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It’s been a long while since my last post, so I decided to push myself to write something today. One of my resolutions was to write more per month, but it’s clearly become an ongoing struggle. Will try to do better this summer.

Part of me feels like I’m running away when I don’t write. It’s hard for me to get focused without a clear plan of what I’m going to do and how I’m going to do it and writing seems to making things easier. When I’m not writing, I feel like I’m dodging my problems…this rings especially true when considering the copious amounts of Stardew Valley, League of Legends, and Overwatch that I’ve been playing. Gaming is not a solution to all your problems, Nessa. Jeez.

I have a rough two months coming up ahead. While I know it’ll be stressful, I think it’ll be really good to feel productive this summer.

Currently enrolled in two courses (introductory Biochemistry and Physiology) that I’ve been having immense difficulty fitting into my regular schedule and thus have been forced to take them in the summer. May drop Physiology if the first midterm does not go well since learning so much material in the span of six weeks is absolutely ridiculous. It’s not required for my degree/graduation, but I felt like taking it may help me in studying for my MCAT retake. I’ve always found learning from a teacher/professor to be easier than on my own.

I wanted to get a part-time job this summer (at a coffee shop so I can stop spending so much money on coffee…), but due to my other responsibilities, this doesn’t seem to be realistic until at least after my summer courses end. 😦

Currently continuing to help out in the psych lab I was RAing in for the past year – just training some summer students. Also applied and was accepted as a volunteer RA to another lab – really excited about the opportunity as the lab is one of the only at U of T to use psychophysiological instrumentation. I think the experience will be super rewarding even if I don’t get paid for it.

On top of the courses and the RAing, I also have to study for the MCAT and continue volunteering (~3 hours/week). Safe to say I don’t have much free time planned in the coming weeks. But it’ll be good for me. Hard work is supposed to make you a better person.

Other miscellaneous things I have yet to do, but am mentioning as a reminder to myself:

  • CPR & First Aid course next weekend – it’s apparently a medical school requirement for some schools and it’s also something that the lab I’m RAing in wants me to have
  • Renewing my passport (expires in August) – am not looking forward to taking another horrific passport photo…never understood why we can’t smile in those photos
  • visiting a doctor regarding orthotics – flat-footed me has been putting this off for a whole year…that student health coverage isn’t going to spend itself :/
  • decide on a supervisor for CHM499 – have talked to three profs, unsure if I want to talk to more as I’m already struggling in deciding which lab I’d like to work in

Will try to update on how I’m doing every week for the next two months as I navigate through this heavy workload. I think it’ll be a very simple way to keep my spirits high and the stress low (hopefully…)

More than anything, I want to focus on the little things that make life feel good. Like walking through High Park with my friends yesterday. Like winning that game of Coup on Friday (boardgame night) despite being one card down. Like finally getting a Play of the Game on Overwatch despite me being absolutely horrible at FPS games. Like CLG proving NA can be a strong region at MSI.

Things like that.

Things that can put a smile on your face no matter how hard life seems to get.

Let’s focus on these things.

Because happiness is all about perspective.

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. :/

123 – Trying not to compare myself with others.

I am surrounded by brilliant people.

And I suppose, I always have been.

I know it’s stupid to compare myself to other people, but I feel like it’s a natural tendency and it’s hard to stop doing it.

I look at my friends with better GPAs and likeable personalities

and see them struggling to get into medical school

and I can’t help but think

if they’re having trouble getting in, how could I possibility?

On one hand, they’re motivating me to try harder (though I’m unsure if this motivation is actually working).

On the other hand, it’s depressing (perhaps this is countering the motivation?).

It’s hard keep the thoughts out of my head:

I’m not good enough.

They are better than you.

But I know that thinking that way will only move me further from my goal.

So I mustn’t compare myself to anyone but myself.

I must shift the comparisons I’m making from out to within. I know I should be worrying about how I’m going to improve rather than thinking about how much there is improve.

I know I shouldn’t, but I still do.

I don’t do it often, but it sneaks its way into my head from time to time.

I think it’s just something I have to accept.

Maybe I just need to shift from “I’m not as good as them” to “They’re better so I can be better too”.

I think I can do that.

I know I can.

115 – a little update.

I think it’s about time I did another reflection on how my NYR’s are going.

I did get 4 A’s in the winter term (provided my TA doesn’t go back on her word about changing my A- to an A), but my marks aren’t as high as I’d like to be. I bombed a lot of the finals. The two classes I didn’t get A’s in (B+ in Phys Chem, A- in Biopsych), I could’ve easily gotten A’s in if the damn final wasn’t worth so much (50%). I was doing alright in both those courses and underestimated their difficulty. Getting a B stings, but I’ll get over it. Next year is when it really counts and I just have to do better then. And I have to do better. Or risk being stuck here forever.

I’m a little behind in my MCAT studying. I should be done with general chem by now and moving onto orgo chem. I’ve just been having trouble adapting to my new lifestyle. It’s weird to be sleeping so early and waking up so early after so many years of not doing it (even in high school, I tended to prefer sleeping late even if that meant I would fall asleep in class). I’m supposed to finish studying chem, orgo chem, and physics this month – I can do this. I hope. Most of it is just review of stuff I already know, but I really don’t want to miss any bases.

As an update to my MCAT study schedule:

May – chem, orgo chem, physics

June – bio, biochem

July – psych, sociology, verbal reasoning & starting mock exams

August – mock exams

My test date is on August 21st. As long as I stick to my schedule I should be okay (that means no procrastinating like you already are, miss ): <).

—–

Working in a lab is not as exciting  as I’d thought it be. Part of it is due to the fact that I’m not working as hard as I should be, but a huge part of it is that I don’t really know how to do things since I’m working in an analytical chem lab without any prior analytical chem experience. My supervisor is doing fairly important research and I of course don’t want to get in the way, but I also don’t want to do nothing. Hopefully I can find a way to be useful somehow. :/

Another thing that’s been stressing me out is the ridiculous amount of weight I gained during finals season. I know my heightened cortisol levels didn’t’ help nor did the fact that I ate a ton of chocolate. I have to either a) go to the gym like I was supposed to (NYR) or b) buy a bike. I’m leaning towards b) since I see a ton of people riding their bikes as I’m on the way to the lab every morning and they make me hella jealous. I’ll look into it this weekend.

I woke up late this morning because I was having this elaborate “shoujo” dream (there was a girl and two guys – one that obviously likes her and is nice to her and one that is a real jerk but the girl likes him anyway). I haven’t even been reading manga lately (been preoccupied watching house) so it came as a surprise and therefore a source of intrigue and thus why I didn’t wake up right away. Hey brain, I can live without any more dreams like that, thanks.

Going to go focus on my work now…:)

114 – I don’t know what I’m doing, but I kind of like it.

Started my summer research term last Friday (it’s full time for 16 weeks so I’m not going to have a ton of free time this summer). Everyone in the research group are really nice and they’re always willing to explain things to you/help out if you need it – which is great because I don’t really know what’s going on half the time.

For the past few days, I’ve been doing a lot of reading into analytical chemistry techniques and into relevant subject areas for the research.

To be completely honest, I was caught off guard by the amount of terminology that I didn’t know.

Here are some things I’ve wikipedia’ed as I’ve been reading:

1) Assay – any qualitative/quantitative analytical procedure. I’ve heard the word like a million times and it relieves me to finally know what it is in terms of a definition.

2) HPLC-MS vs LC-MS – basically HP means high powered and nobody uses the regular LC anymore because it’s outdated. Technology advances so quickly.

3) Blood serum – serum is everything in your blood except for your blood cells/clotting factors (which is confusing to me because blood without blood cells is so counterintuitive)

4) % CV – not curriculum vitae unfortunately, it’s coefficient of variation (standard deviation/mean)

5) ion suppression – exactly what it sounds like: a bad, bad thing that ruins your data (a major villain in mass spectrometry)

I watched my supervisor tinker with the LC-MS/MS (Liquid Chromatography tandem Mass Spectrometer) yesterday for a few hours  – wish I was a mechanical engineer because that machine sure is complicated.

I’m a little worried that I won’t be able to contribute many ideas to the research project because of my limited knowledge in analytical chemistry, but I’m trying my best to read up on all the necessary background right now so hopefully I won’t be useless.

For now, I’ll just enjoy the learning process and see where I go from there.

P.S. there are markers you can use to write on the windows and someone drew this panda. I don’t know why, but it brings a smile to my face every morning as I walk in.

He's all like

He’s all like “HIIII LET’S DO SOME CHEMISTRY, OKAY? :D”

112 – Need to get focused

The plan hasn’t gone too well. Probably due to the lack of trying.

The exam on Wednesday was disappointing. It was fair and I know I could’ve done well on it if I put in twenty more hours of studying. But I didn’t even try. The course will be my first B/C on my university transcript. Which to most people isn’t the end of the world. For me, it’s a crack in my med school dreams (a crack meaning I can recover if I put in the work, but cracks get worse if no one does anything to fix them – WHAT A GREAT METAPHOR HUH).

I think enough is enough. I spent the rest of Wednesday and Thursday wallowing in self-destruction. Too much chocolate, too much gaming, and too much House. I have another two final exams on Monday and Tuesday and they’re not going to study for themselves (but wouldn’t that be amazing if it were possible).

I’ll ease up on the plan a little, but I’ll get focused also. I can do this.

My mom called me up a few days ago. She says I don’t miss her enough because I don’t call home very often. The former is not true and the latter is something I should work on. I do miss home a lot, but it’s not like my mom will magically appear if I tell her I miss her. It’s something though. Even when I was living at home, we didn’t have real conversations often – but we can always start. I guess. I do miss her lots. I’d really like to go home for a while.

My mom saw my name on the CSU Facebook page and asked about that. I still find it kind of weird that she liked our union’s Facebook page, but it’s sweet at the same time because it shows that she cares about what I’m doing at school outside of class.

Am currently writing this while volunteering at a senior’s home (I help run a little grocery store that they can buy necessities from). It’s really interesting and enriching interacting with the older population. They’re filled with stories, opinions, and lively personalities. There is this couple that always comes by to buy coffee and they seem like some of the most peaceful people I’ve ever met. Definitely a life goal there – growing old with someone you can just enjoy a lovely conversation and coffee with.

Thinking of applying for a volunteer position at a hospital next year, see what it’s really like in there as a non-patient. I do have to be able to balance that with my current volunteering, my work, and school…so I’ll have to see what my schedule looks like in the fall.

Looking at my terribly hard to finish double major, I’m not going to be able to do a semester in Singapore like I wanted. It’s a little disappointing, but there’s nothing stopping me from doing something abroad next summer, so I’ll see.

Thinking back into the present, I really need to try my best. To stay healthy. To be happy. And to do well on my exams.

I think I need to add one more thing to that: to maintain good relationships with the people I know and love (not just my mom, but with the friends that I do have or think I have).

If all else fails,

Just

🙂

102 – The pain won’t stop.

I must’ve done something really bad for my body to die on me like this.

First the five-day migraine.

Then my period.

And now I have what appears to be the flu.

My throat hurts like crazy and my head won’t stop throbbing. A fever slips in and out. My cough keeps getting worse.

Thank god for Advil.

Because of the physical stress and the fact that I just don’t feel well, I haven’t been studying much. I got destroyed on my mid-term last week. Never thought I’d get fifty percent on a test until now. Inorganic chemistry….I thought I got it, but really, I didn’t understand a thing. Molecular Orbital theory is super hard to visualize sometimes…especially when you’re under the pressure of a 50 minute test. Seriously, there wasn’t enough time.

I have a mid-term tomorrow. I’m debating missing it. I already got my doctor to sign my note today. But the mid-term is worth 30%. I don’t want it reweighted onto the final (that would make the final 70%) nor do I really want it weighted on my assignments (worth 30% at the moment, but there’s no telling how well can do on those). If I can get a good few hours of studying (fine, cramming) in tonight, I know I can end up with a decent mark. I have a lab in the morning though so I don’t know how tired I’ll be. Or how sick. If I break out in a fever before the mid-term, I’ll definitely skip it. There’s no point of pushing myself off a cliff for the sake of my GPA (which is already turning into crap anyway).

I miss home. Exam schedule comes out in a few days so I should be able to book my flight home soon. Hopefully I’ll be able to be home for a few weeks.

I got the NSERC USRA (Undergraduate Student Research Award) so I’ll be doing chemistry all summer. Fun. It’ll give me a good idea of how chemistry academia is like though. I hope I’ll be able to do well. Going to have to go speak to potential supervisors this month. When I get better, anyway.

I just need to survive tomorrow. Then I’ll be okay. I’ll have Reading Week to recover.

Almost couldn’t get out of bed today.

There’s little motivation when everything hurts.

I’m ready to just break down.

But I’ll recover.

I always do.