Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Secondaries Suck

I'm taking a break from writing my secondary application essays to write a blog post because I'm stuck. I have one due in 15 days, so I'm working on that now. I'm having a hard time with it.

On Friday mornings and on an as-needed basis, I take a break from writing my essays to write grant proposals. I should consider finding things to do that don't involve writing, specifically.

I met with a physician I worked with last year to discuss the contents of a letter of recommendation for one of the schools I'm applying to this year. It is his alma mater, and while I don't know how much "pull" that has, I decided to go for it anyway. We met over coffee on a Saturday morning and, judging from our discussion, I feel fairly confident that he will write a positive letter.

He's also a really nice guy who makes killer lemon tarts from his own lemon trees. Damn those were good.

As for secondaries, I've noticed that there are some huge differences between school websites. Obviously, I'm not a website designer or any kind of expert in the internets, but websites are pretty important. I've found that it is much more difficult to write an enthusiastic and honest essay if the school website doesn't have as much information, which can include community service organizations, a detailed list of scholarly concentrations, opportunities abroad, newsletters, or even recent news releases of student accomplishments from the medical school. Not every school has the means to do all of those things, I bet, but it's hard to form a real attachment and desire to attend a school if I'm not seeing much that catches my eye.

I've only come across a few schools like that, though.

I guess my last resort is to call and ask. I'm really bad at asking questions, though. I'm that kid that never asks questions in class because I can't think of any. Which is why I like good webpages (and libraries). I can dig for stuff and eventually I'll come across something I like.

As a disclaimer, I'm also ridiculously judgmental about nitpicky things like websites. It may be the result of working as the impromptu website editor for my previous AmeriCorps organization, but I think websites are important as a source of information and to give people a good "first impression." Even if a strong website is just a sign that a company possesses a strong marketing department.

Anyway, back to work!!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Little Nerds

"Alright minions, you have been very cooperative with my activity so you get to play your pewpew games in the computer lab BUT FIRST! Rules! I don't care what Mr. Evan or Mr. Julian or Mr. Alex does, but today, this is my room and you go by my rules. I have two rules and three consequences. Number One: No swearing. First violation is a ten minute no pewpew time. The second violation, no pewpew for twenty minutes. Rule number two: If I hear a swear word but can't identify you, fess up. If you do not confess, I will unplug everyone's computer and no one gets pewpew time for ten minutes."

Fifteen minutes later:
"Stephen, time out for you."
"It wasn't me!!!"
"If it wasn't you, then someone else did it. The kid has ten seconds to admit he made mistake before I start unplugging computers." (inching over to the first computer)
Stephen's classmate (panicked whisper): "Stephennnn just confess! She's gonna dooo iiiiiit!!"
"Fine!!! It was me!!!"

These kids are too cute. It's kind of funny to see them mope during their time-out. I'm actually fairly lenient with it. They're allowed to move their mouse around to watch an on-going match; they're just not allowed to participate. After a while, I realized that I don't necessarily have to hear the kid swear. The kid's friends will hear it, even if I don't, and I'll see three round heads with mouths agape swivel back and forth between me and their buddy.

The no-swearing rule is in place because with shooting games, sometimes they get way too excited when they lose. They also stay relatively quiet, because the kids get paranoid of swearing on accident. I think it's a good policy to teach them about behaviors that may be acceptable at home, but are not acceptable outside of home. I don't like outright finger-pointing though. I don't like being thrown under the bus and I'm not going to create a situation that lets kids think it is okay to betray a friend.

Right now, my nerd group is doing two activities. They're building armor (from a video game of their choice) out of cardboard and designing their own flash game. These kids are tougher than I thought to manage. They also complain a lot in the beginning, but now they're easier to manage. It also helps that I'm using our "tiger tickets" as bait to keep the kids enthusiastic and invested in their activities. The kids collect tiger tickets to "buy" access to the computer lab on Fridays and field trips to places like 7-Eleven, KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and the mall. The kids with the most creative game/armor will get tickets as a reward.

My students know that, aside from contests, I'm pretty stingy with the tickets. They know that I don't reward tickets to kids that say, "Can I help you with xyz for a tiger ticket?" They also know that anytime I give someone a ticket, I explain why the kid received one. The end result is that they're pretty good at cleaning after themselves and helping out without making a show of it, hoping that I might notice.

They don't know it, but I'm training them to be my minions and it's coming along very nicely.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mingle Down!

I made one too many poop jokes last month, and so karma dictated that I needed to suffer from a bad case of The Runs. That was rough. I was also feverish and no matter how much water I drank, I kept feeling thirsty. It was so bad that my skin was dry. I went to bed Sunday night feeling 'off.' When I woke up with a fever at 6am, I knew I wouldn't make it to work that day. I was still feeling off on Tuesday so I took that day off too. It's kinda random how it just hit me out of the blue on Sunday night, because I had just gone on a pretty rigorous hike that morning.

I didn't work on my secondaries at all on Monday or Tuesday. I would nap for 1-2 hour stretches and wake up with just enough energy to eat and move my legs a bit. I am working on my secondaries now. I submitted one yesterday and am working on the next one today.

So far, I've been turned down for one secondary and one interview. I feel like I should feel more down about it, but I got over it fairly quickly. Probably because I still have more secondaries to work on, and so I still have hope (I hope). I also think that I should be writing more at a faster rate.Some of these schools have a December 1 due date for secondaries, so I definitely need to finish those first. Ideally, I would finish all of my apps before that time.

I really worry about my timing, because I had chosen to delay my app for another month to retake my MCAT.

I've gotten to that point where I can start reusing some of my phrasing/sentences to answer essay prompts, which definitely helps speed things up a bit.

Right now, I'm fighting off a cold. My energy level has been fluctuating on account of my being sick last week and this week. This post is kind of scattered because I'm a little woozy from the night-time cold medicine kicking in.

Next update will be about work.

Good night!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

One Year Post-Op

It's crazy to think that a year has gone by since then. It was something I had wanted for a long, long time and the time had come. My family had opposed it for so long that, for a while, I was resigned to the fact that life would just be this way forever. People had asked me why I didn't just undergo surgery myself. At the time, it just didn't feel right to go through that without their blessing and support.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Interview on Accepted.com

Head on over to Accepted's blog to read my interview with them and other pre-med bloggers' interview posts! I get to procrastinate more by adding more blogs to my Blogroll. Woohoo!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 2

I forgot that when the bell rings, children spill out of classrooms like a flash flood. Overwhelming and destroying everything in it's path. Somehow, my kids find me clinging to my classroom door for dear life, trying not to get swept up into the cesspool known as "the yard."

Picked up my "Staff" t-shirts for work at least. One for every day of the week. Woohoo! Laundry will be easy peasy. (As this is a non-profit organization, I do not think this is a wise use of community money. Also, they did not order enough Small/Mediums. As usual)

Sometimes, when I talk to the girls at school, their conversations make my Inner Feminist and Adult Me cringe in horror.

Kid: "Ms. Mingle, I want to work at Disneyland and be Esmerelda or Princess Jasmine."
Me Internal Dialogue: Uh....That doesn't sound like a stable career at all. And little kids like to grope. 
Me Aloud: "Ohhh.....uh.....Cool! A lot of people like Disneyland. You should be Esmerelda because I like her." She also wears more clothes. "You can take theater class in school to get ready for that kind of job."
Kid: "I practice a lot. I try to smile at people a lot, even if I don't know them."
Me: "..........Please don't smile at strange people outside the school."

I get so tired hearing little girls tell me how much they like Princess such-and-such and how they want to be just like this model or actress from their teenybopper magazines. Pretty Olympic athletes do not get enough adolescent adoration. Ladies! News flash! You can be pretty and be totally badass buff AND smart!

Anyway. I've settled on my classes for the next ten weeks. It will be volleyball and a video game themed arts and crafts. Tomorrow will be my last day at the old job. I will be staying on at this particular community center to volunteer because I like the residents and staff a lot. I'll be able to save money NOT buying a monthly bus pass from now on. Although public transit is cheaper than the cost of driving/owning a car, I'm already paying for insurance, I don't need a lot of gas to go to/from work, and waiting for the bus in a residential neighborhood (as opposed to the financial district) when it's dark and cold and rainy in the winter time isn't as fun (sorry, environment).

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New-Old Job, Day 1

I seem to be at an impasse with my secondaries. It's one of those questions where they ask you about experiences that you've already explained in your personal statement or work/activities section on the AMCAS. Currently, I'm trying to think of something else to say. My progress through these is pretty erratic. Some days I will write a lot. Other days, I type and delete things over and over again. Still other days, I'll re-read something that I wrote 1-2 days ago and completely redo it.

I also need a massage. Backpacks are bad. How the hell did I manage to wear a backpack with heavy textbooks as a kid?! I have the worst knots all along my neck, upper and lower back. I tried to tough it out but I think I need someone to help me with it.

This is my final week at my old job.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Woot woot. I glanced briefly at my personal e-mail today and noticed that my AMCAS application has passed the transcript-verification stage. I was pleasantly surprised, as I wasn't expecting this to happen until the end of the week. Over the course of the morning, my e-mail was flooded with secondary application invites or "Please hold while we determine your level of suck-titude" messages. It's a weird feeling, this simultaneous "YAY!!!" and "Aww..." feeling. Yay for my AMCAS and a fat Aww because more essays =(

Monday, August 20, 2012

California Academy of Sciences...and Ice Cream

Will preface this by saying thanks to Solitary Diner and Ah yes, plans and other non-blog-o-sphere friends for the input on my job situation. I have decided to leave, and am trying to hurry things along. There are just too many things to deal with that shouldn't even be problems, like, "Hey, I thought I submitted my direct deposit for the second time last month, why hasn't it kicked in yet?" Or, that one time I overslept and asked my coworker why he didn't call to remind an elderly, forgetful patient to come downstairs, he responded, "Why should I? It's not my fault you were late." If I knew he would be such an ungrateful prick, I wouldn't have covered for him all those 15+ times (not an exaggerated number) he missed work by leading exercise classes that should have been his responsibility.

Anyway. Oversleeping is bad mmmkay. Moving on...ice cream!!!

Friend of mine had her wisdom teeth extracted, so naturally I briefly crawled out of my hermit hole to laugh at her puffy cheeks to celebrate. We went to the Ice Cream Bar. They make their own ice cream and the soda is made right in front of you.

Brownie sundae with one scoop of bourbon and caramel  ice  cream and vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Zombies! Vampires!!

I read Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith in the past four days. I preferred the Abe Lincoln/vampire hunter mash-up. It read more like a drama/biography, and I liked the photographs of 19th century vampires thrown in for good measure. It had a little bit of a conspiracy theory plot thrown in too. I can understand why people liked it so much. I think I reserved this book from the library in March, and I just picked it up on Friday.

P&P&Zombies felt kind of over-the-top because the author threw in ninjas and Shaolin kungfu, but the original book was pretty light-hearted and Mrs. Bennett was pretty over-the-top as a character...so maybe it does fit. It was still a fun read, especially because I imagined Colin Firth's version of Mr. Darcy slaying zombies. teehee.

Both books were pretty fast reads. Maybe 3-4 hours each day over the course of 4 days, with a good chunk of that reading occurring during my bus commute and lunch breaks.

The Nom-of-the-Weekend: Chinese desserts

Black sesame paste (black sesame seeds blended into a paste and then cooked in a pot) with glutinous rice balls
From the establishment's Yelp.com page

Mango sago with fresh mango cubes:
From the establishment's Yelp.com page
It's basically a mango slushy (crushed ice, mango juice and mango bits blended) with fruit and sago. I had to look up sago to find out where it comes from. In desserts, they're small transparent pearls. Apparently, it's made from the starch extracted from the spongy centers of tropical palm plants. They don't taste like anything, but I like to have it in these desserts.

These can all be made at home. It's easy, just time-consuming.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Line

At what point does a person cross a line and think, "Alright, this job sucks. I'm miserable. I need to get out." Where is that line? It's all relative, of course, and should depend on the person in question.

A few months ago, I went through this really strong need to quit. I toughed it out because I had more pressing matters, like my MCATs and my personal statement. I'm entering Month #11 and have been battling that urge to just walk out. Forget the two-week notice, here's my 'fresh out of the printer' two-second notice. I also bore with it because someone told me, "As a medical student/resident/doctor, you're going to have to do things you do not like."

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday Brunch

Sunday brunch was not so great today. Mainly because I didn't get to choose the venue. =P
No, really though. I'm not sure whether it was the scrambled eggs or mimosas, but my tummy hasn't been happy all day. I really shouldn't be drinking cocktails with artificial fruit juice, anyway. Nothing good ever comes out of those kinds of mixed drinks. My stomach has turned into a fruit snob, in addition to a beer snob.

But it was good to see these friends again.  I got together with two sassy ladies from my undergraduate days.  It's nice to talk to people who are not necessarily on the medical track in life, but are equally driven to do whatever they want to do.  One of them is going to make that big move from California to New York City in one month.  I think she wanted a change in life, and will also prepare to apply to schools for her Master's in Business Administration.  The other friend is going to work her way towards law school, eventually.

One of the things we talked about was where to go for grad school.  For medical schools, I think my chosen schools are evenly distributed across *most* of the country. The caveat is that I have not applied to very many schools in the Midwest.  Many of those schools favor people who are local or residents of nearby states (which is fine), so it seemed like a waste to apply to those schools. Anyway, I have been pretty tight-lipped about which specific schools I picked...aside from the obvious California schools.  Usually I just tell people that most of my preferred schools are in California and on the east coast." I dunno why, I guess I'm just very private about these things.

Anytime I mention "east coast," someone always assumes I'm aiming to be in New York City and inevitably says:  "Oh, you'll fit in just fine in New York City."

"What? You too? Why?" (I finally asked why)

"Well, people in NYC are very blunt.  They are very 'to the point.'  And, they don't care what other people think about them because they have an 'I'm from New York, so whatever,' attitude." (I don't know how accurate that is...But this is what I'm told from people who have been/lived there)

"Soooo basically.......I'm an asshole."



So there you have it, I'm a jerk. :D

Just kidding, I'm not, really.  I did notice that my blunt-ness became more pronounced in college.  I think it may have come from working with anesthesiologists (researchers and practicing doctors) all day.  Something about their personalities just brought that out in me.  I've also become a lot more sarcastic.  Unfortunately, these types of personality traits are not always well-received in the working-world, so I only let those aspects out when I'm around people I know well.

Anyway, it was fun to see these people again.  I got stuck on one of my secondary essays and have not been particularly good at motivating myself to write this week for various reasons.  Will try to reboot myself once these crummy mimosas are out of my system.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Busy Busy Bee

I made the mistake of ordering Blue Bottle coffee with my dinner last night.  I'm not sure if it's the brand of coffee, or if I'm just not used to drinking coffee in the evenings these days, but I was up until 4:30 and it was not pleasant.  As an aside, I don't know why Blue Bottle coffee is revered by people in this area. The flavor does not stand out to me.  Maybe I just don't "get" it?

Lately I've been volunteering at a senior center.  Originally, I was just a grant researcher, which is pretty easy (and boring).  In a twist, the Executive Director asked me to help him write one of the simpler grants.  With this one, he hasn't been successful in previous attempts, but I think recently they shifted focus or have a new Board Chair or something like that.  When things change in a grant-giving foundation, grant-seekers start sniffing around to get a feel for things.  It just means that this grant is a low priority one, and the paranoid me thinks that I'm being evaluated on grant-writing competency.  So I tried very hard to write a good draft.  Which is hard, considering I've only spent a grand total of 15 hours with this organization since June.  It felt like I just attended a crash course in learning about this organization.

Yesterday, I ventured into Oakland, CA for an interpreter-training orientation and language screening.  It was a huge waste of time.  The "orientation" was only a ten-minute talk about the agency and hours and the rest of the several hours was spent waiting.  I was also totally unprepared for the language screening in the weirdest, and maybe worst, possible way.  I consider my medical vocab to be pretty damn good for someone with no formal training (as in, not a certified interpreter from taking some test).  I know a lot of terms for diagnostic tests, diseases, major organs and glands.  Of course, I didn't get any of those quiz-words.  Instead, I got words like "pregnancy" and "delivery."  I totally forgot the formal term for "pregnancy" because I don't see pregnant women.  Ever.  I wanted to face plant in my keyboard.  How embarrassing.

I skipped the last two questions too, which involved answering questions in Chinese.  Question 1 asked, "What are problems you see in the American health care system, and what would you do to fix it?" Question 2 asked, "Are there lifestyles that you are more accepting of today, than you were when you were younger?"  I skipped it and left.  I don't even think I have a response to #2 in English.

The job hours were also very erratic, and the training seemed like a huge time drain - 8 hours of class-time, with homework, not including the commute.  They could also only guarantee 5-10 hours/week, which is kind of lame.  I definitely do not want my commute to exceed (in travel time or cost) the work. I really only waited around because the campus (it was on a school campus) had free wireless internet and I was able to work on my secondary app.

In other matters: I'm considering withdrawing my app from one of the schools I selected in my AMCAS application (or, ignoring the secondary entirely).  Upon further thought and research, I felt that maybe this place isn't what I am looking for in my career/education/life.  On one hand, I could work on the secondary just in case.  On the other hand, I could use that time to work on a secondary application for a school that I could see myself attending in the future.  I don't know why I let these things keep me awake at night, but they do.  I did put it on hold for a bit, because I do have other essays to write.

I've been doing a lot of writing lately.
Doing math for fun is starting to look very appealing.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Next stop, Homeroom macaroni and cheese restaurant! 90% of the menu is some variation of mac and cheese. The remaining 10% are sides, beverages and dessert. All pictures were stolen from user-posted pictures from the restaurant's www.yelp.com webpage, because my pictures aren't as good. The restaurant is in Oakland, CA. I rarely go there for food because San Francisco has plenty to eat and I have to pay toll, but I had to go there for an orientation and met up with friends who work in that city.

The restaurant's main decorative piece. The arrows show where certain things were brewed/grown.

Spicy mac and cheese. I don't remember what was in it exactly, and the online menu hasn't been updated. Mine had a lot more red pepper flakes though. I also asked for them to sprinkle bread crumbs on the surface. As far as I know, all of them are baked in the oven for a certain amount of time...so food does take a while to come out.

I also ordered the Veggie pot pie to go for whoever wants to eat it at home. I did take a bite out of it though. It was deeeelicious. 

I took this picture with my crappy phone. 
Another thing that I thought was cute was their "frequent diner cards." Some stores or restaurants have a card for frequent customers. Every time you eat there, they give you a stamp and after 10 or so visits, you get one free meal or free item. This restaurant bought those dewey-decimal card cabinets that school libraries use to keep track of their books. It's cool to see it again, but I never liked going through the cards. Actually, I hated school libraries in general. There were always boogers on the books. Or a squished bug. I always used my allowance to buy books because they would be booger-free.

This last item was a gift from a friend. He mentioned that there is a Pyramid brewery near his work place, and offered to buy me one of their specialty beer brews. I usually like the Pyramid brews I've tried so I said "hell yeah!!" I was expecting a pint-sized bottle or however much a wine bottle can carry. I wasn't expecting a whole jug. The best part was having everyone stare as I carried it out of the restaurant.

Angry Bird plushie for size comparison. 
I'm also excited by the fact that this jar looks reusable. Hooray for practicality! I had to pay for his dinner because he bought me a giant jug of beer.

I get really excited about beer in general. Not enough to be a snob about it, but close. I have a lot more fun going to breweries than wineries...even if I'm the designated driver. I've given up on wines. There have been a few wines that I have liked, but not enough to want to consume a full glass or buy a bottle. It may also be that most of my friends prefer red wines, and I've noticed that red wine tends to give me headaches. Then again, cocktails make me nauseous unless they are mixed with real fruit and fruit juice...not that syrup crap.

Okay, I admit it, I'm a food snob.

The total amount of nom-ery for one person, including a non-alcoholic beverage, is about $15-$18 after tax and tip. For the Bay Area (which includes San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and other places I don't care about-kidding!), it's a pretty good price. I can eat out for less without resorting to fast food. I still have to budget very carefully, otherwise it's easy to exceed $100 or even $150 on dining out each month. In general, I try not to dine out at restaurants where the meal exceeds $20, and I'm only willing to pay $40+ for a meal if it's a special dinner. There are also certain times of the year when I dine out a lot, and months when I never eat out.

If or when I make it into medical school, I definitely won't eat out as much. I gotta eat all these things now!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Last Summer (Maybe)

But before that, a picture of our baseball ball park with a rainbow. I haven't been to a game in a while.  This picture was from the days when each ticket was $1 off every time one of the pitchers, Tim Lincecum, struck 
out a hitter. 

Yesterday was my med-school-bound friend's birthday + going away party. It was also held in conjunction with her little brother's birthday party. It's not in this photo, but there were four cakes. One birthday cake for each person, a medical school cake, and a random cake-sized fruit tart just for funsies (!!). The medical school cake was a Napoleon cake and the round dome pictured is a Princess cake.

I don't know what it is with her mom, but she cannot or does not judge how much food to order for the number of people coming. Three cakes is really, really not necessary and four is just too much. It's not just the fact that some of it probably gets tossed, but also because my friend will make us play a horrible, horrible  game that involves making the loser eat food.  (I say "horrible" in a very tongue-in-cheek way because, you know, true hunger and starvation is genuinely terrible)  She always picks the food item that our group collectively did not like.  This year, it was the princess cake. The cake is way too sweet for me, even without the marzipan coat. We played a card game this year. Each person had to guess whether his/her card was higher or lower than everyone else's card, without knowing what his/her own card was.  The player has the opportunity to keep the original card or swap from the deck and hope for a higher one. The two people with the lowest cards have to eat cake.  I can proudly say that with two people colluding against me, I was the last man standing, winning by the narrow margin of cake icing and marzipan. She is a sadist. 

Ugh, my stomach hurts just thinking about cake. I don't want to eat cake for a long, long time. 

This might be the last summer where 90% of us were together in one group, because this sadist friend was kind of the common denominator for the girl-group and guy/nerd-group.  I'm not particularly sad about seeing people go. I think more along the lines of, "Hey, that's cool. You get to do something really cool and maybe fun."  Mostly, I hate that feeling of being left behind, doing not-fun and not-cool things.  It's a lame feeling, but I'm not the only one who thinks that way.  

As my friend puts it, "Who will we have wine-jug parties with now?!?! The two of us can't finish a whole jug of wine!!" 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Summers Past

Funny how we change over time, and how people drift apart. 
When my friends and I came back home from college to bum around, we used to get together a lot. 
The result one July 4th weekend was a lot of sangria that no one finished. I think we only made a dent in the middle bucket. This was the product of letting someone who does not know how to make sangria help make sangria.

Now we're all scattered. Some are away for grad school, while the rest of us work. My happy hour buddy is moving to Los Angeles for greener pastures and another friend is going to medical school in three days. 

I'm going to need another happy hour buddy. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Love Me Some Oysters

ETA: oops, didn't realize the font settings were smaller than usual. Fixed!

Big "thank you!!" to Solitary Diner for including my blog on her list of "Lovely Blogs" =)  

My list is pretty short, as most of them are pretty well-established already or are of the "web comic" persuasion. 

Ah yes, plans  has a kewl blog about life, medical school and living with neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome (which is well-documented compared to my own blog entries about my torn glenoid labrum, because I was lazy). Also, she's funny :D She was also an Art History major, which I also think is cool because, why not? 

Never Seconds has a huge reader base, but I like it. It's run by a young girl from Scotland and her super supportive dad. She posts about her school lunches and allows kids/parents/teachers from around the world to chime in and show pictures/reviews of the kids' school lunches. They also raise money for an organization called Mary's Meals to feed children in Malawi, Africa. 

Today, I waited a really, really long time (close to two hours) for seats at the Swan Oyster Depot. The time went by pretty fast, since I was talking with a friend, nicknamed Dogs/Dogga, the whole time, but yikes. I haven't waited that long for anything since going to Disneyland. We each ordered a half dozen oysters, pictured below, a shrimp cocktail and a bowl of clam chowder. I loved the clam chowder. The clam chowder didn't look appetizing, but it had a lot of clams in it and tasted really good. I don't think I like shrimp cocktails at all...and for some reason it was really filling. I could have had more clam chowder!! darnnnnnn. 

For the oysters, I liked most of them. I don't know anything about oysters, and couldn't really hear what our server was telling us, but Dogs and I gave them nicknames based on flavor. There was "tide pool flavored" aka light and refreshing, "tropical sea flavored" aka also light and refreshing, "ocean flavored," and "deep blue sea" (the two biggest ones) which was okay. Our least favorite was "Fish-counter flavored," because it was like the smell of a fish market but in your mouth. I don't think that one was as fresh as it should have been. I've actually never had raw oysters before, so I didn't know what to expect. The ones I liked were light and smooth, and tasted good with lemon juice. 

Tomorrow, it's back to focusing on my secondary applications. I have three to work on. I've started on one, been brainstorming for the second one, and the third one will be accessible on Monday. I've slowly been doing research on each school. I'm not sure what would be the best way to organize info. So far, I've been typing up an outline for each school on a Word/Google document that lists the mission statement, principles, and unique aspects of the program that stood out to me. I also list any special requirements for the secondary, or just things that I should take note of just in case, like the maximum number of letters of evaluation. It seems like a huge waste of time, but I think if I didn't make this a systemic process, I'll get my apps mixed up. I also think it helps to have a clear view of each school's values and differences in curriculum and electives. That way, I can write a response and tie it to an anecdote that is both relevant to me and what this particular school stands for. 

That's what I learned in B.S. 101. Just kidding. :P

Friday, July 20, 2012


My brain is pretty fried today, not really sure why. I came home, had a late lunch, and felt pooped. 

I treated myself to gelato today on the way home. They make their own flavors, for vegans and non-vegans, and the Dutch Almond Coffee is the BEST. There are whole coffee beans in it, although it didn't help keep me awake and alert at all. 

from www.yelp.com
I finished one secondary application today...Nothing impressive at all. It was one of the ones that only asks you for basic things like "have you ever been on academic probation and if so, why?" and "were you ever convicted of a misdemeanor and/or felony and if so, why?" It did give me the chance to mention activities that I omitted from my primary AMCAS app because (after a lot of internal debate) I decided I didn't have much to say about those activities.

But because I made myself do a teensy bit of work today, I decided to vegetate for the rest of the night.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Soapbox: Putting the Foot Down

I had to very adamantly tell my boss that I am already taking on a lot more job responsibilities and hours than we initially agreed upon at the start of my employment. I'm surprised he backed down so quickly. 

I'm all for taking initiative, taking on extra jobs, taking one for the team, etcetc. I've gone down on my hands   and knees (sometimes figuratively and sometimes literally) to clean poop, barf, pee, blood and chunks of tissue from the ground/walls as a camp counselor and hospital assistant (aka O.R. janitor). Although all of those things suck to clean, I'm not above doing it. I went in knowing that kids and adults will occasionally make unintentional messes and that these messes need cleaning. Which is me saying: I'm not a diva. 

But as an "office assistant" I wasn't planning to lug supplies to and from the office via public transportation, or go door to door in a 200+ unit senior home to promote the office, or take work home because the laptops he bought us can't seem to connect to the building wi-fi. 

For all of those, there is an easy fix:
a) Drop off toiletries/office supplies when the boss makes a supply run. The location I work out of is right between Costco (where most of these supplies come from) and the main office. But he won't. 
b) Hire another marketer, since the other two quit (because he was mean). 
c) Get those broadband internet USB thingies. It's like paying for a data plan for a phone, except it's on a laptop so we can do things like access the laggy electronic medical record system. But he won't. 

Some days, I feel like a pack animal. My schedule is all over the place and I have to plan when I stop at the HQ in advance to grab supplies, which means I also have to schedule my gym around it, because I can't carry supplies, my work files AND my gym bag (and it's not safe or convenient to leave it in one place). Well, I physically can, but it would suck. Once I have supplies, I have to decide whether to drop it off at both Office A and B in one day, or to one office at a time. If I opt to do a slow-delivery, I would have to show up earlier to Office A to grab supplies and travel to Office B before the first patient. And hopefully, I remembered to clock in at Office A, otherwise I just put in 15-30 minutes of manual labor for nothing and I have to ask the boss to change my time sheet, which elicits a lot of grumbling for some reason. And hopefully, I didn't forget anything. Otherwise I have to do it again. I'm fortunate in that this city has a pretty reliable public transportation system. My monthly bus pass also allows me to ride the bus as many times as I want in a day. But there is still a lot of walking involved: walking to the bus stop, walking to transfer to another bus, then walking to one of the offices. 

Now that I think about it, this would explain why I've been getting hungry more frequently.

If anything, this past year has been a lesson in learning when to put my foot down. Honestly, it feels good, but I wonder if I'm just being diva-ish and high maintenance because NO ONE ever complains openly. I don't want to just commiserate over drinks during happy hour, especially when things are especially miserable for everyone. The problem with that, though, is then I risk coming across as a diva to everyone else who keeps their mouth shut. 

It seems like a lose-lose. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Soooooooo Lazy Today

But despite being lazy, I guess I kind of had a productive day. 

If you can call spending most of the day on the bus "being productive."

For most average San Franciscans I think 30-40 minutes on the bus to get to work is reasonable. 15-20 minutes on a bus is considered lucky. Some people live even closer to work...probably, people who run a restaurant/cafe and live near it, or people who live in the Financial District and whose hours follow the stock market, or people who were just incredibly lucky. 

But I showed up to work, worked for just over an hour, and then my coworker/the physical therapist sent me a text message to tell me he wouldn't be able to make it at all for the third time in a row. So I spent more time on the bus today than actually working.

I should be more understanding, I suppose. In all fairness, his son was recently discharged from a pretty lengthy stay at the hospital, but soon after, he and his ex-wife started the custody battle over the kid. I don't know how custody battles work, nor do I ever want to know. I have more sympathy towards the kid than the parents. It's annoying to have to constantly reschedule patients last minute, and worse to do it three times in a row. I'm tired of getting suspicious looks because they think I'm calling them last minute on purpose. How many last-minute emergencies are allowed before someone is justified in being irritated? Or before someone can say, "Get your stuff together, and then come back and we'll talk." 

Also, I don't know why our boss doesn't send someone to cover the schedule for days like that, because I know one of them doesn't see many patients. 

I need to stop trying to ask "why" questions for things that are inherently irrational. I'll have better luck discovering the meaning of life. 

At least with this day (mostly) off, I got to go to my doctor's office for a TB skin-prick test. It recently dawned on me that my boss never had me get one when I started working, and now I'm paranoid. 

I also took my car to get a smog check. One less thing to worry about. 

I also played Minecraft for a bit. It's a video game that's kinda like legos, in that you can build whatever you want, and you go around mining for materials/beating monsters. Collecting materials is ridiculously repetitive, and yet strangely soothing. Maybe because hollowing out my mine feels more productive than my application-writing. But I'm not very imaginative when it comes to building things, so sometimes I look online for ideas, and then my self esteem shrivels to the size of a raisin when I see what people do:

How the hell do you find time to make that?! 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Phase 1, done!

Finished my primary application! Whew. Only a month and a half behind my original plan, not too bad all things considered. I proofread my app several times over the last few days, and don't plan to take another look until I have to, otherwise I'll catch another typo and get myself all cray-zee.

My next step: secondary applications. I'm not looking forward to doing these =( I'm hoping to be able to take a general experience, or one general response, and be able to "spin it" different ways (without lying or exaggerating) to answer several similar types of questions. Like writing one cover letter a bajillion different ways for different jobs. To be honest, I innocently thought I would get a few days to twiddle my thumbs, but it looks like I've already starting receiving e-mails from certain schools to set up an online account for apps. Well, it's bad for me to procrastinate anyway. If I let myself get lazy then it's hard to de-lazy myself.

One of my friends is heading off to med school this year. Another friend hasn't updated any of us on his status, which can't be good. Since getting into med school is a big deal, I would assume most people would scream it from the top of the world aka the Facebook Status Bar. I won't ask, at any rate. If he didn't get in, then it would be like rubbing salt in the wound. Like digging a finger into someone's bruise and asking if it hurts. 

Getting asked about apps gets annoying, sometimes. Especially when they ask me why I'm taking so long. Or worse, tell me to stop partying as much. I don't know where people get the impression that I'm some party animal. Unless "party" means sitting in my room alone in my pajamas watching youtube videos before bed. I only want to talk about apps on my blog or to close friends, and even then, talking about apps turns all my precious free time into app-time. 

Anyway, as a treat to myself for finishing phase 1, I'll be watching Magic Mike on Friday night with my friend, T. Because, uh, she's making me watch it with her, yeah. I didn't jump for joy that someone would watch it with me, or anything. Another friend is also on this oyster kick for some reason, so on Saturday we're going to Swan Oyster Depot for oysters. My wallet is going to be very, very empty this month. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Things I (and My Friends) Wish I Knew or Did Earlier

  1. That for the University of California system, picking any major is better than applying undeclared (that was from my friend).
  2. That changing majors is ridiculously easy, which is not what everyone told us. I think my friends and I  fretted about it unnecessarily, only to discover it's really not a big deal in the first or second year.
  3. The differences between SN1 and SN2 reactions in organic chem.
  4. Studied abroad or 
  5. Did PeaceCorps and go overseas to help peoplez, and because the other two out of three years after I graduated really feels like a waste of time, so I could have done something really awesome. 
  6. (From my friend) Don't play baseball, football or tennis with Mingle because you'll get hurt in the worst possible places. Sorry Russ, it was an accident, I swear!  
  7. To have demanded to see a sports medicine specialist earlier.
  8. That I appreciated my research internship more.
  9. That I practiced my ukulele more, because now I don't have time =[
  10. Don't talk to any of the campus pre-health advisers at my school. They make you hate yourself. 
  11. The pre-health peer advisers also tell you the dumbest things. One told a classmate that 'You should keep your course load (even though she was getting Cs), because schools would rather see that you're still able to cope with the workload despite bad grades.' Erm....I kiiinnnnda see the logic, but I'll believe it only if it comes out of the mouth of an Admissions Committee member. 
  12. Don't seek out any of the peer advisers for classes/major counseling, because they don't give you any useful information. 
  13. Find a major that doesn't have a 1-month wait list to meet a faculty adviser. 
  14. That I went for the double major instead of the minor. I could have done it. 
  15. That I made extra effort to take more classes with one of the Asian American Studies professors because he was freaking awesome, and awesome is hard to come by.
Hmm what else?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Holy Beer Batter Garlic Fries, Batman!

Beer batter fries are crispy, delicious golden morsels of goodness. I just wish it came with more garlic, so I could part the crowds of the Jazz Festival with a breathy "Hhhhhhhhhhhhhello there." Beer batter mushrooms are also good, which I've had on a separate occasion. All I need now is for someone to make beer batter sweet potato fries. Somebody make it so!!!

I also ate deep fried kool aid, which is basically a donut made with mixing Kool Aid "juice" powder into donut batter. Kool aid itself is icky because it's pure sugar with artificial fruit-flavoring and the blue and purple ones stain your teeth. But the donuts were good.

For the record, I don't regularly eat things that are fried.

The jazz fest was fun but I only walked through the streets to listen briefly to different bands play. Most of the bands were playing slow blues, while my friend and I were more in the mood for upbeat music. There was a lot of food at the festival, which I didn't eat.

I'm still working on my personal statement. I'm getting sick of it. If this was paper, I'd crumple it up and eat it in a fit of rage. There are a few people looking over my statement (thank you!) but it's still tough. I've also gone to the Student Doctor Network forums and asked one of the volunteer proof-readers to take a look. I may take that reader's advice with a grain of salt. I gave the recommendations a fair shot, but given the way I write, I think it just introduced a lot of redundancy. I like what I have now and feel that it best preserves the flow of my P.S given my writing style. That may change tomorrow.

At a certain point, very soon, I'm just going to abandon it in favor of submitting my app.

The other day, a friend asked me how I summoned the discipline to work constantly at my app/MCATs. I told her that her point of view is probably distorted, because we spend everyday comparing ourselves to other people. I think working part-time helps, as opposed to being a full-time student in her case, because I have extra hours in the day to live life. And by that, it means I go to the gym, take the bus home, and shower. I don't have to study for classes, or do homework, or write a thesis or anything like that. And occasionally make time on a weekend for jazz festivals. More importantly, I'm not where I want to be in life. For me, that's the biggest motivator of all.

I didn't say all those things to her though. Being the sucky friend I am, I just told her to "suck it up and do it" :P

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Soapbox: I hate texting.

Up until recently, I was a big supporter of technology. I love computers, smart phones, video games, instant messaging, blogs, iPad and other tablets...If there is a screen and buttons that I can touch, I love it.

Not anymore.

Ok, well, I still love my xbox.

I don't want my cell phone anymore. I'm tired of being texted constantly, at all hours of the day. It was partly my fault for answering, but I really need to put my foot down on this. My schedule was one that we had agreed upon prior to being offered the position, and was a stipulation I was very clear about keeping. I can understand if this job was one that included an "on-call" type of schedule, or if I was working in something drastic like suicide prevention, but it's not. 

Some of the ones I get are like these:
"Mingle, can you ask Mark to do xyz"
"Do I need to send xyz?"
"When is xyz due?"
"Does Mark know where to fax xyz to?"
"What other forms do I need?"
"Mingle, can you ask Dr. Boss* if we need xyz"

Texting is ridiculously time consuming and time-wasting. I don't mind getting one question, really. But when I get a whole string of 20 questions, from two people who should also otherwise be talking directly to one another, it gets very irritating very fast. It's being interrupted from Other Important Tasks twenty times every 60-90 seconds to answer a series of questions that could be more quickly answered through an e-mail or via a 5-minute phone call. No one actually TALKS anymore!

The worst texts are the "ask him to do this and that." After about a month playing messenger I finally said something to the both of them: "If YOU need something, then you two need to communicate. Instead of writing ME a text/e-mail, why don't you write Mark/Boss the SAME text and ask him yourself. It's kind of faster. And clearly, using me as your messenger isn't working because it's been almost two weeks and we're still working on the same thing."

It feels like I'm in a sitcom, where I'm stuck as the go-between between two people that are arguing and being petty about talking to one another.

I miss those days when you could pretend to lose reception to avoid talking to someone you didn't want to talk to. "What? Wha-er, hold on, I'm going into a tunnel!!! (making fake static noises) I'm los (fake static) ing you (more fake static) hello? hello? he-" (hangs up on purpose).

I really, really sympathize with those doctors who get calls at crazy hours of the day for things that are really non-urgent.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Stress...and Eating

I don't know what's going on with me these days, but I have been extremely on edge. Part of it is that unending nagging thought of "shitshitshit it's July I gotta get my app submitted shitshitshit" while the other part just felt like everything that could go wrong went wrong last week.

I'm still editing my Personal Statement. There are still rough spots to smooth over, but I think that the current flow/narrative I have now is good. Almost. I said that for all the other versions though. Surprisingly, I'm having the most trouble talking about my AmeriCorps year. Everything is still fresh, so I thought it would be easy, but it isn't. I also did a lot in a year...so sifting through all those experiences and distill it down to one representative "ah-ha" moment is hard. But I am getting sick of working on it. The level of stress that comes from this is going to be standard throughout the year, though. With secondaries and (hopefully) interviews, it won't get any better.

That alone isn't bad, if I didn't also have to deal with work. I'm wondering if it's a character flaw in myself. But when I describe certain events to close friends, some of them have said things like "I'm surprised you're still there" and "You really need to get out" and "It's definitely not you, because my boss is like that too and I hate my boss." Also, I tend to break out when stress gets really bad, which sucks. I think it's a sign that I need more gym time. If I have energy to be irritated then I should use that energy to run and be productive. I'm hoping that once I'm back in school, doing something I've always wanted to do, things may get better.

I was pretty cranky on Friday, the result of having left my phone AND my work files (which contain patient info*) at one of the senior homes on Thursday. The first thing I did was rush back there in the morning before work, but of course by then my phone was gone aka stolen. The upside is that I don't store important info in it and it's not a smart phone. I got to work late (my fault for missing the bus) and found out my coworker was also late, and had to deal with over-anxious patients and residency staff talking at me and asking (in two languages, no less) about their appointments and pointedly ignoring my "I don't know, I have to check." I really, really wish people would calm down about these things. I've worked with large groups of children for years, and am generally used to being talked at by multiple kids at once, so I don't know why having adults do the same thing to me annoys me but it did.

Thank goodness for weekends. I've been pointedly ignoring another pre-med friend's questions about my app process (really? we don't talk for months and the first thing you ask is about my app?) and unwinding over the weekend. I met up with my friend for some okonomiyaki and after that, we had some sake cocktails and sangria. The sangria tasted like juice, but clearly it wasn't juice, because two hours went by before we realized that two hours had gone by. I think I've reached that point where I don't get carded anymore :( It's probably for the best..my driver's license picture has me looking like I'm lining up for a mug shot. I'm glad I get Wednesday off too, for July 4th weekend. More time for my app! Yay!!

Okonomiyaki. Photo from Izumiya's Yelp.com page
Egg over soba noodles over a Japanese savory pancake with calamari cooked into the batter. 

*I don't think I'm supposed to be carrying patient charts around....... =[

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Things I Wish For/Schools

I wish the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) still came in a book form, even though this does save paper (and saves having to throw it out later).

I wish the MSAR had a fancier user interface. I'd like to be able to click on a link to read more about a school, but still have access to the search functions to start a new search without having to click the "Back" button or "Back to search results" link. At least the MSAR lets me view school information on a separate tab....but tabs tend to pile up after a while. It's inelegant, I say! Inelegant!

I also wish it would list each school's requirement for letters of recommendations (like, X number of letters from a science professor, X number from non-science, additional letters, etc...Because even though it's pretty standard, some of them vary by a teensie bit. It's much easier for a staff of, say, 10 people to look it up on a school's website for everyone, than it is for tens of thousands of people to look up the same information for their own use. Just sayin, it would save a lot of collective hours.

I also wish the American Medical College Application Service was set up to be more like a spreadsheet, or a Microsoft Access database. I'd like to just hit "Tab" key to move through different entries and add all my Work/Activities information on one distinct webpage, instead of clicking "Add another Work/Activity" 10-15 times to add all my info. It's not that I'm lazy (even though I am lazy), I just like things to be practical. I like to do things with the fewest number of steps so I can focus on more important things. 

I wish for a lot of things, though. 

I'm finalizing my list of schools. I'm debating whether to apply for a Canadian school...I know next to nothing about them, but maybe if there's time, I'll look into them. I think I have a good number of "back-up" and "in-my-range" schools, based on my gpa and test scores. My list is too long for my comfort. It's both expensive, and I may not have enough time to give every secondary application the time it deserves. There are a few that I am rather "meh" about, but feel like I should apply because my scores fall within their ranges. 

I have some time to mull over the 1-2 schools that I may/may not keep, since I'm still waiting for a few people to proofread my essays, but I'm hoping to submit soon. Argh. It's tempting to think that, once I submit it, I can go "woohoo it's done!!" But in reality, I've only just started. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Today, a seagull pooped on my hand and my $1 Alcatraz tour guide.
Actually, I think there might have been a second poo-on-Mingle attempt. I'm not sure, I just know I heard multiple "splat-splat-splat" sounds to either side of me as I was crossing the street this morning. Anyway, when I was unfolding my tour guide to look at the map, I felt something warm splat on my fingers and saw that it was seagull poo. Lucky for me, the unlucky tourist couple walking up next to me got most of the splatter. Apparently this is the middle of their mating season, so there are a lot of seagulls, nests, and baby seagulls. The chicks are actually pretty cute. They're fluffy and gray with dark gray spots for camouflage. 

A friend was able to obtain free tickets for the ferry (normally, they are $28 for adults, which isn't even that bad). Today was a good day to go, because it was sunny. I missed a picture moment as the ferry boat was approaching the island. It's rather imposing.

Pulling into the docs

The Storehouse/Warehouse, with the chimney from the power plant right behind it. 

The show "Alcatraz" makes the cells look a lot nicer and bigger....
I can't imagine pooping and sleeping in the same room. Although if I was in prison, I'm sure it would be the least of my concerns. 

The Post Exchange (general store) for soldiers when Alcatraz was still a fort. It was then converted into an officer's club during when Alcatraz became a prison. 

Solitary confinement rooms. The extra bad boys go here. 

The sign says: U.S. Penitentiary. 
The red paint says "Indians Welcome," painted when Native Americans decided to Occupy Alcatraz as part of their movement to reclaim land for themselves from the gov't. 

Bye bye Alcatraz. 

Afterwards, I met up with another friend and we walked along the beach...I think our total distance was about 2 miles, give or take some. I'm sufficiently pooped.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sketch: Mingle Moments

Dazed Mingle

That's probably what I looked like during finals week. Reddish hair and everything. Although I didn't dress half as decent. I remember biking to my final wearing my purple fleece bunny-print pajama pants to finals.

I'm rusty again. I sketched by hand and then scanned it into my computer. I had to look up a tutorial to remember how to trace it digitally, and then it took a few tries before I remembered how to set up the file to paint without painting over the outline. Coloring isn't so bad now, but that's because I don't invest a lot of time in shading.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Hump Day!

Two more days until the weekend!

The other day, I realized that the rooms at the main office is really, really dirty. Like, I would probably eat a chip if I dropped it on the floor at home, but when I dropped my jacket on the floor at work, I didn't wear it for the rest of the day.

I'm ridiculously tired. Most Wednesdays, I end up escorting patients in groups of 2-3 to the main office to see the doctor. The office pays for the cab ride, but all the same it feels mentally draining, especially when 30 minutes pass by and the cab still hasn't shown up. Today went smoothly, wonder of wonders, but my coworker took our work laptop, so I had nothing to do before my next shift at 2:30 except spend the next two hours in the gym.

I ran 4 miles/6.4 km at varying speeds, and then walked until the episode of Law & Order (McCoy!!!) ended. I love watching Law & Order, but I think I'm a sucker for detective/CSI shows in general. And then I played with weights and worked on the machines for another hour, and then I decided that it was time to eat lunch, so I showered and left. I got this weird abdominal cramp when I was twisting my torso to grab my iPod, and another one in my toe when I was getting on the bus.

I bumped into one of the residents who attend my exercise class, and since she has difficulty walking, I offered to pick up stuff for her at the nearby farmer's market. I stopped at another honey-farm booth and picked up three flavored honey sticks: raspberry, lemon and orange. People in the city rave about it, but I think I like regular honey best. The farmer's market is awesome though. It was my first time going to that particular market, and I felt like I was a kid walking through the toy store. There was kettle corn, a pizza truck with a portable oven set-up on the street that makes fresh pizza, a lot of organic/non-organic produce,a fish stall, flower-stands, and live music. I always complain that produce is expensive, but my friends living on the east coast tell me that produce is less fresh and more expensive, and 90% of the produce I saw today was picked in the last 1-3 days and driven into the city.

I'm trying to re-write one of the "Most Meaningful Activity" essay in my Work/Activities section, but I'm falling asleep in my chair. Sometimes, I think I try too hard not to sound stoopids, to the point that it keeps me from saying what I really want to say. It's easy to get caught up in a cycle of type-delete-stare.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Randomness: Shoes, City Night Life and Orientations

New shoes always make me happy. Especially when they were on sale. ESPECIALLY if it was 30% off the sale price. Win!!!

Even though the back of both my ankles are missing a patch of skin and it burns like no other in the shower, I still looooove themmmmm. Shoes! Why do you hurt me so?!?! New shoe, new callus =/ I think every pair of flats and heels that I buy end up giving me a blister or rubbing off some skin, somewhere. I still wear my sneakers too, many of which date back from high school. The nice thing about San Francisco is that *most* of the time, nobody cares what you wear...Although I probably wouldn't walk into a J. Crew store wearing my Nike sneakers and a sweatshirt. I think a guy can pull that off and not be judged, but a girl would definitely get some side-eye. That kind of sucks, because a lot of "weekend lay-zee wear" for women looks awfully contrived and most definitely not effortless.

Which leads me to the topic of weekend get-togethers with friends. A friend of mine, Katie, recently moved into San Francisco and through her, I started to learn more about the San Francisco night-life, like:

K: "Did you know that most people prefer to date along their bus route?"
Me: "BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!"
K: "I'm serious! You have to plan your dates around the bus schedules! If you plan to go home, you have to cut your date short so you can catch the bus, and transferring buses is a pain, so most people go to bars along their bus route to work. 

It just seemed funny, but it does make sense. A lot of adults in their mid-20s to early-30s move into the city for various reasons, and I guess it's pretty much the only way to meet someone in a big city. I hate it though. I hate having to dress up and put on make up, and then going to a place where people stink, or step on your toes, or spill booze on you, or almost barf on you, and then you go home and you stink, you're sweaty, and your feet hurt.

But clearly, I don't get out a lot, because my idea of going out at night is meeting up with nearby friends for an after-dinner, post-studying beer at a neighborhood bar in sweats and a t-shirt, and then walking home to crawl into bed. However, I do like jazz lounges and don't mind dressing up a little to go to one because most people go to enjoy the ambiance and music. 

In AmeriCorps, the Volunteer in Service To America (VISTA) program held a pre-service orientation in Portland, Oregon. I felt like it was a huge waste of time. We spent the first day (8 hours) talking about "Poverty." Supposedly, it would lessen the culture-shock of working with The Poors (note: sarcasm). My memory of that orientation is unsurprisingly vague, but I DO remember some dude who kept repeating his story about "being from a very well-off family" and how, when he was volunteering for XYZ organization, he met a woman and "could feel the pain and suffering she was feeling" and something about "seeing it in her eyes that she was grateful" and by the way, my family is really well-off." I wanted to rip my ear drums out. I also couldn't believe that other girls in my group were going all googly-eyed. Seriously?

I think instead, the three 8-hour-day workshops could have given us concrete skills like how to write an effective grant proposal with a mock-grant application. Or discuss different options for fundraisers, drawn from the non-profits that many of us were being sent to, or how to deal with staff who were not treating us with respect and as a useful/free resource (there was a lot of that in the forums). The orientation ended up being more like a mini-vacation for me, because I got to explore Portland a little bit, AND AND AND I got my own hotel room (Naked time!!!! Just kidding) Powell's Bookstore was also a very cool bookstore, with lots of new and used books at a good price. I hung out with the other AmeriCorps people once, but I felt like a lot of them were kind of....ditzy, or, openly planned to stay in their home town for the rest of their life.

By contrast, the AmeriCorps HealthCorps group was more down-to-earth, adventurous and more fun...I kind of wish I joined that volunteer program instead. They held a lot of group overnight retreats to beautiful state parks, whereas I was kind of on my own, doing my own thing.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Weekend Recap!

It ended too soon!!! Arrrrgh.

First up, hot sandwiches. Unfortunately, there is no picture online for the hot links + sauerkraut sandwich I got, because I ate it and all the reviewers from www.yelp.com decided to post 5 million pictures of chicken pesto sandwiches. They have this neat frequent flyer card though, so for every 10 sandwiches you buy, you get the 11th sandwich free. I'm going to re-allocate all my fun money towards sandwiches now. "What's that, friends? You want to go hang out? Sorry, I have to try another sandwich from Lou's Cafe today."

My friend (her nickname is 'dogga' or 'dogs') and I headed out to the Marin Headlands park, which is on the peninsula just north of San Francisco and extends for several miles along the coast. It was my second time out on the trail, but we only hiked up to the two-mile point (picture #1) before the wind and fog become too much. This time, the weather was perfect. The picture is deceivingly calm where we stood, as it gets pretty windy at sea level.

I'm on top of the world!!

We decided to head down into Tennessee Valley towards Tennessee Cove. It was a pretty steep one-mile trail down, and another mile on flat ground towards the beach. It's a pretty overgrown trail, with lots of thorny things and bite-y things that made me itch along the way. The slope is pretty slippery. In hindsight, I should have brought my ankle brace because I almost rolled my ankle, which is how I sprained it the first time. I wish I had billy goat hooves instead of feet so I can frolic nimbly down. While playing a pan flute. Baaaaaa! 

The other side of the trail

Tennessee Cove was super windy. We only sat long enough to eat an orange before we decided to brave the hike back. I took this picture off Pro Trails because my picture sucked. The waves were pretty big, so every time I tried to take a picture my lens would be coated in seawater mist. The cove is pretty in person though. 

The hike back up the steep trail wasn't as bad as we thought. We maintained a slow, but steady pace and didn't have to worry about slipping and falling. We were rewarded with a good view, and the final two-mile hike back to the car was all downhill, so it was easy. Our total hike was about 8 miles. It felt good! I guess I'm not as out of shape as I thought. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Work/Activities Section

Listing all my jobs/extracurriculars now, and explaining in too few words what I did and what I learned. Let's see, I learned how to fold sweaters and men's woven shirts. I learned that you can't iron non-iron shirts because it ruins the non-iron-yness, and I learned that dry cleaning is expensive after a while.

Speaking of which, I have all these professional clothes that "I'll invest in!" and I never wear them. I also was never informed that the other office slaves have to wear scrubs to work. All this time, I've been wearing jeans and a graphic t-shirts. I should invest in scrubs though. 'Cuz then I can just wear that one set ALL WEEK before I wash it. Yeah! Maybe if I get enough stains on them, people will give me more standing room on the bus ride home.

I suppose this is the homestretch of Phase 1 of the application process, the Primaries. After seven months of gentle harassment, my last letter writer finally submitted her letter of recommendation to confirm that while I sucked at organic chem, I kicked butt in her class. I am still expecting another letter but I consider it a "bonus,"  as in her particular letter isn't required by schools, so if I do not receive it at all, I won't panic. I asked all my letter writers well in advance. Maybe about nine months in advance, but I didn't actually meet with my old professors in person until late-October, after my sling was off and I could control my arm enough to drive.

My work/activities section is harder than I thought. Not all of these activities had a huge effect on me. The great thing about going to a big university is that there were a lot of volunteer opportunities at the nearby medical school. The downside is, no one gives a crap about you. It's not that I expect people to go out of their way for me or any other pre-med, and the "meaningful experiences" I get are things that I pursued with my own effort, not because someone treated me nice as a student. But there's no way around the fact that sorting hundreds and hundreds of transcription records sucks. I remember reading a few that were interesting, but I suspect that I dozed off at some point because there's a fuzzy part in my memory.

The new thing (added last year?) was the new "Most Meaningful Activity" section. We get an addition 1300-ish characters to explain why a specific activity (a maximum of 3 activities) was the most meaningful. I spent a couple of days drooling on myself in a stupor trying to write that segment on my AmeriCorps year. It's hard to sum up everything I learned in a year to 1300 characters (with spaces!!).

I don't read the Student Doctor Network forums much. Only the first 2-3 Important Info posts of each thread that talks about the application. I decided that I can be perfectly neurotic on my own without needing to swim in an ocean of other people's neuroses.

This week overall hasn't been too productive. Wednesday sucked all around, but because it sucked, I was super productive at the gym. That makes three times this week! woohoo!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

No, No, No

I take back my leniency with the "Oh, well maybe I'm just spoiled by working with awesome non-profits and awesome businesses-with-strong-community-ties." This job makes me go from Normal Mingle to Crazed Mangle in so many ways.

Here's my thought process this lovely, Wednesday morning.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

More Soapbox Time

That's what I'm supposed to be working on, but honestly I am more concerned about the eggplant parmesan and crème brûlée baking in the oven. This feeling of hunger and vexation! Feed me mommyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

I miss cooking on my own though. I like to try random recipes and then tearfully eat the misshapen morsels of failure. I also miss the freedom of sleeping on my clean laundry because I'm lazy and not have to be judged (and nagged) for it.
Anyway. That was yesterday. I thought it was hilarious that my mom still gave us rice to eat with the eggplant parm. We also ate it with chopsticks. Old habits die hard. It's because of habit that I'll never eat brown rice. I tried it once at a friend's house in college, and I did that childish thing where I stuck out my tongue with a half-chewed lump of brown rice and made a disgusted face. Because I'm classy like that. I love white rice.

The other day, I realized that I am third in seniority at work, at 8 months of employment.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I realize it's not the end of the world, but it does feel like it when my 2nd score actually came out to be lower than my original score across the board. It's so depressing to know that all the extra work I did was for naught, and that by trying to improve myself, I screwed myself over instead. At least not all schools require me to send both of my scores, but there are a few on my List that do require all scores.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Soap Box Time

Coming out of college and working at a non-profit, I got used to working with open-minded socially progressive adults. I was spoiled by never having to feel like I needed to justify my opinions and beliefs; people simply responded, "Why?...Oh okay. That's cool."

My conversation with my new coworker today greatly irritated me because I let him goad me into a conversation that was both stupid and pointless to get into. I don't remember what the original topic was anymore, but at some point he said something along the lines of 'children are so awesome' and after noticing my bland expression, asked, "You don't like children?" 

Me: "No. Not really."
Dude: "So you don't want kids?"
Me: "Meh, not really. 
Dude: "Whaaaaaaaat?! I've never met anyone who didn't want to have children!"
Me: "There are lots of women, my age and older, who don't want children."
Dude: "Really? Is it a phase?"
Me: "Wtf? No! Puberty is a phase."
Dude: "So I have a question for you, 'What is the most important role of a woman?'"
Me (deadpan): "Who cares? I don't."
Dude (quoting): "'A mother.' That's what Miss XYZ from NoOneCares Pageant said."
Me: "Uh. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Am I supposed to listen to a chick in a tiara for wisdom? She probably spends more money on make-up and dresses than a poor person in Africa earns in a lifetime. Oh my goodness." 

I walked away, otherwise I might have said something obscene. If I had been a bit wittier, I would have shot back with a snark like, "More important than cooking dinner barefoot in the kitchen for my husband?" 


I don't look down on motherhood. Mothers are important. Seeing mothers interact with their kiddies gives me a warm fuzzy feeling that I just have no interest in duplicating for myself. And I have worked with kids, so I don't avoid them like the plague. Little kids can be cute and fun to talk to, but I enjoy giving them back to their parents. Typically, I experience a bigger reaction seeing puppies and other baby animals. I almost cried watching an episode of "Too Cute" on Animal Planet because there were puppies. PUPPIES. 

What bothers me the most is when people equate being a woman to being a mother first and foremost. I don't want the respect of a person who thinks that way. My value is not measured in terms of how much mileage I get out of my lady parts, and if they develop metaphorical cobwebs from lack of use, then so be it. I'm not superior or inferior to a stay-at-home-mom or a working mom. Moreover, people shouldn't be compared in that way. 

I also hate it when people like my coworker treat this conscious decision as a "phase" that I will someday "outgrow," like how "being a rebellious teenager" is a phase, or a "mid-life crisis" is a phase. IF I change, and that's a biiiig IF, it's not because I suddenly matured and saw the light, it's because my values and goals in life changed. I'm not broken, I'm not "just still a young girl." I don't see the purpose in belittling a free-thinking, reasonably well-educated, adult woman's principles, even if she is young. 

I think Coworker Dude's opinions stemmed from cultural and religious differences in his upbringing. I can accept differences, and I can accept people asking me about my reasoning behind my beliefs and opinions, but his tone of questioning ticked me off and I let it get under my skin. I miss my old coworkers. They seemed more capable of...discourse. All four (or was it five?) of them quit in a two-month span. I'll stick to talking to my patients at the senior home. They're less judge-y and super hilarious.