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.

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.

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 :)



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


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:

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!


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.

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.

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 :)

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