143 – Conflicted

I (1) love (4) you (3). Can’t unsee the number to word association.

It’s been a while.

Lots has happened, though much of it isn’t very interesting is talk about/reflect on.

Last week was really rough. A cup of coffee on Monday led to a two-day long migraine. Couldn’t function with it. Slept through most of it. I suspect a bad reaction to coffee…but I’ll need to see a doctor about it to confirm.

Next week promises to be worse with 2 assignments and 2 final exams (in-class ones). The joys of university.

Amidst the past few chaotic weeks, some thoughts have come to mind that I thought were important to address as they may prove essential to my attitude towards others.

And these thoughts mostly have to do with my less academically-achieving/driven friends. I don’t like to group them up under this label as I think they’re all brilliant in different ways and they’re awesome people to be around, but in order to address these thoughts, I have to highlight the source of my inner conflict. As someone who went through high school with academically driven friends (through IB and Middle Years & with friends in the regular program that tended to get more As and Bs than Cs), I’ve more or less been ingrained that anything less than an A is just not good enough. Because of this mentality, I’m not sure how to react when my friends are happy with getting a B/passing. On one camp, I’m happy for them since they’re satisfied with that level of achievement. On the other hand, I have this nudging feeling that if I express elation from such a grade in others that I too will become complacent with a grade below my expectations.

The best way I’ve found to counteract this problem is to simply not make comparisons between myself and others and to instead, focus on self-comparisons. Therefore, instead of thinking “I could’ve done just as well as them if I tried harder”, I try to redirect my thoughts to be more in line with “I could do better than I did last time if I studied harder” or “I didn’t do as well as I normally did – this needs more work”.

For most cases, this solution seems to solve the issue – I applaud others for their personal success while working towards my own.

However, in situations that are more limiting, I feel conflicted.

That research opportunity that I missed the deadline for? I got in. By pure luck, the undergrad advisor accepted my late application. If it were any other situation, I wouldn’t even be considered. But I made it. This made me beyond happy on Thursday as it was a nice gift at the end of a rough week. In my excitement, I posted in our Facebook chat that I got in. But instead of “me too!”, all I got was “grats :)”. This implies to me that my friends didn’t get in despite the fact that they actually handed their application in time. Or they may have gotten in and were just happy for me. The latter I have no problem with but the thought of the former does.

Because the former just seems a little unfair. Obviously, I’m thankful for the opportunity and am not about to bite the hand that feeds me, but I also feel uneasy because I was given this despite my disadvantage.

In the end, I’ve decided to take it as I deserve the opportunity despite my mistake and not think too much of it. I’d much rather focus on whose lab I want to have my experience in. 🙂

[As an aside: watching Lee Sedol take a game off of AlphaGo gave me jitters for hours after the stream had ended…(and through my sleep). It’s so inspiring to see someone of such calibre putting everything they have into a game with odds against them. I think that’s a very beautiful thing – the ability for humans to give their all even if it’s a losing battle. That’s something I don’t think machines will ever have as they will give up once the probability of winning becomes lower than a certain threshold. It’s foolish to fight difficult battles – but in many cases, it’s well worth it.]

136 – End of classes, piece of happiness

I think I have a tendency to write more when I’m sleep deprived. So here I am again after only getting 3 hours of sleep last night.

Today was the last day of classes so thank goodness for that. Had to do two papers (3500 words and 2000 words respectively) for today…hence the semi-allnighter.

Had a 60s presentation for the psych class as well. No big deal. Though her marking style really has me cringing and frustrated. She’s a great prof but very, very specific to what she wants to hear.

Got my first midterm on Saturday so I’ll be meeting up with Alina tomorrow to study some chemistry. I feel a bit more productive with someone else in the room provided they’re not the ones being the distraction.

Been playing way too much league for my own good. But that’s usually what happens around exam time – after all, I got to diamond a year and a half ago during finals…what physics exam, right?

The instructor/TA I emailed the 3500 word assignment to replied back saying he had received it…and also extended an invitation to do summer research in the lab that he’s in (he probably sent it to other students too, but it was special to me nonetheless) .  We had a conversation last week about how I thought research wasn’t for me and how I’d much rather go into industry/med school. He told be he disagreed and thought that I was actually quite good (the course he’s teaching is a lab/research-based course). It made me feel really happy. Because the course had been frustrating – especially for the other members of my group. To be perfectly honest though, I liked it…though I wouldn’t say that to the face of my frustrated team.

In any case, it just made me smile really hard (and blush) that he referred back to that conversation and made the effort to reply considering the number of 3000+ word assignments he now has to grade…

I definitely have one of those “really love this prof but would not approach” crushes on him. Totally platonic though. Don’t need more grad student drama after that infuriating elevator guy. Nope.

Besides, I have a boyfriend.  So double nope.

But damn, he has me considering trying research again. :/

131 – and so life continues.

It’s been a long while.
Not sure why it took me so long to get down to writing this.
Wasn’t too busy to write.
Just chose to do other things instead. Maybe I was wrung dry of words. Maybe that’s just an excuse.

A million things to talk about. Not sure where to begin.

Maybe with some closure.

At the end of August, the Chemistry department held a poster session for undergraduate summer research projects.
As I’ve mentioned, I wasn’t proud of what I had accomplished. But I grit my teeth, finished my poster, and attended the damn thing. It went alright. The judges were sympathetic to the anguish challenges I encountered throughout the project.  I actually received a letter of commendation for my poster a few weeks after (apparently myself and two of my friends were pretty close to winning one of the poster prizes – $100 + recognition – and one friend was pretty cheesed because of that). So I guess I learned something. Even if the project failed.

Took my MCAT two weeks prior to that. The CARS section was really interesting – not so philosophy heavy and lots of art/history/psych/literature that I like reading. Apparently Chem/Phys is my worst section (according to mock exams I did) and I think it might end up being the worst on the actual. Bio/biochem was a challenge as well. I think it’ll be easier when I retake it next year after talking Bio,  Biochem, and Biological Chem courses.
Chem/Phys though…I really should not be struggling with that (not enough review I guess).

After an end of summer barbecue at centre island, I went back to Vancouver for two weeks.
Had so much good food that I can’t help but miss it now. Was nice seeing friends that I haven’t seen in a long time.

Rach and Tiff gave me this little guy (although not that little):

image

Although I couldn’t bring him back with me (I returned to Toronto with twice the stuff I left with),  he’ll live forever as pixels in my phone.
Always brings a smile to my face.  And a reminder to download Tsum Tsum.

Went to Banff for a few days. Saw a lot of nature and a lot of rain. Food was kinda meh though.

Went hiking with my brother by Lake Louise. Turns out that’s something we both enjoy. Didn’t get to hike to where we want due to time constraints ): Really wanted to see the Tea House.

In any cause I’m now back in Toronto for another year of academic agony.
Super busy already. Although my procrastination continues.

There was more I wanted to talk about but I think I’ll end this entry here.

Here’s to hoping that this year will be better than the last.

125 – the damn freight elevator.

There’s this guy who works in the lab across from mine that I’ve shared a few conversations with regarding the shitty freight elevator we have in our building (I thought that damn thing was broken and didn’t come up to the 6th floor until he showed me that you have to press the button down really hard before it lights up).

Today, the elevator was being especially shitty (it went down to the first floor then all the way up to the 7th floor before finally going back down to the basement). After getting some dry ice from the basement, I waited a minute or so for the freight elevator before saying “screw it, I’ll take the stairs”.

As I was walking to the stairs, I saw the aforementioned guy waiting for the elevator (there is a front and back door to the elevator, he was waiting in front of the front door while I was waiting in front of the back door and the stairs are next to the front door). He said he’d been waiting for the elevator for the while. I replied saying that it was being weird today (going up and down without going down to the basement) and that I was going to take the stairs.

“Let’s see who gets to the 6th floor first”.

OH HELL NO HE DIDN’T.

So I ran up those stairs as fast as I could (but my stamina sucks and I was holding a box of dry ice I didn’t want to drop).

When I reached the 6th floor, I saw him walking out of the damn elevator.

Eff. my. life. I could’ve just taken the elevator.

Felt really peeved at first. But then just lighthearted because of the stupidity of the whole thing. Just smiled and laughed it off ’cause it was just so silly.

Oh and it helps that the guy is cute.

Like really cute.

120

Feeling weary and tired.

No doubt due to numerous nightmares I had last night.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t dream so vividly.

To make matters worse, I had decaf coffee this morning (I wanted to try it). It tastes better. But doesn’t give me the zing of energy I get from regular coffee. I didn’t even get much of a placebo effect (probably because I knew it was decaf and that only works when you think it’s regular coffee). I think I’ll stick with regular coffee. The caffeine is what has me hooked on the stuff – not the taste.

Anxious about my presentation on Thursday. I don’t know if what I have is even presentable material. It feels too simple. I feel like I’ll just get a “Oh, good” reaction rather than an “Ah, cool!”. I could live with that. I guess.

Was vortexing my samples when I noticed a drawer labelled “Fried chicken and watermelon”. It’s nice to know that whoever was making labels for these drawers has a good sense of humour. Maybe FCW stands for something. Not sure.

Wasn't even kidding.

Wasn’t even kidding.

I did check inside the drawers though. No fried chicken nor watermelon. Only some petri dishes and fluoropel. Yeah, not so exciting.

Can’t wait to get home and snuggle in my bed. Rain always makes me want to just curl up and read a book. Awful weather lately (thunderstorm last night resulted in subway delays this morning). Actually, screw “lately”, awful weather all the time in Toronto.

Welp. Just gotta make do.

119 – Oodles of Doodles of Happiness

I just think oodles is an adorable word.

Work was good today. I changed my procedure a bit so it can be done with minimal errors. It’s amazing the amount of technical expertise you can gain from google (not really, but I learned how to pipette ethers without losing half the quantity). The samples we ran yesterday have decent peaks so it seems like my sample prep is working. Just need to test it on lower concentrations now (*fingers crossed it works and I don’t have alter it again*).

Went to the sushi place by University and Dundas – the one I went to often last year when I was living at Chestnut. The sushi is cheap (4.99+tax! :D), service is fast, and the quality is decent for what I pay. Haven’t gone back there for months now, so I was surprised to see little paintings on their walls.

There were these little animals and pokemon under the takeout menu and they totally made my day. They’re the kind of critters I draw when I’m bored in class. Couldn’t resist taking pictures, of course. 🙂

Just got off the phone with my mom (not really, she said like two sentences to me before passing the phone to our family friend and then saying she’ll call me later cause her phone is running out of batteries), and feeling just a twinge of homesickness. Usually when family friends are visiting, that means a lot of good food. I’m. So. Missing. Good. Food. T_T

Other than that, I can’t really complain. I think I’m finally getting used to living here (like two years late, but whatever), but living here is definitely not preferable to back home.

As a little moment of the inner spoiled me speaking: I miss good internet and playing games on an actual computer and flaaffy my stuffed sheep and my mokona’s and playing on my wii and all my friends of course and weather that doesn’t change from hot to cold to hot again and trees, there just aren’t as many here and my family and the city itself….

Whew.

I’m glad I got that out.

118

It’s a new month, so I thought I’d start it off by refreshing my thoughts.

Toronto weather is continuing to have mood swings. It’s been raining the past couple of days and today it’s suddenly gotten really cold out of nowhere (we’ve been having warm weather lately but NOPE not anymore). It’s literally gone from hot to cold overnight. Oh Toronto…

Went out for Kirsten’s birthday last Friday. Everyone she invited for that dinner was from U of T (and most of them I have met before & are fellow Chemistry majors 🙂 ) so there was no awkwardness there. We went to a nice restaurant (Daisho in the Momofuku building), and although it killed my wallet, we had a great time there.

I’m still behind on my studying. No excuses here. Just me not doing what I’m supposed to. Typical. Ugh. I’ll work on it. I promise.

Got a monthly meeting for my research project coming up. I’m still not happy with my method. Got a few things I need to figure out. Currently running some samples through the machine right now. Fingers crossed that I didn’t mess up my procedure too badly. It’ll be quite embarrassing if everyone else have these amazing things they’ve been doing and I’ve got essentially nothing. But I suppose that’s where my BSing skills come in.

I really just can’t wait to go home (summer has never felt so looonngg). My mom says she might plan a trip to Banff (one of the most beautiful national parks, although Canada’s rural area is often beautiful so it’s difficult to pinpoint “most beautiful”). I’d love to do some hiking.

I definitely don’t think I’ll be doing another full-time research project next summer. It’s not something that I want to be spending my summers doing, I don’t think. But we’ll see. I say a lot of things and change my mind a dozen times after. After all, life is full of surprises and I just have to take each thing as they come. 🙂