where it seems like you are inferior to others around you. I don't know, maybe it really is my subconscious feelings of wanting to catch up to other medical applicants.

I'm not sure if that is what's going on. I am not Freud :) But sometimes, I think these sort of feelings do catch up with me: whether I want them to or not. I don't think there is anything wrong with feeling this way. On the positive side, it means that I have a goal in life and know that I want to make it there on day. I think it is normal to have doubts about yourself, to be fearful of uncertainty, and to want to do your personal best.

The road towards becoming a medical student is a very long one. And, even after that there is a lot of sacrifice to be made. Persistence and stamina are virtues I am lucky to have. Some applicants who have gotten in this year have tried many times before earning their acceptance. Knowing that they were able to do it, even after feeling like giving up many times inspires me to press forward. Having great mentors around me is also a gift. And until I get there, I know that I have others to help guide me forward. I will get there one day. I'll never give up.

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