Author Archives: Milie Fang, Biological Sciences / Pre-medicine

About Milie Fang, Biological Sciences / Pre-medicine

I am a senior and an acclaimed workaholic. While I like to keep busy academically, I really enjoy the simple pleasures of hanging out with friends and family, playing video games, or listening to music. When life seems to go well, allergies and eczema like to butt in and make me miserable. I hope to go into medicine so that I can have a better understanding of skin and the immune system to help myself, and to also help others facing the same problems I have faced since I was three.

Optimism is Key

I’m quite peeved right now.

I should be happy, of course, since I am out of school and should be “enjoying” my summer but for some reason I still feel like it’s not over. No, I’m not taking summer school…but if I bombed the organic chemistry exam, I might have to take it again! I looked on Blackboard for my final grade in both the microbiology courses I took and it was a little saddening. If you read my last post, you’d recall why I was not able to attain the A in those classes. I hate that I let things stick around until the point where it finally hurts my performance in school. Relationships aren’t easy.

Rilakkuma Stuffed Bear

I volunteered at the CASL Fundraising Dinner May 2nd and they had tons of awesome raffle prizes and silent auction items. I wish I had seen this guy earlier so I could make a bid too! x)

There are some other things I’m peeved about, like how I can’t find my Wacom tablet at my grandmother’s place even though it should have been placed right on top of my Xbox. I really wanted to draw again this summer and while I could use the regular paper and pencil…it’s not the same. Besides, that was a birthday gift from my brother that cost $200! I need to use it, but I can’t find it…I hope my grandma wouldn’t throw it away…*sigh* There are more things I am quite annoyed of, but altogether I need to be more positive. NOW.

CASL Fundraising Dinner - Xiao Bai Tu

There were lots of people at the CASL Fundraising Dinner! There was even a table for UIC sponsors of CASL. I saw Karen Su there, haha! Anyway, they had these adorable kids from the childcare program sing "Xiao Bai Tu" which means Little White Rabbit. God, they were so incredibly cute! I can't wait to have kids one day.

CASL Fundraising Dinner - Xiao Bai Tu

Close-up of the adorable kids...<3

If I could take my sophomore year and rate it on the scale of 1 to 10 of my growth as a person intellectually, I’d say it went to a 5. What was I doing this whole year? When I go back and think about all of it, I definitely did accomplish a lot…but why am I not satisfied with the work I’ve done? When I think about the activities I enjoy the most, it really just comes down to my part-time jobs and spending time with family. The classes I took this year, particularly the awful science classes, were pointless. I hate how medical schools just want to weed you out with them. No one cares about the pre-medicine people. Any other pre-profession, even pre-pharmacy, has some kind of “cared” notion from the public. Isn’t that odd? Even I did not fully enjoy the extra-curricular organizations as much as I thought I would. It’s hard to find an organization that is ORGANIZED at UIC, and one that has a good leader who is always on top of things. I suppose the “we’re just students” excuse can work for some people, but not me. I can’t wait to meet the incoming freshmen next year to give them all the wisdom they need to succeed!

Rita's Experiments

At the laboratory where I do research, Rita is always busting out experiment after experiment! She's been working in the lab for a long time and she's a hustler. Our PI gives her so much work to do and she's so pro at it all! XD She has a very sweet heart and always willing to help me if I have questions.

All right, I’ll stop with the unrest and rants. No one likes to hear someone complain, but rather they want to hear about the complaint and plan of action to make things better. And so, here is a compilation of tips I’m going to follow to achieve a better sense of self and create the motivation I need to succeed next year as a junior. Summer break is always the time for change and revival of enjoying your favorite interests! =)

  1. Take the more positive/optimistic side in everything – “I have lost my Wacom only temporarily…I hope I find it soon.” vs “I’m never going to find my Wacom. I hate my family. Why are they so freaking OLD and can’t remember where they put it?”
  2. Read a book for leisure – Anyone have a copy of the Hunger Games? I should probably first finish my Toni Morrison book.
  3. Write in a diary – Ranting with myself is more acceptable than ranting with/at other people.
  4. Eat fruit and vegetables – I need my nutrients!
  5. Exercise – I hate running, but I do love to stretch and walk around places…once I move in I will try to run a mile a day at the rec center.
  6. Stop depending on others – This one is a biggie for me. I don’t think I take care of myself very well physically and mentally, so I am going to try and organize my habits and make them a lot more beneficial for me and others.

I could probably include more but I’m kind of exhausted from thinking and worrying too much (hey, that could be an extra point…stop worrying!). Anybody watch the Avengers movie yet? If you do watch it, make sure you stay for the credits! There are TWO extras. I went with five of my cousins and my brother to watch it at Woodfield Mall. It was quite hilarious and helped me get over the current loss of my Wacom. Although when I came home, I really wanted to draw my own superhero and was reminded again of my Wacom tablet. Sad day.

This week I’ll be going into research to complete some experiments before leaving to Taiwan! I’ll be moving in to SSR Sunday and working at my campus housing job making websites and all that jazz. I’m pretty excited. The writing center will be opening half way through the 4-week session and I’ll be there to tutor anyone who needs help!

On the bright side of things, my skin is better. Last weekend it wasn’t because I was sick and miserable, but now I’m not sick and only slightly miserable! ^o^

EDIT: I FOUND MY WACOM TABLET!!! :D :D :D Now summer BEGINS!<3 I’ll post my drawings if I finish any. Hehe.

The Biology Blues Part 2

I don’t think I have ever NOT studied for an exam, let alone two exams. Here is the part II of the Biology Blues, and it’s not pretty.

Being a biological sciences major isn’t bad, and it’s not supposed to be bad. In fact, I would say about half of the school is a biological sciences/pre-medicine major. It’s common because the requirements overlap, and biology is in general pretty interesting (you learn about life, duh). Had I done this all over though, I totally would have majored in music, nutrition, kinesiology, or computer science.

Too late now (technically it’s never too late to do what you truly want to do, but that’s why I’m staying with biology and pre-medicine). The two exams I had for microbiology lecture and lab were toast. The night before I was sick with a cold/flu and decided it was best to sleep early and wake up in the morning to study. Right before I went to sleep, my whole night and grades were instantly ruined. I won’t say the details, but let’s just say I had a conversation/argument about my relationship with a person that was already resolved a few weeks ago but that person just had to bring it back up again. The worst part was finding out they didn’t trust me like I trusted them. It hurts so much, and that killed me emotionally.

I ended up being a wailing and crying wreck and just wanted them to leave me alone. They had “waited” to bring it up until now…I mean, really? What kind of person is so inconsiderate and selfish to bring up something that was already resolved and wait around until the night before two of my finals, the night where I should be studying intensely or at least getting enough sleep and energy to continue my studies in the morning. I wouldn’t do that to them, or anyone! You know why? Because I care about people’s success. I care about people by motivating them and encouraging them to be involved and get good grades and have a true passion for what they want to do. If I have a beef with someone, then I confront them right then and there! If I KNOW they have an exam (which this person did know I had two exams since that’s all I would talk about), I would tell them at least two days prior. But to do that…it just ruined everything. I ended up waking up only an hour before my exam and just took the exams as is. If my failure on these exams are evident, then I really need to stop being around others and focus on school. Becoming a doctor is so important to me…

And this is my problem. I’m too nice. I let people just walk over me because I want them to be happy. I always try to make it go “their way” so that they don’t feel as hurt as it would if we did things “my way.” But even I don’t have a definite way of doing things because I always want to compromise their wishes over mine. I hate this feeling…I’m just so physically and emotionally drained (I have caught the cold/flu from my friend). So much for studying hardcore for organic chemistry.

I plan to start intensely studying the second I feel better, but until then I’ve been trying to sleep (Nyquil isn’t working too well though) and watching my turtle Chompy try and chase the fish in his tank. My finals week is pretty chill since I only have to worry about organic chemistry, but I still fill it up. Tuesday of finals week I’ll be going into research; Wednesday I’ll be tutoring at the Writing Center and then volunteering for CASL’s Fundraising Dinner at the Hilton Hotel on Michigan Avenue; Thursday will be an intense day of studying; and finally, Friday will be my exam! I have to move out the day after from MRH, which kind of sucks because I’ll be moving back in just a week later for the 4-week summer session (not taking classes thankfully).

This semester really flew by. I’m already half-way through my undergraduate career. After this summer, it’ll be intense studying for MCAT and then applying for medical school. I could stay here and continue to do research (my PI really wanted me to apply for a fellowship but he didn’t let me know soon enough) but if I don’t go to Taiwan this year, I don’t think I’ll get another chance for another two years! I really want to see my grandparents over there and connect with them. All of the other years I’ve gone to Taiwan I’ve never really tried to talk to them because I was scared of sounding like a fool, but if I were them I wouldn’t care about how my granddaughter sounded…the point is putting in the effort and I want so bad to have a good relationship with them before they leave this world. I went to see my grandmother here but I couldn’t hug her since I didn’t want her to catch my sickness; that would be really bad. It’s already been three months since my grandpa passed away. Three months! I miss him so much…

I hope everyone will enjoy their summer break with the ones they love! And if you’re having any struggles, don’t be scared to go into counseling or talking to someone about it. It’s bad to keep things in and sometimes the things we worry about are really minor.

Thank you for those who read my blog regularly. It means so much to me! =)

Small Steps

In my nutrition and physical activity class (HN 296), we have been uncovering the methods or things we should be aware about when coaching or counseling someone about their health. Even though I’m not going to be a nutritionist or a sports dietician (although I guess it’s always something I can think about), I think the skills I’m learning in this class will be useful when I’m individually with a patient one day. They’re referred to as clients in the class since no one likes to admit they have “something wrong with them.” I know I wouldn’t like that either…but I guess if you recognize you have a problem you’re more likely to be more open with a health-care provider and take their advice more seriously (hopefully).

UIC College of Medicine

I was walking out of SCW from work when I suddenly noticed the scenery was engulfing the UIC College of Medicine building. It was pretty cool. Hopefully I'll be here for medical school one day!

Our final for the class is a mock interview with the professor (which will be recorded) and we’ll be given a case study of a type of athlete (could be pregnant athlete, young adult/collegiate athlete, endurance athlete, etc.) to counsel. Since we’re not licensed, we’re not supposed to “assess” their information but rather “educate and inform.” I’m not too sure how it’s going to go, but we’re learning about motivational interviewing right now so I imagine that will come into play.

UIC Medical Center Advertisement

I saw this in the UIC bus stop waiting area and thought it was really well made. I like the statement a lot: "The best way to treat a community is by treating the people who make it up." It could probably even go further as to hinting at an even more holistic approach but these words will do for now.

The experience kind of reminds me when I tutor at the Writing Center. There’s my goal: help the writer with their goals by helping them recognize what is stopping them from taking the next step in their writing. The writer’s goal, on the other hand, ranges so much because there are so many different writers out there. Some just come in to get some miscellaneous help on either grammar, sentence structure, making things “flow” or some come in to brainstorm ideas, talk about content and have deep conversations about the topic they feel passionate about. I’d say almost all writers come in for the former, but the latter is where I think I can get them thinking about their potential and I try my best to get to that point in every session. The problem with that is when it was never the writer’s intention to go there. I can’t control why they came (perhaps their professor required them to come), but I hope that I can encourage them to come again and become better writers and thinkers.

The other goal I have as a tutor is to improve myself and my tutoring practices. It’s interesting when there are so many people who need help with their health, academics, finances etc. and we blame them for their inability to do something about it. I’m guilty of it too, but then I switch my focus to the health-professionals, the professors, and whoever is waving the money around…the real blame might be on the “experts” and THEIR inability to help others with their problems. Does that make any sense? I guess it’s just something to think about.

BIOS 351: Plates

For our lab practical in microbiology lab, we have to recognize all of the mediums we've used to inoculate microorganisms and all of the test results. It's going to be an intense week of studying for me!

There are only two weeks left (well, I guess more like one) of school and I’ve been planning out a study schedule so that I can optimize the amount of time I have to understand the material and do well on the exams up ahead! I’m nervous, but I’m confident I can do it.

Finals Schedule:

  1. April 25 – HN 307 – Predicted grade: A
  2. April 27 – BIOS 350 – Predicted grade: B – BIOS 351 – Predicted grade: A/B (I’m terrified of our lab practical…the study guide literally said “In short, know everything.” How is that supposed to help?)
  3. April 30-May 4 – HN 296 – Predicated grade: A (Ahhh interviews scare me sometimes…)
  4. May 4 – CHEM 234 – Predicted grade: B/C/D….(I honestly just want to pass this class…luckily I have six days to prepare to I am going to be so hardcore with my studying!)

Good luck to everyone with their studying.
Summer is almost here so keep your head up! (:

Gotta Love Family

Tennis at UIC

My cousin will be an incoming freshman at UIC in the fall of 2012-2013! He got into GPPA for Physical Therapy so he came for a tour and then later met up with me to hang out. I showed him around and we met up with one of his friends to play tennis at the UIC Recreational Center. The weather in Chicago has been decent, but still nothing compared to what it was during spring break!

It’s really cool to have some family go to the same school as you. Even though I didn’t exactly go to the same school as my brother (down at Urbana-Champaign) as my dad wanted me to, I still consider it the same to some extent. I chose UIC for the opportunities, the diversity, the cost of tuition, and of course the location!

Microbiology Tubes

Our lab practical is coming up for microbiology lab and I'm pretty nervous. The TA said that we would have to know every single result of each test that we've conducted in lab and all of the mediums we used...I guess I better get on it ASAP! Luckily my science paper (includes methods, results, discussion) for the unknown bacteria project has been getting high marks so I hope that will help me get an A in the class.

Some people will consider the friends they make in college as family. Others will just see them as friends or “best friends.” From one of my previous posts I questioned how people made friends, or at least declared the title of a “friend” onto someone. I think I use the vernacular for people that I talk to on a daily basis but don’t really get close to, which is almost everyone. UIC has so many different people and I love choosing classes where I can meet them. I don’t like meeting people on different grounds because I am either 1) not social 2) not social or 3) not social. Haha, I’m kidding.

Anyway, I think most of the people I meet and get close to (sharing perspective about life and all that deep conversational stuff) I would consider a “non-related sibling.” I don’t like to throw the term “friend” around because the definition is so complicated to me and there are so many variables, but I know what I’d call someone close to me just as I am close to my family at home.

How do you define the feel of “family” in the context of UIC? Well, the first question you need to ask yourself is: Do you feel at home when you’re here? My immediate response is yes! I just feel like I belong, and although there may be some institutions that I don’t feel a part of within the campus (Honors College, AARCC, etc.), I can always find a niche and I make things my own.

You’re in charge of your change. Start something, be proud, and be you.

Making Bubble Tea

My mom bought some boba (tapioca) and made some delicious green tea/milk tea. It was so good! It's great to have a beautiful mom.

Speaking about making change, we (my fellow HAC members and I) went to visit Clemente High School and got to present health presentations, which included sex education and nutrition! Of course, they weren’t put together in one powerpoint, haha. It was such an awesome experience going to a CPS. I went to one last year when I was in HAC but it was a lot smaller and less intimidating (I think it was because I was presenting to adults than students). Actually, I think I was more excited than intimidated when I entered. The high school was so far more different from my high school back home and I just loved that I got to have the opportunity to experience what it was like and experience the demographics that are so different from UIC, even though it was only 25 minutes away. I got elected to be Activities Chair again for SFP and I can’t wait to make improvements and go back to Clemente High School and other nearby high schools! The most exciting part of what we accomplished this year was that it was ALL student run and made. It just shows how much you can do with a dedicated group of individuals with the same goals!

As the weeks are winding down, I am preparing for my final examinations. Most of my finals are surprisingly not during finals week, which is totally awesome! The only real final I have to worry about is organic chemistry. We took our third exam last week and I’m crossing my fingers that I did well! It was definitely a whole lot better than that second exam (a ton of people dropped after they got their exam scores back). I’m still holding out strong and can’t wait for the semester to be finished so I can go to Taiwan! My summer plans are probably going to consist of learning languages (Polish and Spanish, maybe Japanese), draw more with my Wacom, and start studying for the MCAT! Hyped.

No Help For You

I think I’ve noticed this before and was warned about this from my mentors, but it’s kind of messed up. I go to my nutrition class and they treat you like you’re really going to be a nutritionist or dietician! The attitude I get from them is along the lines of “when you guys become professionals in the field, we want you to be role models.” I go to my chemistry class and they treat you like you’re going to fail unless you do X, Y, and Z for every second of your life until you finally get it but you never use that information ever unless you become an organic chemist or work at Fermilab (even then, it’s probably a lot more fun than sitting around thinking about how to synthesize molecules). The attitude is along the lines of “a lot of you will fail and you should consider dropping so you don’t sacrifice your GPA, unless you really want to then okay, whatever.”

Even though I know these classes they make us take (pre-medicine, pre-pharmacy, etc.) are just for weeding out people, it’s kind of cruel in my opinion. The LAS counselors aren’t very helpful, nor are the Honors College counselors. Does it bother anyone when these people smile and act all perky but you can tell it’s either through habituation or forced because they have to be nice? I mean, if you’re not happy to helping people, then quit your job! Do something more selfish where you don’t have to care about anyone but yourself, and be happy! No one wants to be around secretly grumpy people. It’s like when someone is lying through their teeth in front of you. I guess I’m a little peeved of people who want to come off as helpful but from my experiences and others, we get zero help when it comes to our future. I’d say the Applied Health Sciences college is the only one that really knows what they’re doing and are happy doing what they do. As for the other colleges at UIC, I’m curious to know what other people think.

I took two exams this past week for nutrition and they were fairly good. I haven’t gotten my score back but I’m not too worried about getting anything lower than an A since I actually enjoy the classes. Organic chemistry is going to suck because our third exam is coming up, but I’m spending my whole weekend to study for it day and night! I’m going to smack that test in the face once I’m done preparing for it. Microbiology has been going fine but I’m a little worried about the lab practical exam. I’ve never had a practical in college, although in high school we had one where we were silent and went to different stations to answer questions; so, hopefully it’s something like that!

Anyway, can’t write too much because I’ve got a lot of studying to do for organic chemistry. Sometimes I wish every class was just graded on a giant final paper. I think it’s more useful, and has a better gauge in terms of knowing how much work a person puts into it and how much they know. Exams are really just luck sometimes, and you pray to God that you get tested on material that you studied the most for.

Curl

My friend was playing with my hair and twisted it for fun. It stayed that way and so he decided to take a picture of it. Thank you Fluffy.

One Month More

It’s always nice to know that there’s only one month left of school before finals, and that means one month closer to summer (or one month of giving it your all to get the grade you hopefully deserve!). Aren’t you excited UIC?

Visiting Grandpa

We went to visit my grandpa this past weekend. The last time we tried to go but it was covered with snow and we couldn't find him. It's not that big as it would have been were we in Asia, but this is where he will lay and my grandmother will one day join him here too. My aunts and uncles and parents sang a Chinese song that my grandpa liked a lot, and it was weird because the sun came out and then left when they were finished singing. Perhaps it is coincidence, but sometimes I think there is something out there bigger than all of us...

I signed up for classes for Fall 2012. It’s going to be pretty awesome.

  1. HN 311 – Nutrition in the Life Cycle
  2. BIOS 220 – Genetics Lecture
  3. CHEM 233 – Organic Chemistry Lab
  4. POL 101 – Polish I
  5. SPAN 101 – Spanish I

On top of that, I enrolled in summer school for the 4 week, although I’m not sure if I will keep that since I just found out that I got into AID Summer Program in Taiwan! I’m so psyched because this will probably be the last summer I can enjoy until post undergrad. My mom is trying to buy me a ticket to Taiwan right now but man are they expensive. The cheapest is in May but that would mean I wouldn’t have too much time in the lab or at work, so we’ll see what comes up.

Classes are going pretty well if you disregard organic chemistry. I know I should be studying every night for at least two hours, and I tell myself to do that too, but for some reason I just can’t get myself to do it. Perhaps it is because I don’t see the connection of how learning this will help me become a better doctor, but I should still try to get the most out of the class. It could be too late since there’s only one month left, but the final is worth 200 points so that can always be a grade turner!

I’m going to be going with my HAC members to Clemente High School the week of April 9th to give health presentations! It’s really exciting because it was all student-run and student made. It just shows how much you can do as a college student if you just put your effort into it and work with a lot of people who want the same goal.

Anyway, I’ll be keeping this short since I have a lot of exams coming up! Work hard UIC and you can really do great things. (:

How Do You Make Friends?

Some people are shocked when I tell them I have “no friends.” Of course in their definition I would have friends, and according to Facebook I have a few hundreds, but when it comes to me and what I see as a friend, I’m ambivalent.

Cherry Blossoms

Every spring our cherry blossom tree comes out with really gorgeous flowers. It lasts a few days and then the petals fall off. Isn't it pretty? I made it my new background on my phone. Chompy is jealous (he's eating now btw! I guess his hiberation season is officially over!).

When I meet someone that I genuinely appreciate their presence or personality and they feel the same about me, I’d say we’re “pals” or “we coo” or some other kid slang vernacular. I feel like the word “friend” doesn’t mean anything like it used to, especially ever since Facebook came along. Not to hate on social media because I’m on it a lot now, but I struggle trying to be likable while also staying true to myself.

One of the main reasons why I chose to go to UIC was because of the diversity (my high school was incredibly diverse), but I don’t think it was quite how I imagined it to be. I had “friends” from all different cultures and backgrounds in high school, but once I came to UIC I found it hard to have that same diverse group of friends to talk to every day and it instead just became almost monogamous.

People here just like to hang out with people who look like them, talk like them, and share common values. It’s not a bad thing, I suppose. It’s what we naturally feel comfortable with and I am guilty of it too; but man do I try really hard to make friends outside of my comfort zone.

Sapling Homework

I was too lazy to rotate the image, but this is basically the last problem I'm stuck on for organic chemistry homework online. It seems easy but I can't figure it out! Any geniuses out there?

Sometimes it really bothers me when people say they want go into a certain profession to “help other people.” I mean, don’t we all want to help other people? I can’t think of anyone who would NOT SAY they do not want to help others. We all mean well, and that’s why most people think in America we’re just fine and happy and it is the people outside of the US that have turmoil and lack of resources and that it’s our civic duty to help them, which is true but we’re not all that different from “them.” I feel like, in general, we don’t know who we want to help. We consciously know we want to help people, but I don’t think many understand what kind of people are out there who need help the most unless we really try our best to reach out.

We only think we’re super different because we don’t explore outside of our comfort zones. I mean, what about those people who are in jail and prisons? We treat them like we’d never do what they did, but we don’t know their whole story and we shouldn’t judge others by their race or socio-economical class. The point I’m trying to make here is to get you all thinking about how you make friends, and why you make friends with them and not others…and if there are “others” that you don’t befriend…why? Is it because they are “bad people?” Aren’t we supposed to help them too?

Here’s a classic example. You rarely see full-fledged Christians hanging out with full-fledged atheists. Why not? You could say “they have different morals and values” but I would have to disagree. One side believes in God, and the other does not believe in one. Why is that so hard to grasp? We see things as being so complicated and don’t even attempt to uncover what could be simple because we “don’t have time” or “I need to go study now because all of this will get me into medical school.” Does anyone care about the present these days? I feel like I’m just trapped in a zone where people just come and go and do their own thing and I’m just watching it all happen. I just want to stop them, shake them out of their trance, grab their hand, and say “Hey, I want to get to know you.” They would probably freak out and run to their group of friends and be dramatic about some crazy Asian girl who stopped them and grabbed their hand and asked to get to know them.

I know…I’m strange.

Anyway, I spent most of my spring break being unproductive. I hung out with my grandma for most of it and then played on my Xbox with my brother’s roommate who stayed over a few times. My brother was busy playing League of Legends and I was killing aliens on Gears of War 3. Overall it was pretty awesome. I also watched 21 Jump Street and The Hunger Games. If you’re going to pick a really good movie that’s worth your money, you MUST absolutely go watch The Hunger Games. I didn’t know anything about it but that everyone was excited for it, and now I know why. This movie was phenomenal and I can’t wait to get my hands on the books!

Time to go back to school and get my act together. There’s only about five or six weeks left and that means very little time to slack off. I normally don’t do procrastinate on things, but after the passing of my grandpa and some friendship issues, it’s been really hard and I have faced some struggle…but perhaps I’ll check out the UIC Counseling Center for advice. I heard they’re amazing! I have so much to do…

At Last, A Legit Spring Break

The Chicago weather has, for once, been treating us very nice this year. The winter wasn’t as harsh as most winters, and it didn’t even last that long. It literally feels like summer, and everyone’s mood has been happy.

I was waiting for the UIC Intracampus Shuttle to go to West Side for my Thursday morning Nutrition class. I just had to take a picture!

In terms of school and grades, however, there has been quite a lot of angst among students. The second exam for our organic chemistry II class was a big slap to the face. The average was 34/100 points, and you can imagine how many people are dropping this course to retake in the summer or fall. I’ve never been the type to consider dropping the course because I have confidence in myself that I don’t let myself fail, but in this class I was thinking about it! The professor posted midterm cut-offs and luckily I’m still keeping my head above water with a solid C. There’s only a few weeks over a month left of school left and I am going to dedicate it to studying for organic chemistry!

Here’s a list of study tips that I plan to employ, and hopefully it will help someone else who is struggling to really kick up their grades before the end of the semester:

  1. Can’t study at home? Can’t study at your grandmother’s? Go to the library and get a private room by yourself. Can’t go out and have to force yourself to study at home? GOOD LUCK. Force your sibling or mom to study with you, and attempt to explain things to them to better your understanding of the material.
  2. Don’t know where to begin studying? Start with the easiest thing you have to do just so you can accomplish SOMETHING this spring break. If you start with something crazy hard like organic chemistry, you might just feel unmotivated to do any work and give up!
  3. Having trouble retaining information when you’re studying and pulling all-nighters? Stop forcing information that’s not going through to you at night. Go to bed at 9. Wake up at 5 or 6 or whenever you naturally get up, and study then. It’s actually really nice and the information stays! Just try it.
  4. Use colored pens.
  5. Watch videos on YouTube on your particular subject.
  6. Eat candy or have some chocolate while you work. I think there’s some psychological reason that helps…
  7. Stay away from your phone and computer unless it is absolutely necessary for you to finish your assignment (need Word? Try writing down your essay using pencil/pen and paper and then just type it out later…your train of though and transitions will be better if you do it by hand.)
  8. Take a break! There’s no point in forcing yourself to do something that will probably not get done if you aren’t 100% into it. Play video games to blow off steam…like Left4Dead or something.

Anyway, spring break has been treating me really well. I’ve been hanging with my grandma and seeing my cousins. I’ve also gotten addicted to “Draw Something” by OMGPOP on my phone. Look me up and play with me!

Art Institute of Chicago

My mom got me two tickets to go to the Art Institute of Chicago to watch a Chinese concert called "Migratory Journeys." I took my friend Piotr and it was really nice, although it was quite contemporary music so it took more effort to enjoy it, haha.

We like to kick around while we dance.

After the concert, I went back to MRH to play on my Xbox. Simona (my roommate) and I played Dance Central 2 until 12PM. It was a fun workout, hehe.

Forgive But Can’t Forget

I feel like UIC needs more discussion. I want to be engaged with the community more, but how can that happen is nobody wants to converse with you? Or maybe they would, but they would never want to initiate it because it just seems socially awkward to talk to a complete stranger. I don’t get why this is awkward or uncommon because I always overhear people going to parties and meeting new people, having a “good time” doing God knows what. Yet you put those same people in a classroom and they’ll say nothing, stare at the ground or the chalkboard. There’s nothing stopping me to reaching out to people, but I’d really have to go out of my way to do it with no guarantees.

I think this whole “Kony 2012″ activism is just another hype. I mean, of course it is awful what he is doing and yes, he should definitely be stopped. We all know that, but the “how” is where we’ve got it all wrong. The campaign for Invisible Children has been around for awhile, but why the sudden interest now when it’s been around for so long? It’s like people have never heard of it before, but they have. They just didn’t “know” because they didn’t seek to understand or investigate for themselves. I’m not into politics, but there should be no reason for the U.S. government to go play police for the whole Earth. I’m pretty sure the Ugandans are pissed at our “sudden reaction” to the situation that doesn’t appear to have as much weight as it did before when it was actually going on in their country. It’s like when Japan had that awful tsunami and nuclear meltdowns last year, and we were in awe the whole time and constantly sending money to help with their situation and for the longest time there was so much media on it, especially about the radioactivity supposedly spreading to California and Chicago (I really don’t think so). My cousin was actually in Japan when that happened, and here we were in American freaking out when she responds with, “Whoa, chill! It’s actually not that bad here as everyone thinks it is.” And what about Haiti? That earthquake was devastating, and we were all sending money to help them with that situation…but what is it like there now? No one talks about it anymore. We just forgot.

And here is where I currently stand. We forget about the things that happen in the past because they apparently “don’t matter anymore.” We do this in our own memories, and I really hate it. I had a long talk with one of my friends from AAIV about a situation that happened to me and I had to tell him straight up that I was bothered by the whole Christianity thing and how they don’t do what they say.

I know it’s wrong to think that because “God’s followers” aren’t perfect that I shouldn’t be deterred by God, if he exists…but come on. I can’t get closer to You that way. I wasn’t bothered at first because I just laugh away my problems initially and I hate when people worry about me…but later when I was by myself and had time to reflect, I was angry and upset. This is not directly a Christianity thing I have a problem with, but because they are all so open about being religious I feel like what they say and do should align. They’re all really nice people, but when it came to a point that they were in a situation where they were unfamiliar, danger, they just froze. I mean, where the Hell was my Good Samaritan?

I have some things to work on myself. I’m glad I have a good family to tell me what things I have issues with that I must change if I really want to move forward in my life. I need to stop being nice to avoid getting taken advantage of and played with, stop making excuses for others, and be more confrontational to things that eat away with me. They’re right, and I think almost all of our problems can be solved if we just faced them straight on through confrontation. It’s the hardest thing to do, but it’s the most effective and you get to the point faster and waste time less.

I feel really bad about making my friend feel guilty about the situation, actually two of them in particular. I’m really glad I got to tell them how I felt, and I got to hear their side of the story. If I hadn’t done that, I’d probably continue to have this pessimistic view of everything and shut myself from interacting with others.

I just want to encourage others to be more active in their relationships. One of the reasons I avoided Facebook for so long was the fact that I didn’t feel connected to people who were my “friends.” I didn’t want to delete them, though, because what if one day you actually do become good friends with them. It’s not good to miss opportunities like that, so I continue to keep an open mind about others. I didn’t touch upon the “forget” part of my post title, but I feel that even though we are probably way different from the people we were in our past, they’re still in us and I don’t think it’s right to pretend like those things never happened.

If someone cheats on you, you might forgive them. If you do, they’ll be pretty happy and so genuinely thankful, but you know what happens? They’ll forget, and take you for granted again. It’s some evil cycle I think all of us are kind of stuck with unless you don’t associate with them anymore, but as humans I feel like we’re too kind. Even the most evil or messed up people, I think, had something critical in their lives that made them become the way they are, and going back to those roots is how we can really help others.

What to Expect Out of March

It’s hard to believe it’s already half way through the semester at UIC and I feel like I haven’t learned too much. The spring semester seems to always be a drag to most of us undergraduates, probably because the only break you get is spring break, and the professors always give you “spring break studying” or assignments to do. I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere special so there’s nothing to look forward to besides summer!

When I look over the material that I have to know for my upcoming exams (I have three in one week and it’s going to be crazy), I’m in denial that we went over such things. It is as if my professor randomly came in the night and had my hand to my pen, forcing me to write down notes after notes after notes! In retrospect, I’ve learned a lot in such little time and it’s a pretty awesome feat. The hard part now is keeping it in my head and doing amazing on those exams!

Chompy is on his favorite rock!

This is currently my background picture on my new phone (Samsung Galaxy S2). Chompy is still in his hibernation mode, and he clearly didn't want to be disturbed! It amazes me how far he can hide in his shell. His fat rolls are sticking out and it's adorable.

I’m sorry for being a bit “emo” on my last post, but I think we all have those moments where we just question every single little thing we do in our lives and try to make sense of it, making plans of everything and the “what if’s.” In the end, it might just be better to take one day at a time and focus on the present than being stuck in the past or future.

Then again, I might just be moody because my skin is being stupid. I went to the dermatologist on campus and they wanted me to try Protopic again, which I’ve had prescribed to me before for my eyelids and it worked, but it gave me a burning sensation for two days. They wanted me to give it another try since the topical steroids aren’t doing too much for me, but it’s the same result. We might try doing phototherapy if I get it approved by my regular doctor. My dermatologist also told me I should start getting my eyes checked once a year by a campus optometrist since the medication can mess with my vision. I’m kind of nervous for phototherapy since it uses UV rays, but I guess I’m willing to try it out if it will help get rid of the my eczema. They have a light box in the UIC dermatology clinic where it’s like a tanning bed but it’s not bad like a tanning bed is. I don’t get it, but I’m sure the science is there (I’ll confirm this later, haha).

I like it when it’s a new month. It’s kind of like another chance to get back into the game. A revival of my motivation that I’m looking for! This month is going to be packed, but I know I’ll make it through with a smile. My week seems decent if you pretend those exams are easy:

  • 3/3 – Honors College Ball
  • 3/5 – Allergy shots; Nutrition 307 exam
  • 3/6 – Organic chemistry exam
  • 3/7 – AAIV small group
  • 3/8 – Nutrition 296 exam; HAC meeting
  • 3/9 – Writing club
‘Til then. Toodles.
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